2013 Tony Awards hit home to Chicago

For theater’s biggest night of the year, Chicago made quite the impression. “Kinky Boots” _㐠which made its out-of-town tryout in Chicago last fall _㐠picked up the title for Best New Musical, while Steppenwolf’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” was honored with Best Revival of a Play.

In a close race with the West End favorite “Matilda,” “Kinky Boots” walked away with six Tonys _ãthe most for any production this year. Billy Porter won the Tony for best actor in a musical for his portrayal of the fiery drag queen, Lola. Cyndi Lauper won for Best Original Score leaving her one step away from an EGOT, with only an Oscar left to claim.

With anticipation for the “Kinky Boots” performance at the tail end of the program, Lauper’s grooving music combined with director Jerry Mitchell’s inventive treadmill choreography made for one of the most unique performances of the evening.

Steppenwolf _㐠a staple of Chicago’s theater community _㐠won three Tonys for its production of “Virginia Woolf” with a special shoutout from Artistic Director Martha Lavey who called Chicago’s Steppenwolf home for the past 37 years.

A Steppenwolf ensemble member since 2002, Tracy Letts won the Tony for Best Leading Actor in a Play. He beat Tom Hanks, Nathan Lane, David Hyde Pierce and Tom Sturridge in the same category and said, “You are not my competition, you are my peers.”

Fighting through his words, Letts shared his award with those in Chicago.

“I share this actually with not only everybody in this room, but all the actors in Chicago and in store fronts,” Letts said.      

The other big winner of the night was the reinvented revival of “Pippin,” claiming four Tonys including Best Musical Revival. Females won both directing categories including “Pippin’s” director Diane Paulus for her creative circus take on the show.

After a Tony nomination for her creation of Deloris Van Cartier in “Sister Act,” 28-year-old Patina Miller claimed the crown for Best Lead Actress in a Musical for her performance as the Leading Player.

“I was really excited that Pippin won so many awards because it was a very creative production and its number was one of the best of the night,” DePaul junior Maureen Ray said.

After its unique performance, tickets for “Pippin” may be hard to get this summer.

For the fourth year in a row, Neil Patrick Harris hosted the show with a typical, flashy opening number and impressive re-cap song to close up the show. But the most notable was the number of kids involved with nominated shows this year.

“I was so impressed by the level of talent of all the children in each musical production,” Ray said. “My favorite was probably the ‘Matilda’ number, but I also really enjoyed the tap dancing in ‘A Christmas Story.'”