Hayes turned in a number of funny bits, including a particularly funny jab at the forthcoming Spider-Man musical, as well as playing piano shockingly well for the opening pop music sequence.
Pop music ended up being the overall theme of the evening. Only a handful of showtunes eked their way into the proceedings. There were a couple of derivative tunes from Memphis, which - heck - might as well have been forgettable old R&B tunes anyway, as well as Send In The Clowns from a A Little Night Music, a number from Ragtime, All I Need Is The Girl sung by Matthew Morrison, and, solidifying her as-yet-unofficial bid for the role of Fanny Brice in Funny Girl in 2011, Lea Michele singing Don't Rain On My Parade.
As for plays, Mark Rothko-themed hit Red completely shut out critics' darling Next Fall, taking home most of the major awards, including Best Play, Best Director for the Donmar Warehouse's Michael Grandage, Best Sound Design (Adam Cork), Best Scenic Design (Christopher Oram), Best Lighting Design (Neil Austin), and Best Featured Actor in a Play (Eddie Redmayne).
Also making a showing was this year's revival of August Wilson's Fences, which deservedly took home awards for Best Revival of a Play, Best Actor in a Play (Denzel Washington), and Best Actress in a Play (Viola Davis). Though Gregory Mosher's superlative revival of A View From the Bridge came to bat with six nominations, it scored only one win, for Scarlett Johansson's above average performance in the role of Catherine.
For musical acting, Catherine Zeta-Jones took home Best Actress in a Musical for her delicious star turn in A Little Night Music, while little-known British actor Douglas Hodge took home the award for Best Actor in a Musical for his droll performance as Albin in La Cage aux Folles, which also took home the award for Best Revival of a Musical (incidentally, these productions of Night Music and La Cage both originated at London's mini musical producing powerhouse, the Menier Chocolate Factory).
Green Day got plenty of face time. There was an appearance during the opening number, a performance from the cast of American Idiot, and another performance later in the evening, none of which helped the show score any of the top honors (though it did win for Best Scenic Design and Best Lighting Design of a Musical). Fela!, which gave several spirited Afrobeat performances, took home top honors in the Choreography category for director-choreographer Bill T. Jones, but other than that the show took home awards for Best Sound Design and Best Costume Design of a Musical.
In the end, it was an evening of few surprises. In a year where critics and theatre reporters were shut out of the voting circle, shows took top honors that producers felt would attract the largest touring audiences; likewise, stars won who would obviously attract the highest number of television viewers (with a few exceptions). That this was the year of Memphis meant that the tone of the year's awards was more sharply commercial and less artistically sound. Affirming the awards' artistic merit were awards for lifetime achievement given to veteran actress Marian Seldes, last seen on Broadway opposite Angela Lansbury in Deuce, and playwright Alan Ayckbourn. Neither of these presentations, it should be noted, made the telecast.
Memphis, a show that panders to its audiences with boy-aren't-we-thankful-that-white-DJs-came-along-and-helped-black-singers-break-into-the-mainstream platitudes, echoes bouncier, more original shows like Dreamgirls and Hairspray, only without the same original kick. It was that kind of a year: a derivative one. Memphis's competitors in the Best Musical category included Million Dollar Quartet, Fela!, and American Idiot, each scored with preexisting music, leaving Memphis the only original musical up for the award. There are two ways to view its ultimate triumph: the half-hearted approval of the only original musical nominated or the disappointingly commercial choice of the show with the widest appeal for touring audiences. Which is least depressing? Is the glass half empty or half full? You decide. Personally, I'm ready for next year's face-off between Spider-Man and Love Never Dies.
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical:
Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical:
Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music
Best Revival of a Musical:
La Cage aux Folles
Red, Author: John Logan
Best Revival of a Play:
Bill T. Jones, Fela!
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play:
Denzel Washington, Fences
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play:
Viola Davis, Fences?
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical:
Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical:
Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises?
Best Direction of a Musical:
Terry Johnson, La Cage aux Folles
Best Direction of a Play:
Michael Grandage, Red?
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play:
Eddie Redmayne, Red
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play:
Scarlett Johansson, A View from the Bridge?
Best Sound Design of a Musical:
Robert Kaplowitz, Fela!?
Best Sound Design of a Play:
Adam Cork, Red?
Best Scenic Design of a Musical:
Christine Jones, American Idiot?
Best Lighting Design of a Musical:
Kevin Adams, American Idiot?
Best Lighting Design of a Play:
Neil Austin, Red?
Best Scenic Design of a Play:
Christopher Oram, Red
Best Costume Design of a Musical:?
Marina Draghici, Fela!
Best Costume Design of a Play:
Catherine Zuber, The Royal Family
Best Book of a Musical:
Memphis, Joe DiPietro
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre:
Memphis, Music: David Bryan; Lyrics: Joe DiPietro, David Bryan
Daryl Waters & David Bryan, Memphis
Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre:
Alan Ayckbourn, Marian Seldes
Isabelle Stevenson Award:
David Hyde Pierce
The Alliance of Resident Theatres New York, B.H. Barry and BC/EFA executive director Tom Viola
2010 Tony Award for Regional Theatre:
Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT