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Updated Jun 17, 2024, 3:13pm EDT
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Daniel Radcliffe wins first Tony Award as British theater firm eyes Broadway expansion

Insights from Sherwood, The Stage, The Hollywood Reporter, and NPR

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Eduardo Munoz/Reuters
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The News

British actor Daniel Radcliffe won his first Tony Award for his role in the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along in a ceremony where Hollywood names dazzled but most prizes still went to top Broadway actors.

The Harry Potter star’s success comes at a time when a British theater powerhouse is looking to expand its influence in Broadway, whose theaters have for decades been dominated by three main family-owned operators.

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British company ATG is changing the way Broadway operates

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Sources:  
Sherwood, The Stage

Behind the scenes of the growing British presence at the Tonys, a private equity-backed British theater company has been making waves on Broadway, Sherwood reported. ATG Entertainment, which owns a quarter of London’s West End theaters, expanded heavily into New York in 2023, buying five houses in an estimated $300 million deal to add to the two it already owned. This kind of change is atypical for Broadway, which has operated more in a “dynastic mode,” The Stage noted, with three families owning most of the houses. It remains to be seen what long-term impact ATG will have on New York’s theater district; it may drive away some of the “loyalty edge” that defines Broadway today and make it more about “what shows have to offer from a business standpoint,” one producer told Sherwood.

There was a ‘vague’ undercurrent of politics

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Sources:  
NPR, Deadline

Several of the nominated dramas at the Tonys had a political undertone, like Enemy of the People, which is about a town’s backlash against a whistleblower, and Patriots, about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rise to power. Politics was also a refrain on stage, with a number of presenters and winners touching on “vague” political themes, NPR wrote, without naming presidential candidates or specifying issues. In a surprise appearance, former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received a standing ovation when she presented Suffs, a musical about women’s right to vote, and talked about “how hard it is to make change,” Deadline reported.

‘Broadway’s own’ still took most top awards

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Source:  
The Hollywood Reporter

While the presence of big Hollywood names loomed large during the ceremony, most top prizes still went to “Broadway’s own,” The Hollywood Reporter wrote. A-list celebrities including Angelina Jolie certainly played a role in bolstering interest for the event, which is always “a tough sell” because of its specificity. But most of the key acting awards still went to performers who are primarily known for their work on the Great White Way, like Jonathan Groff, Kecia Lewis, and Maleah Joi Moon from Hell’s Kitchen, Kara Young from Purlie Victorious, and Will Brill from Stereophonic. It was “a demonstration of the fiercely independent spirit that has long defined the Tonys,” the outlet wrote.

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