NEW YORK — The poignant and groundbreaking coming-of-age show “Fun Home” was named best musical at the Tony Awards on Sunday, one of five big trophies it won on the way to making history for its composing team.
It tied for the winningest show on Broadway this season with the British import “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” which also won five awards, including best play. The sumptuous revival of “The King and I” also had reason to whistle a happy tune, with four awards including best revival.
“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.
The musical based on the 1951 film with Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron had its official New York opening two months ago, and in the audience was Proctors CEO Philip Morris and a half-dozen or so other Capital Region theater fans who are all involved in producing the show.
Proctors is involved in the show as a producer in two different ways. The downtown Schenectady theater is a member of Elephant Eye, a consortium of theaters around the country that invest in shows, and Proctors is also part of the Independent Presenters Network, a smaller but similar group. Along with those two connections, Morris’ enthusiasm for the new musical created another independent group of supporters for the new work created by director/choreographer Wheeldon.
A Tony Awards viewing party was held Sunday night at Proctors.
The melody Sunday night was sadder for “Something Rotten!,” which came into the night with 10 nominations but left with only one award, the same number that both “Wolf Hall” plays took home. “Hand to God,” with five nominations, saw no divine love and Chita Rivera’s return to Broadway in “The Visit” was given the cold shoulder.
London-born actor Alex Sharp won best lead actor in a play for “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” beating out stars Bradley Cooper and Bill Nighy.
“This time last year I 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.”
The adaptation of Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel also won best play, lighting, scenic design and earned its director Marianne Elliott a Tony, too, with a total of six nominations going into the evening.
“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.”
“I love what I do and I don’t need this but now that I have it I’ve some things to say,” she said. “My parents who are sitting next to me for the sixth time, you don’t have to pretend it’s OK this time.”
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.
The British had a big night, 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.”
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.”
Partial list of winners
NEW YORK (AP) — Select winners for the 2015 American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards:
Best Musical: “Fun Home”
Best Play: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”
Best Book of a Musical: “Fun Home”
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater: “Fun Home”
Best Revival of a Play: “Skylight”
Best Revival of a Musical: “The King and I”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Alex Sharp, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play: Helen Mirren, “The Audience”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Michael Cerveris, “Fun Home”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Kelli O’Hara, “The King and I”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: Richard McCabe, “The Audience”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play: Annaleigh Ashford, “You Can’t Take It With You”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: Christian Borle, “Something Rotten!”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: Ruthie Ann Miles, “The King and I”
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