2017 Tony Awards Recap

By: Jimmy Brand

The 71st Annual Tony Awards have come and gone, but here’s your recap of the highs, lows and more from theater’s biggest night of the year.


2017 Tony Awards - Media Room

While you may never have wondered who would win in a fight, Bette Midler or and an entire orchestra playing her off stage, you now need to wonder no longer. The septuagenarian, winning on her first Tony nomination, continued her speech long past the play off attempt, at one point shouting, “Shut that crap off!” While her more than four-minute speech was the longest, it was by no means the best of the night.

Another notable speech of the night came from Best Featured Actress in a Musical winner, Rachel Bay Jones of Dear Evan Hansen. Jones told a heartwarming story of her Nana selling her engagement ring so that the young Jones could move to New York and become an actor. She also took time to thank her parents for “cursing me with a love of the theater.”

Honorable mention for the cutest speech of the night goes to Mr. Ben Platt. Platt was awarded the Tony for Best Actor in a Musical for his stunning performance as the titular character in Dear Evan Hansen. Platt, clearly emotional, addressed “all the young people watching at home” in his speech reminding everyone “Don’t waste any time trying to be like anybody but yourself, because the things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful.” Here’s Ben Platt and the cast of Dear Evan Hansen‘s Tony performance of Waving Through a Window: https://youtu.be/0vkTxakkho4

Everything Else:

Photo from Getty images for Tony Award Productions

Photo from Getty images for Tony Award Productions

Broadway musical Side Show had an unexpected revival on the Tony Awards stage when Tom Sturridge and Olivia Wilde presented the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play. With their similar looks and close stance, you can almost hear the Side Show showstopper, “I Will Never Leave You,” playing.

The musical Bandstand is likely to draw considerable post-Tonys attention due to a heartfelt introduction from Former Second Lady, Dr. Jill Biden. She received a standing ovation as she walked on the Tony stage. Dr. Biden talked about the partnership with the organization Got Your 6 and the musical Bandstand to highlight the experiences of American veterans. Dr. Biden went on to say, “To our veterans, on behalf of Joe, myself, the company of Bandstand and everybody else here, we’ve got your six.”

Photo credit: Theo Wargo/ Getty Images

Proving that good things do eventually come to those who wait, Jane Greenwood took home the 2017 Tony Award for Best Costume Design of a Play for Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes. This nomination and subsequent win marks Ms. Greenwood’s 22nd Tony nomination. She did receive a Tony Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. Ms. Greenwood, who had been called the Susan Lucci of the Tonys, must be quite pleased to have her first competitive Tony.

Ending on a bright note, we have new friends to add to the EGOT watch list. EGOT of course referring to the short list of people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. After taking home a Tony Award for co-producing the revival of Jitney, John Legend is only one letter away from joining this select group of people. All he needs now is the E to add to his GOT.

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul won the Oscar for Best Original Song for City of Stars from La La Land earlier this year and the Tony for Dear Evan Hansen, and are now 50% of the way to the coveted EGOT. They could be potentially Emmy-bound for their special musical episode of The Flash, which aired in March. They could also be strong candidates for the 2018 Grammys where they would be eligible for their original music from both La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen. While a long shot, the two are well on their way to EGOT status with the chance to do the whole kit and caboodle in just around 12 months.

Here’s to another great Tony Awards ceremony! You can get all the Tony details here: https://www.tonyawards.com/index.html






Welcome to Miller, Broncos!

By: Lauren Hufford


I’m happy to welcome all the new members of the Western Michigan University family to campus! New students started arriving last week for orientation and it’s been great to see them here on campus. Our WMU community is built of so many different people, experiences, and events and I want to introduce new students to Miller Auditorium.

As students here at Western, you have the ability to buy tickets to most Miller season events at 50% off regular prices thanks to a fund established by the President’s Office. Now, you are limited to one discounted ticket per event with a Bronco ID, but this discount includes most shows presented by Miller Auditorium–including both the Zhang Financial Broadway in West Michigan Series and the Lake Michigan Mailers Spotlight Series.  Just make sure to visit or call our Ticket Office at (269) 387-2300 and have your Bronco ID handy.

This season is going to be filled with some absolutely amazing shows as we celebrate Miller Auditorium’s 50th Anniversary and I couldn’t be more excited about what is going to be going on around us. Kinky Boots, Trevor Noah, STOMP, Disney’s THE LION KING and so much more–and WMU students can use their 50% discount on all these shows!

I have loved being here at Western as a student and it has only become more exciting and fulfilling after I became involved with the amazing opportunities available on campus like being a member of the Bronco Marching Band and working events at Miller. The shows you get to see, the movies, the concerts, I promise you’ll love them all. Welcome to WMU, new Broncos!



Broadway League Spring Road Conference

By: Tracey Lawie


Every spring, I hear the call of the Big Apple….the annual Broadway League conference where performing art centers from across the country converge in New York City to network, learn the latest trends in marketing and Broadway buying behaviors, take in the latest Broadway shows and get to interact with the creative teams and actors of various shows.

My week started off with bang – I got to see the revival of Miss Saigon on my first night.  A young newcomer plays the lead, Kim, and hers is a special story.  Eva Noblezada was a 2013 finalist for Best performance by an Actress at the Jimmy Awards (the National High School Musical Theatre Awards). There, she caught the eye of New York casting director Tara Rubin who was in the audience. She was so moved by Noblezada’s performance that she spoke with her afterwards and contacted theatrical producer Cameron Mackintosh who was preparing of the West End production of Miss Saigon at the time.  Long story short…Noblezada was cast in the role of Kim and made her debut in the West End in 2014 and now does 8 shows a week on Broadway.

Other shows I took in during the week include The School of Rock (my personal favorite), The Great Comet of 1812 (this show has the most interesting staging – the audience is on it and fully interactive throughout the show), A Bronx Tale (a lovely musical that reminded me a lot of Jersey Boys) and Beautiful: The Carole King Story (I dare you not to sing along with every song).

It was a fantastic week and I look forward to implementing some of the things I learned for our next season.  And, hopefully, you all will get a chance to see these great shows too when they tour and come through Miller in the years to come.

On a personal note…one highlight of the week was getting to meet Josh Groban who is currently starring in The Great Comet.  He is an amazingly nice person!