This has been a banner year for black performers on Broadway. African-Americans won many of the major awards during this year’s Tony Awards celebration, with acting grande dame Cicely Tyson winning for Best Actress in a Play after a 30-year break from the Broadway stage.
But, black stars also rocked the red carpet in addition to taking home trophies. Courtney B.Vance, husband of Angela Bassett, won the first Tony of the evening for his Best Featured Actor in a Play performance opposite Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy. He also looked smashing in a fashionable black suit with a straight black tie. Chic choice.
His wife, the ever-elegant Ms. Bassett, wore the color of the night — purple — matching her bold jewelry perfectly with the textured, encrusted bodice of her strapless gown.
Purple was also the hue of choice for Condola Rashad, who co-stared with Tyson in The Trip To Bountiful for the win, and Valisia LeKae, leading lady of the new Mowtown musical who brings the heyday of music legend Diana Ross to life in the show.
Rashad’s Pamella Roland strapless number had a divine train, while LeKae’s Esosa gown was differentiated by a fun, single-shoulder cut accented with flower-like gathers.
Another big winner of the night, Pippin’ star, Patina Miller, took the purple look a little lighter by staying within the same color family, but opting for a less-saturated purplish-blue Zac Posen gown. She looked gorgeous, and perfectly outfitted for accepting her Tony for Best Actress in a Musical.
And leading actor Billy Porter of Kinky Boots, who pulled the Best Actor in a Musical Tony? Subtly purple-red ascot, of course.
But few pulled off purple like Ms. Cicely Tyson. Her dress, featuring an eye-catching, head-to-toe cascade of ruffles adorning the front, was one that only a woman of true grace can pull off. And pull it off she did. At the age of 79, Tyson wore that dress with a fierceness that allowed her to easily shine as brightly as the younger women with whom she shared the spotlight.
Tyson’s custom-made couture gown designed by b michael for his b michael AMERICA Pre-Spring 2014 Couture line created a most glamorous aura for her outstanding career moment.
Another Tyson with an outfit of note would be Mike — Mike Tyson that is. The former boxer made a big splash at the 2013 Tonys through a fun dance number executed with abandon along with show host Neil Patrick Harris during the evening’s opening number. Tyson looked refreshingly distinct in his white jacket, an unusual, but suitable, choice for the ceremony.
Tyson’s one man show, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, recently rapped up its national tour, which included a stint on Broadway.
Who do you think rocked the best Tony Awards red carpet look?
Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter @lexisb.