Alex Sharp, ‘Curious Incident’ big winner at Tonys
London-born actor Alex Sharp beat out Bradley Cooper and Bill Nighy at Sunday night’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.”
Sharp’s win was part of a huge five-trophy haul for the 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, one of five big trophies it won on the way to making history for its composing team.
“Fun Home,” based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel memoir about growing up with a closeted dad in a funeral home and the first musical to have a lesbian as its main character and nominated for 12 awards, also won for best book, best lead actor in Michael Cerveris and best direction from Sam Gold.
Its songwriters, Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, became the first female writing team to nab a Tony for musical score. But that milestone happened during a commercial break.
Two veteran Broadway stars — Cerveris and Kelli O’Hara of “The King and I” — took lead acting home Tonys, while a young man who just last year graduated from drama school won the Tony for best actor in a play.
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 a revival of 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.”
“This time last year I was picked up my diploma graduating from Julliard, so to be holding this is insane. Thank you so, so much for this,” 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.”
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 was watching Joel Grey, who recently announced he was gay, introducing “Fun Home” with his daughter, Jennifer Grey. She joked that the show was about a “brilliant and complicated father.” Joel Grey acknowledged that was something 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.
A few other non-nominated shows, including like Vanessa Hudgens’ “Gigi” and Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer with “Finding Neverland,” also got spots. The best play nominees were showcased in video clips. The cast of “Jersey Boys” ended the show with “Oh What a Night.”
A total of 37 shows opened during the season and box offices reported a record total gross of US$1.36 billion — up from US$1.27 billion from the previous season.
2. Tommy Tune accepts the Tony lifetime achievement award at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday.
3. Kristin Chenoweth, left, and Alan Cumming perform at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday.
1. Kristin Caskey, center, along with cast and crew accepts the award for best musical for “Fun Home”at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7.