The women responsible for bringing "Fun Home" to the stage made history at the 69th annual Tony Awards last night. Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron became the first all-female writing team to win a Tony for Best Original Score. "Fun Home," based on Alison Bechdel’s bestselling and beloved graphic memoir, scored a total of five awards, including "Best Musical."
Kron credited Bechdel for providing "perfect source material" with her "brilliant" book. She then shared a recurring dream with the audience in which she discovers new rooms in her house — rooms she didn’t realize were there all along. Kron compared the dream to the current Broadway season, a season where "some lights got turned on in some other rooms." She attributed the success of the season to its diversity and encouraged her community to push onward, pleading, "You guys, our house is so big. Please let’s just not go back into the living room."
Tesori revealed that she didn’t realize that a career in music was available to women until 1981, when she saw Linda Twine conduct "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music," calling it her "’Ring of Keys’ Moment," which is a song of identification in "Fun Home" (and was performed at the ceremony). "For girls, you have to see it to be it," Tesori explained. (Read The Interval’s wide-ranging interview with Tesori.)
"Fun Home" is the first Broadway show to feature a lesbian protagonist. The coming-of-age story chronicles Bechdel’s childhood and youth in rural Pennsylvania, focusing largely on her complicated relationship with her closeted father, as well as her own sexuality and sexual orientation. Sydney Lucas, Emily Skeggs and Beth Malone play Alison at different ages.
"Fun Home" tied for most wins with "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time." Marianne Elliott won Best Direction of a Play for the latter.
Helen Mirren won Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for "The Audience," and Kelli O’Hara was awarded Best Performance for the musical category for "The King and I." This is the first Tony win for both Mirren and O’Hara, who have received previous nominations. (Read The Interval’s in-depth discussion with O’Hara.)
Below you’ll find a complete list of women winners at the 2015 Tony Awards, as well as Kron and Tesori’s acceptance speeches and the much-talked about performance of "Ring of Keys" by the cast of "Fun Home."
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Helen Mirren, The Audience (WINNER)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Kelli O’Hara, The King and I (WINNER)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I (WINNER)
Best Direction of a Play
Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (WINNER)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It with You (WINNER)
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Music: Jeanine Tesori
Lyrics: Lisa Kron (WINNER)
Best Book of a Musical
Lisa Kron (WINNER)
Best Scenic Design of a Play
Bunny Christie and Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (WINNER)
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Natasha Katz, An American in Paris (WINNER)
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (WINNER)
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Catherine Zuber, The King and I (WINNER)