A lesbian coming-of-age musical and a play about a boy with Asperger’s syndrome shared top honours at the 69th annual Tony awards in New York on 7 June.
Fun Home and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, named best musical and best play respectively, picked up five awards each at the Radio City Music Hall ceremony, where edgy new shows went up against the classics.
Based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel memoir about growing up gay in a funeral parlour, Fun Home’s award haul included best original score and book for Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, best leading actor for Michael Cerveris and best director for Sam Gold.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Simon Stephens’ adaptation of Mark Haddon’s best-selling book, was also recognised for best director (Marianne Elliott), best leading actor in a play (Alex Sharp), best scenic design for Bunny Christie and Finn Ross and best lighting design for Paule Constable.
“We’ve had quite an adventure with this play,” said Elliott about the adaptation of the story of a teenage math whiz with Asperger’s who goes on an incredible journey.
It was a successful night all round for the British with Helen Mirren winning her first Tony for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience, her co-star Richard McCabe named best featured actor, and awards for Skylight, which was named best revival, and Wolf Hall Parts One & Two, recognised for best costume design.
“This is an unbelievable honour. I am so thrilled,” said Mirren as she accepted the award she had been favourite to win. With a Tony, Emmy and an Oscar, she said she now had a Grammy in her sights for recorded material. “I have to do an audio book,” joked the actor.
The musicals An American in Paris and The King and I took four awards each in a three-hour ceremony presented by previous Tony winners Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming, who opened the show with a song medley.
Former presenter and crowd favourite Neil Patrick Harris – who has since moved on to host the Oscars – returned to award Kelli O’Hara her best actress in a musical award for The King and I on her sixth nomination.
Among those nominees who left empty-handed on the night were Bradley Cooper for The Elephant Man, which recently opened in the West End in London, and Carey Mulligan, Elisabeth Moss and Ruth Wilson, all beaten by Mirren in the leading actress in a play category.
Broadway legend Tommy Tune received his 10th Tony, a special lifetime achievement award, during the ceremony, which began with a musical number from Something Rotten! The awards cap a record-breaking season on Broadway in which audience numbers topped 13.1 million and ticket sales rose to $1.36bn.