The cast of On The Town

Dance is always big at the Tonys, but especially this year, with several crossover stars from the dance world occupying major Broadway roles. New York City Ballet principal Robert Fairchild, who stars in An American in Paris, lost best lead actor to Michael Cerveris of Fun Home, but we still enjoyed seeing Fairchild's dreamy lovers’ pas de deux with Leanne Cope. Christopher Wheeldon, making his director-choreographer debut, took home the well-deserved Tony for best choreography for An American in Paris.

Leanne Cope and Robert Fairchild at the 2015 Tony Awards.

Other highlights included a medley from the always energetic On the Town cast (featuring NYCB’s Megan Fairchild and introduced by ballet’s celeb of the moment Misty Copeland), a regal performance by Chita Rivera from The Visit and the news that Tommy Tune received a lifetime achievement award. “My father’s great dream for me was the same as every Texas father’s dream for their first born son: They wanted us all to leave Texas, go to New York and dance in the chorus of a Broadway show,” he said in his acceptance speech. “I did it, and I loved every single time step.”

The Tony Awards must never let Neil Patrick Harris not host ever again. The four-time MC of Broadway’s Biggest Night sang, danced, rapped and did acrobatics, magic tricks and cheerleading stunts all in an opening number that made me want to shut off the TV right then and there because nothing could possibly top it. The rest of the evening wasn’t too shabby, though, with pick-me-up performances from Motown and Bring It On, plus a slew of talented tots from Annie, Matilda and A Christmas Story.

Kinky Boots was the biggest star of the evening, however (after NPH). The feel-good show about a struggling shoe factory that finds a true “niche market” selling sturdy stilettos to drag queens claimed six Tonys, including Best Musical and two technical awards. Pop star Cyndi Lauper was honored for Best Score, while leading man/woman Billy Porter took home the much-deserved win for Best Actor in a Musical. And director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell won for Best Choreography, beating out talented contenders Andy Blankenbuehler, Chet Walker and Peter Darling. Mitchell has worked on Catch Me If You Can, Legally Blonde: The Musical, Hairspray and La Cage Aux Folles, for which he earned a Tony in 2005. Read more here about Mitchell, the busiest man on Broadway, and if you have any questions about his choreography chops, check out Boots’ show-stopping conveyor-belt dance performance from last night:

Andy Blankenbuehler breaks down some of his signature Broadway moves for DT

The nominees for the Tony Awards have been announced, and from the looks of those competing for Best Choreography, it’s going to be a tough competition:

Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical

Andy is a favorite on the pages of DT. Recently, he shared his musical theater choreography technique for turning gesture into dance. He even taught us a phrase from his Tony-winning smash, In the Heights. Watch the video here.

Peter Darling, Matilda The Musical

Last month, we spoke to the Billy Elliot choreographer in "Face to Face" about how he regularly coaxes Broadway-worthy movement out of young children, as in the new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic story. “I suppose I just think of them as very small adults,” he told us. He’s a master!

Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots

This new musical is taking the Great White Way by storm, and it doesn’t surprise us one bit! Jerry Mitchell is a nonstop hit machine. He's the force behind Hairspray, Legally Blonde: The Musical, Catch Me If You Can, and he won the Tony for his work on La Cage Aux Folles. Read more about the “busiest choreographer on Broadway” here.

Chet Walker, Pippin

How can you compete with a man who trained under Bob Fosse and Jack Cole? Walker graced the cover of DT in 2005, and we recently asked him to break down a Jack Cole-style jazz combination for us. As this nomination for the revival of Pippin indicates, he’s still got it.

We can’t wait to learn the results when the Tony Awards air June 9, but we’re so glad we don’t have to make the decision!

Photo by Matthew Murphy

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