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On the red carpet at 63rd Tony Awards
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On the red carpet at 63rd Tony Awards

by E. Joyce Glasgow - SGN A&E Writer

There is a big move this year towards spreading environmental awareness and energy conservation throughout the Broadway world. The Tony Awards did its part on June 7 by using a red carpet made from recycled materials and printing the program for the event on partially recycled paper, among other environmental considerations.

The non-profit Broadway Green Alliance was next to me on the red carpet, getting personal energy conservation tips from actors and other theatre professionals on video, and the Gift Lounge for Tony presenters featured fashionable purses made from recycled rubber innertubes. Sponsor Lipton Tea is taking action toward having all its teas sustainably certified for its growing practices by the independent non-profit Rainforest Alliance.

These are great accomplishments, but what took so long? Why aren't there plastic and glass recycling bins along Broadway and all the other streets of New York by now? What a difference just that would make! In any case, these entities are to be applauded for doing what they can, in their high-profile positions, at any point, to increase awareness and support conservation of resources in the greater community. It's a great step!

I am always amazed at the amount of Seattle/New York Broadway theatre connections. This season, Bartlett Sher, of Seattle's Intiman Theatre, directed Joe Turner's Come and Gone, which won two 2009 Tonys and was written by former Seattle resident, the late August Wilson. The popular hit Shrek, which won a 2009 Tony, was developed for the Broadway stage at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre. Next to Normal, which won three 2009 Tonys, was co-written by Brian Yorkey of Issaquah, and was originally workshopped and premiered in Issaquah at the Village Theatre.

Billy Elliott won for Best Musical and the three Billys - David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish - collectively won for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. The show took 10 awards. Hair won for Best Revival of a Musical. God of Carnage won for Best Play and one of its stars, Marcia Gay Hardin, won for Best Leading Actress in a Play. Alice Ripley won for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her role as a woman struggling with mental illness in Next to Normal. Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush won Best Actor in a Play for his role in Ionesco's Absurdist play, Exit the King, and The Norman Conquests won Best Revival of a Play. Grande Dame of the theatre, octogenarian Angela Lansbury, won her fifth Tony for her featured role as the delightfully eccentric psychic medium Madame Arcati in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit. Liza Minnelli won for Best Special Theatrical Event for Liza's at the Palace. For a complete list of all the winners, visit www.tonyawards.com.

Jerry Herman, composer of some of the most iconic Broadway musicals, including Hello, Dolly!, Mame and La Cage aux Folles was presented with a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. When asked in the media room afterwards if he had any new projects in the works, he said that he didn't, and that he thought that his style of music for the Broadway theatre had passed. Herman's influence, popularity and longevity in the theatre world has been so great that this statement drew a collective gasp of horror from many of the media representatives present.

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