Fil-Ams shine at Tony Awards

by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Jun 09 2015 09:25 AM | Updated as of Jun 09 2015 05:25 PM

NEW YORK CITY – It was a great night for Filipino Americans on Broadway.

“The King and I,” with a cast of 14 Filipinos, won the 2015 Tony Award for best revival musical.

Kelli O’Hara, who played the English teacher Anna Leonowens, also won best actress in a musical.

While Korean American Ruthie Ann Miles — known for her role as Imelda Marcos in “Here Lies Love” — won the Tony for best actress in a featured role for the “The King and I”.

"I am profoundly grateful for every things this recognition has meant and for this honor than you the American Theater Wing and all of the voters," she said.

Three-time Tony-winning Filipino Broadway producer Jhett Tolentino did not bring home a Tony, but added his 4th and 5th Tony nominations to his name.

He said, “To be honest, I’m not confident that two of my shows but regardless, its a celebration of the theater.”

Tolentino is one of the producers of “Hand to God”, which nominated for best play, and “This is our Youth” — nominated for for best revival, play.

Tolentino said, “I couldn’t be happier with the winners. With the gathering earlier I expected that ‘Curious’ was going to win and ‘Fun Home’ was gonna win. You know, I’m happy to lose it to them.”

Theater blogger David Spencer said, “Jhett has a very unique aptitude for what shows to pick. He has a really strong business sense about theater and what’s going to be successful and good artistically at the same time.”

The Tony for best play went to “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” and the Tony for best revival play went to “Fun Home”

It was also a great night for Fil-Ams Vanessa Hudgens, who performed a song from her Broadway show “Gigi” and Broadway’s latest Hedwig, Darren Criss, who hosted the Tony’s red carpet show.

Criss asked Hudgens, “Do you have a blast every night or are you just ready to pass out?”

Hudgens said, “When you’re doing what you love, it fuels you. Like you know this, performers know this. It gives you so much joy and pleasure doing what you love.”

Tony winner Lea Salonga may not have been present at the Tony’s but the theater community is already talking about her most anticipated return to Broadway via George Takei’s new musical “Allegiance”.

A red carpet anchor told Takei that she’s excited to see his co-star, Lea Salonga, come back to Broadway.

Takei said, “Glorious voice. Her voice is crystal clear. I don’t need to describe her. She is magnificent. One of the great voices of all time and a Tony winner already.”

Tolentino said, “I’m so glad Filipinos are…we’re more visible. That’s why I’m excited to go home and talk to other people. I have a few plans for the performing arts in Asia.”

Two of his new productions are also set to open soon: one in the fall and another in spring.

And as the new theater season begins a day after the Tonys, Tolentino says he will begin shopping for the new shows to produce on Broadway.

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