Winner’s Circle: Audra McDonald Makes History at the Tony Awards

By  June 09, 2014

It was a big night on Broadway for Audra McDonald. The Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill star took home the award for Best Actress in a Lead Role in a Play at Sunday night’s Tony Awards, marking her sixth win—the most of any actress in history. The record-setting accolade also put McDonald in a league of her own: she’s the first person to win a Tony in four different performance categories.

2014 Tony Awards - Backstage & Audience

“I want to thank all the shoulders—the strong, and brave, and courageous women—that I am standing on,” McDonald said during a tearful acceptance speech. “I am standing on Lena Horne’s shoulders. I’m standing on Maya Angelou’s shoulders. I’m standing on Diahann Carroll, and Ruby Dee, and most of all, Billie Holiday. You deserved so much more than you were given when you were on this planet. This is for you, Billie.”

There were other awards on hand for Neil Patrick HarrisBryan Cranston, and Jesse Mueller, who earned acting nods for their respective work on The Great White Way. As for the biggest wins of the night, most-nominated production A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder won Best Musical, while Cranston’s All the Way won Best Play.

Of course, host Hugh Jackman won our honorary emcee award, thanks in large part to an unexpected cameo from rappers T.I. and LL Cool J. We’re still petitioning for the Tonys to make it official.

And the Tony goes to…

Best MusicalA Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Best Lead Actor in a MusicalNeil Patrick HarrisHedwig and the Angry Inch
Best Lead Actress in a MusicalJesse MuellerBeautiful—The Carole King Musical
Best Revival of a Musical: Hedwig and the Angry Itch
Best Featured Actor in a MusicalJames M. IglehartAladdin
Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Lena HallHedwig and the Angry Inch
Best Direction of a Musical
: Darko TresnjakA Gentleman’s Guide
Best Book of a MusicalDarko TresnjakA Gentleman’s Guide
Best Original ScoreThe Bridges of Madison County
Best Choreography: Warren CarlyleAfter Midnight
Best Costume Design of a MusicalLinda ChoA Gentleman’s Guide
Best Lighting Design of a MusicalKevin AdamsHedwig and the Angry Inch

Best PlayAll the Way
Best Lead Actor in a Play: Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Best Lead Actress in a Play: Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s
Best Revival of a Play: A Raisin in the Sun
Best Featured Actor in a PlayMark RylanceTwelfth Night
Best Featured Actress in a Play: Sophie Okonedo
A Raisin in the Sun 
Best Costume Design of a Play
Jenny TiramaniTwelfth Night
Best Lighting Design of a Play: Natasha Katz, 
The Glass Menagerie

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre: Jane Greenwood
Regional Theatre Award: Signature Theatre
Isabelle Stevenson Award: Rosie O’Donnell
Tony Honors for Excellence in the TheatreJoseph P. BenincasaJoan MarcusCharlotte Wilcox