Brush Up on This Season's Best Female-Fronted Plays Before Sunday's Tony Awards
It's almost time for Broadway's big night! The 69th Annual Tony Awards air Sunday, June 7th on CBS, and we're looking back at some of this year's most buzzed-about shows. We've chatted with the costume designers and stars of some of this season's most spectacular shows—here's a recap of the top 7 highlights.
In the revival of Wendy Wasserstein’s Pulitzer- and Tony-winning play, Elisabeth Moss takes on the lead role of a successful art historian struggling over three decades to figure out what it means to be a woman. Said costume designer Jessica Pabst, "The clothes not only support the periods, but also support Heidi's journey into adulthood."
Taking on the play's titular role was no easy feat for Moss. "It's definitely tougher than anything else I've ever done," she said. Despite the a rigorous performance schedule (Moss is in every scene, so breaks were far and few between), the star powered through. "I have a four-page monologue to the audience in the middle of it," she said. "I've never done that, so that's a challenge for me, and it's a fear that I'm going to have to overcome."
Five-time Tony nominee Kelli O'Hara stars in Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I, playing a widowed schoolteacher who moves to Siam in the late 19th century to teach the King of Siam the ways of the west. "I felt like this role was calling out to me," said O'Hara. "I didn't really know how much I would love it until we started working on it."
The comedic musical revival is up for Best Revival at the Tonys, and Kristin Chenoweth received a Best Actress nom for her portrayal of a glam Hollywood starlet. Costume designer William Ivey Long's creations also scored the play a Best Costume Design of a Musical nomination—and understandably so. "This is the kind of fashion that comes back every few years because it's such a classic," Ivey Long said. "And there's a reason for that: Everybody looks good."
Helen Mirren stars as Queen Elizabeth II in the show that depicts the monarch's weekly meetings with prime ministers at Buckingham Palace. Six-time Tony Award-winning designer Bob Crowley created Mirren's royal looks for the part, and he studied the Queen's real-life style to recreate her notoriously monochromatic palette. "The Queen's fashion looks have changed dramatically over the years, " Crowley said. "Strong color has always been a constant, and blue would appear to be her favorite."
Based on the 1951 film starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, the musical scored over 12 Tony nominations. Inspired by modern art from the era of the Parisian story, Bob Crowley designed both the magical sets and the costumes for the play. "We wanted a contemporary audience today to feel the excitement of what a Parisian would have felt at that time to see something so new," Crowley said. "We didn't want to do a pastiche, or to have it feel dated in any way."
Vanessa Hudgens portrays a coming-of-age Parisian at the turn of the century in the classic Tony- and Oscar-winning rags-to-riches musical, and costume designer Catherine Zuber created her looks accordingly. "My favorite is this beautiful lilac and fuchsia gown that has sequins and a high neck and a tight waist," Hudgens said. "There are a couple of sequins on it and a little bow; it's just so elegant and somehow slightly modern."