Tony Award Windfall to Boost 'The Band's Visit'

Ethan Slater in

Ethan Slater flies high in"SpongeBob SquarePants. Joan Marcus

"The Band's Visit" - which chronicles the adventures of a band of Egyptian musicians - won more Tony awards than any other show on Sunday night.

CBS's Sunday telecast of the 72nd annual Tony Awards scored an audience of 6.3 million viewers, a 4.5 percent rise over past year, according to Nielsen data.

But the biggest victor of the night was a musical about an Egyptian band visiting an Israeli desert town - The Band's Visit picked up an impressive 10 prizes, including best musical, best actress (Katrina Lenk) and best actor (Tony Shalhoub).

"The Band's Visit" also won awards for Best Book (by Itamar Moses), Best Direction of a Musical, Best Original Score (by David Yazbek), Best Lighting Design, Best Orchestration and Best Sound Design. Many critics have tapped "The Band's Visit" as their odds-on favorite to be crowned best new musical. "I can tell you it's been extraordinary", he said.

In addition to his parents, who glowed in the audience, Stachel thanked the show's creators for courage in "telling a small story about Arabs and Israelis getting along at a time that we need that more than ever".

That compares with 6.06 million past year when "Dear Evan Hansen" won the best musical trophy, and 8.74 million in 2016 when the show was buoyed by the megahit "Hamilton". He said the play is a rejection of bigotry, shame and oppression.




Donning a stylish black bow-tie with a fitted whited collar, Sparky, the goat made heads turned, and if we may say so he looked nothing but dapper! Later, Springsteen performed "My Hometown" on the piano from his sold-out one-man show, "Springsteen on Broadway".

Garfield, who in "Angels in America" plays Prior Walter, a gay man coping with AIDS and abandonment by his boyfriend, dedicated his award to "the countless LGBTQ people who have fought and died for the right to live and love" as they choose. Another member of the show's cast, Nathan Lane, picked up the Best Featured Actor in a Play accolade.

Kushner, noting it was 21 weeks until the mid-term congressional elections in the United States, continued the political vein adding, "21 weeks to save our democracy".

Emotions ran high during the Tony Awards on Sunday (10Jun18) as stars took the stage to promote social change.

The performance was in celebration of the production's nomination for Best Musical, which was one of three Tony nominations it received after opening earlier this year.

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