At the after-party at the Plaza hotel on Sunday night, following the three-hour-plus running time of the Tony Awards, made longer by Bette Midler’s hilarious and defiant acceptance speech and the host Kevin Spacey’s curious decision to close the show with a lugubrious Bobby Darin song that few people in the audience seemed to know, the line at the buffet station stretched nearly the length of the ballroom and the crowd at the bar was three and four deep.
Everyone — attendees, presenters, winners, losers — was starving.
Among the first arrivals was Uma Thurman, who quickly filled a plate with food, grabbed a table off in a corner with some friends, and then glared and shook her head “no” at an approaching photographer.
Shortly before midnight, the Tony winner Laurie Metcalf (“A Doll’s House, Part 2”) arrived with her daughter and glanced, seemingly puzzled, at the buffet line. “Wasn’t there a downstairs room last year — a food court?” she asked one of the event’s staff members. A few minutes later, she was telling a reporter that she was “honored to have represented the play” with her Tony win, before quickly adding, “I’m so very tired” and going off in search of what the buffet might have to offer.
Standing nearby, his plate piled with mini-burgers, was Tommy Tune, a presenter and himself the winner of 10 Tony Awards, including an honorary one. What did he think of the show, he was asked (a topic that would prove more sensitive as the evening progressed and the largely negative reviews of Mr. Spacey’s performance began to roll in). “Oh, I didn’t get to see much,” Mr. Tune said. “They kept me pretty busy tonight. I taped it, though, so I will watch it when I get home.”
He added that he was thrilled for the wins for “Hello, Dolly!” as best revival of a musical and Ms. Midler’s as best actress in a musical. “Oh, I just love ‘Hello, Dolly!’” he said, reminding the reporter that he had appeared as Ambrose in the 1969 movie version with Barbra Streisand. “I’m a ‘Hello, Dolly!’ fan all the way.”
The room quickly filled up, with a brief sighting of Joe and Jill Biden creating a buzz. The Tony winner Ben Platt (best actor in a musical for “Dear Evan Hansen”) was mobbed by well-wishers as he inched his way across the room, clutching his award.
Over in the corner, Cynthia Nixon, winner for best featured actress for “The Little Foxes,” sat at a table with her wife, Christine Marinoni, her Tony Award planted between them. During her acceptance speech, Ms. Nixon quoted probably the best-known line in the play, “There are people who eat the earth and eat all the people on it, and other people who just stand around and watch them do it,” adding that she wanted to express her “undying respect” to “all the people in 2017 who are refusing to just stand and watch them do it.” At the party, she talked of how “eerily prescient” the 80-year-old play was to today’s audiences.
Later, much of the crowd moved to the Carlyle hotel for a late-night party given by the public relations firm O&M. There, Ms. Midler sat at a table with her husband and daughter as she accepted congratulations for her win, including a body-hugging one from her fellow nominee Christine Ebersole.
Glenn Close shared a corner booth with the producer Jordan Roth and the Tony nominee Danny DeVito, Darren Criss took a turn belting out tunes in the piano lounge, and Jennifer Ehle, a nominee for “Oslo” (which won for best play) and Ms. Nixon engaged in a lively conversation that started in a doorway and ended with the two of them sitting on a staircase, their evening gowns (by Alice Temperley and Rosie Assoulin, respectively) gathered around them.
Meanwhile, Gavin Creel, a popular winner for best featured actor in a musical (“Hello, Dolly!”), slowly made his way toward the “Disco Dolly” room as a long line of people congratulated him and asked to take selfies.
Besides winning his Tony — “I am wearing new shoes, and all I could think about as I walked up to the stage is that I hope I don’t fall” — he said the highlight of the evening was watching Ms. Midler shout down the orchestra so she could finish her speech: “She’s unbelievable. She was like, ‘No, I am going to finish this.’ There is no one like her.”
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