Best Dressed: Tony Awards 2016

I swore we weren’t going to do this – devote yet another post to the 2016 Tony Awards, broadly, or Hamilton, generally – so soon, but the truth is, I’m not over it yet. The awards, the speeches, the performances – it was all too much and days later, I’m still sorting it all out as though it’s something that happened to ME and not just on my TV. So I hope you’ll forgive it, but it’s been four days and we still haven’t talked about outfits yet. I’m not in the mood for worst dressed because everyone looked fantastic, so here are a few of my favorites:

Lupita Nyong’o in Hugo Boss

Remember in the 80s and 90s when ladies would get their “seasons done” and go around telling you that they were a winter or whatever? Maybe I got that from Steel Magnolias or something? In any case, I love when Lupita wears cheerful spring-y, summer-y colors, probably because it goes so well with her overall fresh as a daisy-type look. I would love to get a closer look at this material because it’s sequined but doesn’t look too glitzy.

Phillipa Soo in Prabal Gurung

Over the course of the appearances and awards circuit for Hamilton, Phillipa has hit the nail on the head with everything from casual outfits to more dressed-up looks for interviews to formal gowns. Basically, I’d like her entire closet, thanks. She looks great in brighter blues and reds, too, but this white is absolutely stunning. The pop on the shoes is just the thing when you’re a Tony nominee, but also still in your mid-20s and able to be a little playful with it.

Laura Benanti in Oscar de la Renta

You know what? Maybe I SHOULD be one of those 1980s mall ladies who tells you what season you’re made of (still not sure how it works), because it is all about color with all of these dresses. This purple-magenta shade is beautiful but more than that, it makes Laura’s skin and eyes glow. It also takes the high-necked, lacy gown out of mother of the bride territory and keeps in firmly in the youthful starlet realm.

Sophie Okonedo in Zac Posen

Stop the presses. Or whatever the internet has. Balancing an avante garde cut on the shoulders and cuffs with a large, busy print – WITHOUT the whole look seeming over the top or loud or overpowering? It’s all down to the overall simplicity of the structure here, but it’s still no easy feat.

Lucy Liu in Zuhair Murad

The Tonys are one of the only awards shows firmly in the spring-summer months, and lighter looks like this are just perfect this time of year (sure, I know it’s usually warm weather at the Oscars and Golden Globes, but some colors and fabrics still feel seasonally ‘off’ in the winter). This couldn’t be more perfect for June, and that beading and that color — it’s like what angels would wear if they didn’t have to wear white.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Zuhair Murad

When I was a kid, I had a dance performance where we were instructed to wear a “party dress.” And I was kind of like, okay, what exactly is a party dress?

THIS. This is a damn party dress. It looks like confetti and moonlight.

(I think I just wore, like, an Easter-y dress.)

Cynthia Erivo

You already know that Cynthia can do no wrong in our book. And that we would have loved whatever she wore. But there’s something so amazing about choosing a dress that looks like an actual work of art over something that’s less interesting but more ‘pretty.’ The risk paid off, and she looks incredible.

Adrienne Warren in Alberta Ferretti

Love it. Love that it’s not long, love the beaded fringe, love the little clutch, love the loose hair. The only thing I don’t love: that I can’t afford this dress.

(Honest truth: I have a wedding next week where the theme is ‘1920s Hollywood Glam’ and it turns out nothing I own is particularly 1920s Hollywood Glam, sorry friends, it just isn’t, but this would be perfect.)

Pascale Armand in Delpozo

I love that this subverts the whole chiffon skirt/ satin-y bodice thing we’re so used to, and the colors and embroidery are to die for. We can add Pascale to the very short list of people who look wonderful in dark purple-y lipstick.

Renee Elise Goldsberry

It looks like Renee picked a different dress for the red carpet, but this is the gown that she decided to win in, and that’s exactly what it is: a gown to win in. The yellow and black combo is unexpected and very pretty and possibly a subtle nod to Broadway playbills? But probably not.

Daveed Diggs

I have no clue what’s going on but I like it?

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Cynthia Erivo

Happy June, friends! I’m following up Motivation Monday with another installment of Woman Crush Wednesday, and this one goes to the fabulous Cynthia Erivo, who has become a breakout star in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple. So much so that she’s earned her first Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical (and won a couple awards for it too). What that means is that you should probably be paying attention to her. She’s out of this world. And here are just a few reasons why:

The Color Purple

Let’s start with her current job, shall we? Cynthia plays Celie, the main character of The Color Purple (played by Whoopi Goldberg in the movie). If you’ve never seen the musical, just know it’s V emotional, and Cynthia recently performed one of the most heart-wrenching numbers in the show called I’m Here on Stephen Colbert. You should probably grab some tissues before clicking play on this one.

RIP Prince

Cynthia is part of an amazing cast which includes Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black) and Jennifer Hudson (who’s since left), so when the holy trinity and the rest of the stellar cast took the stage the night Prince died, it was only fitting for a show titled The Color Purple sing Purple Rain in the best way they knew how. Take ’em to church, fam.

JHud’s Successor

Speaking of Jennifer Hudson… I don’t think you’re allowed to become a Broadway diva or true belter if you don’t sing your own version of And I Am Telling You from Dreamgirls. This was pre-The Color Purple on Broadway (Cynthia played Celie in the 2013 production of the show), but months later, she was sharing the stage with the same woman who won an Oscar for this role in the movie. And now they’re besties (just watch this tribute song to Jennifer for her last show). It’s cute. This video, however – is fierce.

Following in Whoopi’s Footsteps

Although she’s been an actress/singer for years, her big break didn’t come until 2011, when she played Delores VanCartier/Sister Mary Clarence in the UK tour of the Sister Act musical. If you’re thinking a Sister Act musical would be no bueno, I assure you it’s more entertaining than you think, and the score is delightfully delightful. Just like the movie, Delores is the main character of the story, and in the musical, her songs are infused with a lot of gospel-tinged tracks. Like this finale number which looks ridic out of context but is better in the show itself. Cynthia werks those runs like no one’s business.

She’s Superwoman, It’s Fine

If you go through Cynthia’s Instagram, the ratio of gym to regular pix is like 4 to 1. It’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s #goals. Woman is not messing around. Her tickets to the gun show sell out faster than to The Color Purple. She recently ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon. And then went off for a two show day. SHE RAN 12.1 MILES THEN SANG AND DANCED AND ACTED FOR TWO SHOWS WHAT EVEN. I can’t even run a single mile then be expected to work at a desk for the rest of the day my GOD.

She’ll Out Sing You At A Bar

Just once I’d like to be in a bar where Cynthia Erivo decides to randomly belt out a tune in front of all the people. Here she is singing a song from one of my favorite shows, The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown. JRB’s music isn’t the easiest to sing, but she makes it seem like she’s effortlessly belting the ABCs or something. For you JRB-heads out there, Cynthia was also in another one of his shows, Songs for a New World, along with her boyfriend Dean John-Wilson (who is legit Aladdin. in London).

She Slays

If you weren’t left impressed with the Jason Robert Brown, maybe a Beyonce cover will help? We all know Beyonce kills her vocals, and there are millions of people on YouTube who try to do as well as her. But when Cynthia does it, she makes me believe the song was meant for her (no disrespect to my queen B). But simply put, Cynthia slays.