‘Oslo,’ Bette Midler and Ben Platt take Tony Awards

(JTA) — “Oslo,” a play about the 1993 Oslo Accords, won the Tony Award for best new play and its Jewish lead actor, Michael Aronov, was recognized as best featured actor in a play.

Bette Midler, the veteran Jewish actress and singer, won for best actress in a musical for “Hello Dolly” as Broadway handed out its highest honors on Sunday night in New York. The play also won for best musical revival. Midler was expected to lead the field of contenders for her role as Dolly Gallagher Levi, the matchmaker from Yonkers, who takes New York by storm.

“Oslo,” a J.T. Rogers play in which Israeli and Palestinian negotiators struggle to hammer out a peace deal, received rave reviews for turning a complicated history into a fast, entertaining three hours. Aronov played Uri Savir, an Israeli negotiator in the 1990s talks. Following its Tony win, the play’s run was extended to mid-July.


Jewish members of the “Dear Evan Hansen” team composer-lyricist Benj Pasek. left, and bookwriter Steven Levenson frame Justin Paul, center, at a talk given to the American Theatre Critics last year prior to the opening of the show. (Photo by Alan Smason)

The musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” about a boy who gets caught up in a lie after the death of a classmate, was named best new musical and led the way with six Tonys, including for its star, the Jewish actor Ben Platt, as best actor in a musical, and Rachel Bay Jones for best featured actress. Benji Pasek, who is Jewish, and Justin Paul also won for best book, best orchestrations and best original score. Paul won the Oscar this year for “La La Land.”

Rebecca Taichman won best director for “Indecent,” which recounts the bumpy journey to Broadway of Sholem Asch’s controversial Yiddish play “God of Vengeance.” The play also won a Best Lighting Design Tony too. However, the producers of the play decided to pull the plug on its run, acknowledging that advance ticket sales have been less than what had been hoped.

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