Alex Sharp and ‘Curious Incident’ big winners at Tonys

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NEW YORK (AP) London-born actor Alex Sharp beat out Bradley cooper and Bill Nighy at Sunday s Tony Awards to win best lead actor in a play for his role in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” which also won for best play.

The British had a big night at the annual Broadway awards, with “Skylight” winning for best revival, and Helen Mirren nabbing her first Tony for playing Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan s “The Audience.” She already won an Oscar for playing the monarch in the movie “The Queen.”

“This time last year I was picked up my diploma graduating from Julliard, so to be holding this is insane,” he said. “I just want to dedicate this to any young person out there who feels misunderstood or who feels different and answer that question at the end of the play for you: Does that mean I can do anything? Yes it does.”

Sharp s win was part of a huge five-trophy haul for “The Curious Incident,” an adaptation of Mark Haddon s best-selling novel. It also won best lighting, scenic design and earned its director Marianne Elliott a Tony, too.

The poignant and groundbreaking coming-of-age show “Fun Home” was named best musical at the Tony Awards on Sunday, one of five trophies.

“Fun Home,” based on Alison Bechdel s graphic novel about growing up with a closeted dad in a funeral home and the first musical to have a lesbian as its main character, won for best book, best lead actor in Michael Cerveris and best direction from Sam Gold. It came into the night with 12 nominations and left with the top trophies.

Cerveris won his second Tony for playing the closeted and suicidal father at the heart of “Fun Home” while O Hara got her first Tony after six nominations, winning for her role as the English school teacher in the classic musical “The King and I.”

Songwriters Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron became the first female writing team to nab a Tony for musical score for “Fun Home.” But that milestone happened during a commercial break and viewers never saw it.

Two veteran Broadway stars
Cerveris and Kelli O Hara of “The King and I”
took home lead acting Tonys.

“An American in Paris,” which had a co-leading 12 nominations, won four technical awards, including best scenic design and one for Christopher Wheeldon for best choreographer.

Co-hosts Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming infused the show with a low-key medley of jokes and songs that displayed their playful, daffy chemistry. Their costume quick-changes included Cumming in a hoop skirt and Chenoweth as E.T., her co-host cracking, “I said  Fun Home. ”

One of the show s highlights came as Joel Grey, who recently announced he was gay, introduced “Fun Home” with his daughter, Jennifer Grey, who joked that the show was about a “brilliant and complicated father.” Joel Grey acknowledged that the topic was one his daughter “knew something about.”

The telecast on CBS at Radio City Music Hall featured appearances by Jennifer Lopez, Sting, Jim Parsons, Amanda Seyfried, Kiefer Sutherland, Bryan Cranston, Sutton Foster, Jennifer Nettles, Taye Diggs and Ashley Tisdale, among many others. Some non-theater celebrities including Kendall Jenner, Monica Lewinsky and Anna Wintour were also in the audience.
Two Broadway favorites Annaleigh Ashford and Christian Borle won for best featured roles. He plays a sexy William Shakespeare in “Something Rotten!” and she played an incompetent ballet dancer in “You Can t Take It With You.” It was her first and his second awards.

“I can t believe I am standing here right now for the worst dancing that ever happened on Broadway,” Ashford said.

“The King and I” was crowned the best musical revival and it won for best actress in O Hara and best musical costumes. One of its stars, Ruthie Ann Miles, won in her Broadway debut as best featured actress in a musical.

Josh Groban led a moving “In Memoriam” section when he sang “You ll Never Walk Alone” from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Carousel,” backed by the casts of all the shows appearing on the telecast.

The nominated musicals “On the Twentieth Century,”   Something Rotten!”   The Visit,”   The King and I,”   On the Town,”   Fun Home” and “An American in Paris” had songs performed.

A few other non-nominated shows, including like Vanessa Hudgens  “Gigi” and Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer with “Finding Neverland,” also got spots. The cast of “Jersey Boys” ended the show with “Oh What a Night.”

Producers are hoping to beat last year s average of 7.02 million viewers. But as happened last year, the Tonys competed against Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

2015-06-08

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