The 65th Annual Tony Awards was held on June 12, 2011 to recognize achievement in Broadway productions during the 2010–2011 season. They were held at the Beacon Theatre, ending a fourteen-year tradition of holding the ceremony at Radio City Music Hall. The Awards ceremony was broadcast live on CBS and was hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. The award nominations were announced on May 3, 2011.
The ceremony received extremely positive reviews from critics, with many citing it as a major improvement over the previous year. Numerous critics credited host Neil Patrick Harris with the success of the production, with one critic calling him "America's next great awards host."
Shows that opened during the 2010–11 Broadway season before April 28, 2011 were eligible. The category of "Lead Actress in a Musical" has only four nominees. According to Tony Award rules, "Because only six actresses are eligible for nomination in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical category, only four of those actors can be nominated."
In addition to the CBS television broadcast, the ceremony was simulcast live to Times Square and included the Tony Awards Red Carpet and the complete Tony Awards show, including the Creative Arts Awards.
The creative arts awards presentation was hosted by Laura Benanti and Katie Finneran and were presented prior to the network broadcast of the rest of the awards and the entertainment. The awards in this portion of the ceremony included those for Best Original Score, Choreography, Best Orchestrations, and others.
Presenters at the ceremony included Daniel Radcliffe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock, Alec Baldwin, Samuel L. Jackson, Kelsey Grammer, Viola Davis, John Leguizamo, Vanessa Redgrave, James Earl Jones, Harry Connick, Jr., Christie Brinkley, David Hyde Pierce, Marg Helgenberger, Matthew Broderick, Angela Lansbury, Jim Parsons, Robert Morse, Joel Grey, Patrick Wilson, Brooke Shields and Robin Williams.
Neil Patrick Harris, with costumed dancers and singers, opened the show with a comic and edgy number "arguing that Broadway, with its con artists, Mormons and nuns this season, is 'not just for gays anymore.'" The song was written by David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger. Harris and Hugh Jackman performed another comic number as rival awards-show hosts, and Harris ended the broadcast with a rap-style recap of the show. Performances from nominated musicals included: Catch Me If You Can with Norbert Leo Butz and Aaron Tveit; Sister Act with Patina Miller; The Book of Mormon with Andrew Rannells; The Scottsboro Boys with Joshua Henry; Anything Goes with Sutton Foster; and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying with Daniel Radcliffe and John Laroquette. Other musical numbers were performed from Memphis, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Company.
The Tony Awards Administration Committee announced special non-competitive awards prior to the ceremony. The Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre is given to Athol Fugard and Philip J. Smith, Chairman of The Shubert Organization. The Isabelle Stevenson Award is awarded to Eve Ensler, founder of V-Day. The Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre is given to animal trainer William Berloni, The Drama Book Shop (West 40th Street in Manhattan), and Sharon Jensen and Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts. The Special Tony Award is given to Handspring Puppet Company, "for creating lifelike horses (manipulated by three actor-puppeteers)". The Regional Theatre Tony Award is presented to Lookingglass Theatre Company (Chicago, Illinois).
Source: Tony Awards
The Book of Mormon received 14 nominations, the most of any production, and won nine, including Best Musical; The Scottsboro Boys received 12 nominations, winning none. The revival of Anything Goes won three awards, including Best Revival of a Musical. War Horse won five awards, including Best Play. The Normal Heart won three awards, including Best Revival of a Play. Several director-choreographers were double-nominated: Rob Ashford, Kathleen Marshall, Casey Nicholaw and Susan Stroman were nominated for both Best Director and Best Choreographer. Marshall (Choreography) and Nicholaw (Best Direction of a Musical with Trey Parker) won. The revival of The Merchant of Venice received seven nominations, the most for any play, but won none, followed by Jerusalem with six, winning one, for Best Actor, for the performance of Mark Rylance.
Winners are listed first and highlighted in boldface.
The following 21 productions received multiple nominations (the number of nominations is shown at left):14: The Book of Mormon
12: The Scottsboro Boys
9: Anything Goes
8: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
7: The Merchant of Venice
6: Jerusalem and The Motherfucker With the Hat
5: The Normal Heart, Sister Act and War Horse
4: Catch Me if You Can
3: Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, The Importance of Being Earnest and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
2: Arcadia, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Born Yesterday, Brief Encounter, Good People, La Bête and Priscilla Queen of the Desert
The following four productions received multiple awards (the number is shown at left):9: The Book of Mormon
5: War Horse
3: Anything Goes and The Normal Heart