A fem­i­nine fo­rum

‘Fun Home’ pro­vides a break­through win; a direc­tor and actress have spe­cial mo­ments.

Los Angeles Times - - CALENDAR - By Saba Hamedy saba.hamedy@la­times.com

Women step for­ward in sev­eral key cat­e­gories; plus, a list of the evening’s win­ners.

Although Jea­nine Te­sori’s grand­fa­ther was a com­poser, she didn’t re­al­ize writ­ing mu­sic could be a ca­reer for women un­til she saw Linda Twine con­duct “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Mu­sic” in 1981.

Fast-for­ward 34 years to the 2015 Tony Awards, where Te­sori and Lisa Kron made his­tory for be­com­ing the first fe­male writ­ing team to win a Tony for mu­si­cal score.

The award was just one of a hand­ful of sig­nif­i­cant mo- ments for women at this year’s Tonys, where di­ver­sity was a topic both in jokes and in speeches from pre­sen­ters and award re­cip­i­ents.

Te­sori and Kron took home the award for their work on the Tony-win­ning mu­si­cal “Fun Home,” based on a 2006 graphic com­ing-of-age mem­oir by well-known les­bian car­toon­ist Alison Bechdel. The story line con­cerns an ec­cen­tric fam­ily that runs a fu­neral home in a small Penn­syl­va­nia town.

In their ac­cep­tance speech, most of which took place dur­ing a com­mer­cial break, the song­writ­ers noted the slow pace of change for women on Broad­way.

“It’s sta­tis­ti­cally 10% bet­ter” than it used to be, Kron joked. “It’s un­ac­cept­ably low, but it seems that per­haps we’re mak­ing some progress.”

Mean­while, Te­sori high­lighted the im­por­tance of “Ring of Keys,” a song about sex­ual dis­cov­ery in “Fun Home” per­formed by actress Syd­ney Lu­cas on the tele­cast.

It’s “not a song of love, it’s a song of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion,” she said. “Be­cause for girls, you have to see it to be it. I’m so proud to be stand­ing here with Lisa Kron. We stand on the shoul­ders of other women who stand be­fore us.”

Twit­ter erupted with praise for the duo, for what some de­scribed as “shat­ter­ing the glass ceil­ing at the Tonys.” But the award wasn’t the only one that was no­table for its fe­male win­ner.

Kron also won the Tony for best book for a mu­si­cal for “Fun Home,” and Mar­i­anne El­liott picked up the direc­tor of a play award for “The Cu­ri­ous In­ci­dent of the Dog in the Night-time.” Paule Constable won for light­ing de­sign of a play for “The Cu­ri­ous In­ci­dent,” and Natasha Katz took the tro­phy for light­ing de­sign of a mu­si­cal for “An Amer­i­can in Paris.”

Ruthie Ann Miles, who won a Tony as a fea­tured actress in “The King and I,” ig­nited chat­ter on so­cial me­dia, rang­ing from comedic images of her read­ing her ac­cep­tance speech from an iPhone to praise for a non­white woman tak­ing home a stat­uette.

One per­son wrote via Twit­ter: “Young Asian Amer­i­can faces will see @RuthieAn­nMiles win a Tony tonight and know that their dreams are pos­si­ble! CON­GRATS!!! @TheTonyAwards.”

An­other Twit­ter user quipped, “I am lov­ing how so many women are win­ning Tonys tonight. Take note, @theA­cademy.”

Pho­tog raphs by Charles Sykes invision / As­so­ci­ated Press

“CU­RI­OUS In­ci­dent” direc­tor Mar­i­anne El­liott’s work was hon­ored.

“THE KING and I” actress Ruthie Ann Miles set off so­cial-me­dia buzz.

“FUN HOME” pro­vided Lisa Kron with Tonys for score and book.

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