NEW YORK (Reuters) - Helen Mirren won her first Tony on Sunday for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience,” and the lesbian-coming of age storey “Fun Home” nabbed the top acting prize for Michael Cerveris and best musical at the 69th Tony Awards.
British import “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” about a teenage math wizard with Asperger Syndrome who goes on an incredible journey, won five awards, including best play, director and actor for its star, recent Juilliard School graduate Alex Sharp.
Mirren described her win as “an incredible honour.”
With a Tony, Broadway’s highest honour, an Emmy and an Oscar, she said she would love to win a Grammy, which are for recorded material. “I have to do an audio book,” she joked.
Sharp, in his Broadway debut, surpassed Hollywood star Bradley Cooper and veteran actor Bill Nighy for the best actor accolade.
“Oh my God, oh my God. It’s so crazy,” said a surprised Sharp, who dedicated his award to young people who feel misunderstood or different.
“I feel like I won this award for my character, Christopher, and for people like Christopher,” he said backstage.
Cerveris took home best actor in a musical, his second Tony, for playing the closeted homosexual father in “Fun Home,” which also earned Tonys for best director for Sam Gold, as well as best book and best score.
“I am fortunate to be standing here. You all deserve to be,” he said to his fellow nominees. “Our show is about home and finding who you are.”
After six nominations, Kelli O‘Hara took home her first Tony for best actress in a musical as the governess in “The King and I.”
“You would think that I would have written down something by now but I haven‘t,” a jubilant O‘Hara said, thanking her husband and parents.
“I going to do the worm,” she said as she began to dance.
Past winners Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming co-hosted the ceremony, which was broadcast live on CBS television and featured songs from top musicals.
The three-hour show capped a record-breaking season on Broadway in which audience numbers topped 13.1 million and ticket grosses rose to $1.36 billion.
“Skylight” won best revival of a play and “The King and I” took best revival of a musical.
Ruthie Ann Miles, who won the best featured actress in a musical Tony, consulted her cell phone on stage as she accepted the honour.
Mirren’s co-star Richard McCabe picked up the best featured actor prize in a play.
A tearful, flustered Annaleigh Ashford was named best featured actress in a play for her role as the zany ballet-dancing daughter in an eccentric American family in “You Can’t Take it With You.”
Christian Borle won his second Tony for best featured actor in a musical, for “Something Rotten!”
“This feels like an embarrassment of riches,” said Borle about his portrayal of William Shakespeare as a rock star in the bawdy parody of Broadway musicals set in 1590s Tudor England.
The Tony Awards are presented by theatre industry association The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, a not-for-profit organisation.
Additonal reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Leslie Adler and Nick Zieminski