“Red,” the anguished two-man drama about painter Mark Rothko and the timeless tug of war between art and commerce, was a big winner Sunday at the 2010 Tony Awards, receiving the best play prize and five other honors.
Fences,” a revival of August Wilson’s deeply personal drama about family, won for best revival of a play and its two stars, Washington and Viola Davis, won for best actors in a play. Even their acceptance speeches seemed to complement each other.
“My mother always says, ‘Man gives the award, God gives the reward.’ I guess I got both tonight,” Washington said after winning for his performance as the sanitation man who might have been a baseball star. It was his first Tony Award and nomination.
“I don’t believe in luck or happenstance. I absolutely believe in the presence of God in my life,” said Davis, honored for playing Washington’s all-sacrificing wife. “It feels like such a divine experience eight times a week.”
“Fela!” — the innovative Afro-beat biography of Nigerian superstar Fela Anikulapo-Kuti — and “La Cage aux Folles” — a revival of the classic Jerry Herman-Harvey Fierstein musical farce — each had 11 nominations, but won just three Tonys apiece.