‘Band’s Visit,’ ‘Harry Potter’ win big at Tony Awards


Associated Press

NEW YORK

The American, grown-up musical “The Band’s Visit” outmuscled the acclaimed and sprawling British import “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” for the most Tony Awards on Sunday, capturing 10 statuettes, including best musical.

It’s based on a 2007 Israeli film of the same name and centers on members of an Egyptian police orchestra booked to play a concert at an Israeli city who accidentally end up in the wrong town. Its embrace of foreign cultures working together found a sweet spot with Tony voters.

Tony Shalhoub won as best leading man in a musical for his work on “The Band’s Visit,” and the show’s Katrina Lenk won best actress in a musical.

“The Band’s Visit” also won statuettes for best direction, orchestration, sound design, best book and score, lighting and featured actor Ari’el Stachel, who gave a heartfelt speech about his past.

The two-part spectacle “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” had captured six, including best play, book, lighting, sound design, orchestrations and director John Tiffany.

Andrew Garfield won his first Tony, for best leading actor in a play, for playing a young gay man living with AIDS in the sprawling, seven-hour revival “Angels in America” opposite Nathan Lane. He won his third, for best featured actor in a play.

Garfield dedicated the win to the LGBTQ community, who he said fought and died for the right to love. He said the play is a rejection of bigotry, shame and oppression.

In a mesmerizing moment, Melody Herzfeld, the heroic drama teacher who nurtured many of the young people demanding change after the February school shooting in Parkland, Fla., was honored from the Tony Award stage.

Herzfeld, the one-woman drama department at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was cheered by the crowd at Radio City Music Hall. Herzfeld saved 65 lives by barricading students into a small classroom closet on Valentine’s Day when police say a former student went on a school rampage, killing 17 people.

Members of Herzfeld’s drama department took the Tony stage to serenade her with “Seasons of Love” from “Rent.”

Co-hosts Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles kicked the show off with a self-parodying duet on piano for all the losers out there – including them.

Neither Bareilles nor Groban have won a Grammy or a Tony despite selling millions of albums and appearing on Broadway. They turned that into a playful song.

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