Alex Sharp, ‘Cu­ri­ous In­ci­dent’ big win­ner at Tonys

The China Post - - ARTS LIFE - BY MARK KENNEDY

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.

AP

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.

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