The Musical “Memphis” & Artistic “Red” Perform Well At Tony Awards This Year

Two socially conscious, but radically different stories set in mid-20th century America, the exuberant rhythm ‘n’ blues musical "Memphis" and the anguished two-man drama "Red," were big winners Sunday at the 2010 Tony Awards. "Memphis" is based on an original story by Joe Dipietro and a brand-new score with music by Bon Jovi founding member David Bryan. "Red" is a 2 character play based on the life of painter Mark Rothko, the Latvian-born American abstract expressionist.

Michael Grandage of "Red" won for best director of a play. Eddie Redmayne of "Red" won featured performance by an actor in a play as the increasingly disillusioned assistant to Mark Rothko, as the abstract expressionist agonizes over whether to accept a lucrative commission for the Four Seasons restaurant. "This is the stuff dreams are made of. Wow," Redmayne said, clutching his prize. "Red," starring Alfred Molina as Rothko, was also awarded a Tony for best lighting design of a play, best sound design and best scenic design.   Best direction for a musical went to first-time nominee Terry Johnson of "La Cage Aux Folles."

Scarlett Johanssen won for best featured performance as an actress in a play for her Broadway debut, the object of her uncle’s lust in Arthur Miller’s "A View From a Bridge." "Every since I was a little girl I wanted to be on Broadway and here I am," said Johansson, the voluptuous Hollywood star best known for such films as "Matchpoint" and "Lost in Translation."

"Memphis," a tale of segregation and integration in the American South in the 1950’s was cited for best orchestration, original score and best book of a musical, twice beating out "Fela!," which won for best costume design of a musical and best sound design of a musical.