Oslo triumphed on Sunday night at the Tonys, winning Best Play, and when I asked its author, J.T. Rogers, for comment, he hesitated for a moment. “Talked out?” I asked. “Yes, I may possibly be talked out.” If so, I can understand. Throughout the six weeks of Tony Awards season – the post-announcement hoopla, the round of endless luncheons and other awards shows, the non-stop interviews – Rogers had been a tireless and eloquent advocate for the play, its theme of peacemaking, its director (Bartlett Sher), its cast, and Lincoln Center Theater, which produced it. So if he, momentarily, was verbally spent, who could blame him?
At the Oslo party at P.J. Clarke’s, where LCT cast, crew, and friends watched the broadcast and where those who attended the awards, at Radio City Music Hall, alighted after 11 p.m., Rogers had initially been more voluble. Taking a page from the character played by Michael Aronov (who – hooray! – won the broadcast’s first award, for best Featured Actor in a Play), he jumped up on a chair, and toasted the assembled. It was joyful, rousing. People cheered.
I waited around at P.J. Clarke’s, hoping to talk to Aronov, but he was wending his way through more official parties before arriving, with his family, late at the Oslo fest. As I was exiting the party, I glimpsed Kevin Spacey, the broadcast’s host, entering the Dear Evan Hansen bash next door. He had done an impression of Bill Clinton at the awards, and I kept wondering, as I have since the first day of Oslo rehearsal, more than a year ago, what Clinton, would make of the play. Clinton presided over the handshake that sealed the Oslo Accords deal. In terms of the process, his participation was largely symbolic. Unlike that of Rogers, who presided happily over the Oslo party, in ways both symbolic and real.
Brendan Lemon is the editor of lemonwade.com.