63rd Tony Awards
63rd Tony Awards poster
DateJune 7, 2009
LocationRadio City Music Hall
Hosted byNeil Patrick Harris
Most awardsBilly Elliot the Musical (10)
Most nominationsBilly Elliot the Musical (15)
Television/radio coverage
Viewership7.4 million[1]
Produced byRicky Kirshner
Glenn Weiss
Directed byGlenn Weiss
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The 63rd Annual Tony Awards, which recognized Broadway productions of the 2008-2009 season, were presented on June 7, 2009 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The ceremony was broadcast by CBS, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.[2]

The cut-off date for eligibility for the awards was April 30, 2009.[3] Nominations were announced on May 5, 2009 by Cynthia Nixon and Lin-Manuel Miranda.[4] Of the musicals, Billy Elliot the Musical received 15 nominations, every one that it was eligible for, which tied for the most received by any Broadway production[5] until this record was surpassed by Hamilton (16), followed by the Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner Next to Normal with eleven. Among the nominees for Best Revival of a Musical, Hair had the most nominations, with eight. Of the plays, the revivals Mary Stuart and The Norman Conquests tied for the most nominations, with seven each. All four stars of God of Carnage were nominated, as was the play itself. [6] Billy Elliot won 10 awards, the most of the night, including Best Musical. Next to Normal and God of Carnage each won three.[7]

The Isabelle Stevenson Award, a non-competitive award named after the late president of the American Theatre Wing, was presented for the first time. Its purpose is to recognize individuals from the theatre community who have volunteered time to one or more humanitarian, social service, or charitable organizations. The first recipient of this honor was Phyllis Newman. This was the first non-competitive category to be introduced since the Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre was established in 1990.[8]

The broadcast won the 2009 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Programs. The telecast also was nominated in the category of Outstanding Art Direction for Variety, Music or Nonfiction Programming.[9]


Shows that opened on Broadway during the 2008–09 season before May 1, 2009 are eligible.

Pre-telecast events

The Visa Signature Tony Awards Preview Concert featured performers from the musicals Guys and Dolls, Hair, West Side Story, 9 to 5; Billy Elliot the Musical, Next to Normal, Rock of Ages, and Shrek The Musical. The concert was televised on various CBS stations, and in New York City on May 30. Newscaster Harry Smith from The Early Show hosted the special.[10]

The red-carpet arrivals and pre-Tony telecast awards (Creative Arts Awards) were webcast on TonyAwards.com.[11] A Creative Arts Awards (CAA) ceremony, hosted by Laura Benanti and Brian Stokes Mitchell, was held prior to the main ceremony. The CAA presented the awards for orchestrations and scenery, costume, lighting and sound design.[12]


Presenters included Lucie Arnaz, Kate Burton, Kristin Chenoweth, Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, Edie Falco, Will Ferrell, Carrie Fisher, Jane Fonda, Hallie Foote, James Gandolfini, Lauren Graham, Colin Hanks, Marcia Gay Harden, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Lange, Frank Langella, Angela Lansbury, Audra McDonald, David Hyde Pierce, Piper Perabo, Oliver Platt, Susan Sarandon, John Stamos and Chandra Wilson.


Performances included scenes from nine Broadway musicals: Billy Elliot the Musical (with an appearance by Elton John); Guys and Dolls, with Tituss Burgess and company performing "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" (at the start of the performance, Burgess's microphone was not working, so a stagehand ran up to him to give him a handheld); Hair, with the company performing the title song and "Let the Sunshine In"; Next to Normal, with Alice Ripley, J. Robert Spencer, and Aaron Tveit performing "You Don't Know/I Am The One"; Pal Joey, represented by Stockard Channing singing a few lines from "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" during the opening segment; Rock of Ages, with Constantine Maroulis and fellow cast members singing "Don't Stop Believin'"; Shrek the Musical, with the company performing "What's Up, Duloc"; West Side Story, with the company performing the Dance At The Gym; and 9 to 5, with Dolly Parton joining the cast to sing the title tune. Cast members from national touring companies of three musicals also appeared: The lead character from four Jersey Boys casts (Joseph Leo Bwarie (Toronto), Rick Faugno (Las Vegas), Courter Simmons (national tour) and Dominic Scaglione, Jr. (Chicago) sang together with Jarrod Spector from the Broadway cast; Legally Blonde spotlighted Becky Gulsvig; and Michelle Dawson, Kittra Wynn Coomer and Rachel Tyler from the national tour of Mamma Mia! sang "Dancing Queen" with fellow cast members.

