A slew of notable names nabbed Tony wins, after making their debut to the theater stage.
Expert predictions for the 2018 Tony Awards forecasted that the new installment of J.K. Rowling's blockbuster wizardry saga, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, was unbeatable for best play honors. Though all eyes were on Potter and other closely followed shows, including best musical winner The Band's Visit along with top nominated shows Mean Girls and SpongeBob SquarePants — with the latter two scoring an impressive 12 nominations apiece — the spotlight also shined on a slew of Hollywood faces who took home top honors of the night.
Whether making their debut to the theater stage or returning, stars such as Andrew Garfield and Laurie Metcalf were some of the night's big winners out of Hollywood.
Garfield took home the Tony for best actor in a play for his role in the Pulitzer- and Tony-winning drama Angels in America, which is centered on two couples in Reagan’s America, breaking apart under the pressures of the AIDS virus and a hollow marriage, respectively. During his acceptance speech, Garflied grew visibly emotional while dedicating his win to the LGBTQ community who “represent the purest spirit of humanity.”
“We are all made perfectly and we all belong so I dedicate this award to the countless people who have fought and died to protect that spirit and protect that message,” Garfield said. His final comment — "let’s just bake a cake for everyone who wants a cake to be baked" — alluded to the Supreme Court's recent decision that ruled narrowly for a Colorado baker who wouldn't make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The court, however, did not rule on the issue of whether a business can invoke religious objections to refuse service to gay and lesbian people. “We are all sacred and we all belong," Garfield said.
Metcalf won her second Tony for best featured actress in her role in Edward Albee’s drama Three Tall Women — a portrait of a woman in life's final act, and described as the playwright's most personal work. The play has received critical acclaim, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1994 and the New York Drama Critics Circle, Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle awards for best play. Joe Mantello directs the staging. During her acceptance speech, Metcalf thanked her cast and crew, particularly Mantello who she quipped “figured out what the script was in the rehearsal and then taught it to me.”
Like Garfield, Lane also won for his starring role in the Tony-winning drama Angels in America. During his acceptance speech, Lane grew emotional while thanking his husband, whom he described as "the greatest blessing in my life." Lane also explained that he took on the role after feeling the need to "shake things up" and "challenge" himself more. "This award is a vote of confidence that I'm on the right path," Lane said.
Jackson won her first Tony for best actress in a play for her performance in Three Tall Women. During her acceptance speech, Jackson was quick to quip about her age. “I’m one of the oldest women to have ever stood on this platform,” she said. Continuing to marvel in her first win, Jackson took a moment to thank the theater community. "I'd like to thak you, because ... there are people in this audience, in this country, in this city ... and you as always are welcoming and kind and generous and America has never needed that rule but then again America is always great."
Though he is best known for his starring role on the USA television series Monk, Shalhoub took home his first Tony for best actor in a musical for The Band's Visit. The musical, up for 12 awards heading into the show, picked up a string of awards in its hit off-Broadway debut at the Atlantic Theatre Company. Based on Itamar Moses' book, based on the film of the same name, the musical follows an Egyptian police band, scheduled to play at the opening of an Arab cultural center in Israel, who find themselves stranded overnight in an isolated desert town. During his acceptance speech, Shalhoub praised the musical's diversity, taking a moment to thank his immigrant father. "May we, their descendants, never lose sight of what they taught us," the actor said emotionally. The Band's Visit went on to win best musical.