Performers from the nominated Best Plays category presented brief clips of those plays, which included God of Carnage, 33 Variations, Dividing the Estate and Reasons to Be Pretty.[13]

Liza Minnelli performed in the opening sequence, and rock icon Bret Michaels and his band Poison joined the cast of Rock of Ages during their segment in the opening number, performing the band's 1988 Top Ten hit "Nothin' but a Good Time". While exiting the stage, Michaels was struck in the head by a descending set and knocked to the floor. He suffered a fractured nose and a split lip that required three stitches.[14] He subsequently sued the event's organizers, claiming that the collision led to his 2010 brain hemorrhage. The suit was settled in May 2012 for an undisclosed amount.[15][16]

Neil Patrick Harris ended the show with a pastiche of "Tonight" from West Side Story and "Luck Be a Lady" from Guys and Dolls, with lyrics re-written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman that recapped the awards.[13]

Competitive awards

Winners in bold.[7]

Best Play Best Musical
Best Revival of a Play Best Revival of a Musical
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Best Book of a Musical Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Best Scenic Design of a Play Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Best Costume Design of a Play Best Costume Design of a Musical
Best Lighting Design of a Play Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Best Sound Design of a Play Best Sound Design of a Musical
Best Direction of a Play Best Direction of a Musical
Best Choreography Best Orchestrations
Best Special Theatrical Event

In Memoriam

Bebe Neuwirth introduced a special number to honor those who died during the past theatre season. The Broadway Inspirational Voices[13] and orchestra performed "What I Did for Love" from A Chorus Line. Broadway theatres dimmed their lights in memoriam, as well. Among those remembered were:

Non-competitive awards

Multiple nominations and awards

See also


  1. ^ Porter, Rick (June 13, 2010). "Tony Awards Ratings History". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on April 16, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  2. ^ Gans, Andrew (May 14, 2009). "Neil Patrick Harris to Host 63rd Annual Tony Awards". Playbill. Archived from the original on May 18, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  3. ^ Gans, Andrew (December 4, 2008). "Tony Rulings: American Buffalo Ineligible for Nomination". Playbill. Archived from the original on January 7, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  4. ^ Gans, Andrew (January 9, 2009). "2009 Tony Award Nominations Will Be Announced May 5". Playbill. Archived from the original on April 30, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  5. ^ Gans, Andrew (May 5, 2009). "Nominations for 2009 Tony Awards Announced; Billy Elliot Earns 15 Nominations". Playbill.com. Archived from the original on May 8, 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  6. ^ Jones, Kenneth; Andrew Gans (May 5, 2009). "Nominations for 2009 Tony Awards Announced". Playbill. Archived from the original on May 8, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Tony Award Winners". Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  8. ^ Gans, Andrew (October 8, 2008). "Tony Awards to Present Isabelle Stevenson Award in May 2009". Playbill. Archived from the original on December 11, 2008. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  9. ^ Jones, Kenneth."The 2009 Tony Awards Broadcast Wins Emmy; Neil Patrick Harris Is a "Glee"-ful Winner" Archived September 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, August 21, 2010
  10. ^ Gans, Andrew (May 30, 2009). "Tony Awards Preview Concert, Hosted By Harry Smith, Airs May 30". Playbill. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  11. ^ Gans, Andrew (May 27, 2009). "Tony Evening Will Begin with Red Carpet Arrivals and Pre-Telecast Awards". Playbill. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  12. ^ Gans, Andrew (June 4, 2009). "Benanti and Mitchell to Host Creative Arts Tony Awards Presentation". Playbill. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  13. ^ a b c Gans, Andrew."DIVA TALK: 2009 Tony Awards Recap Plus News of Block, Graff and Hilty," playbill.com, June 12, 2009
  14. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. "Bret Michaels Injured at the Tony Awards", People, June 8, 2009
  15. ^ D'Zurilla, Christie (May 15, 2012). "Bret Michaels, Tony Awards settle lawsuit over 2009 injuries". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  16. ^ Gearty, Robert. "Poison singer Bret Michaels to settle lawsuit over accident at 2009 Tony Awards". Daily News. New York. Retrieved May 15, 2012.