'Once' crowned best musical at the Tony Awards
Cristin Milioti, left, and Steve Kazee perform in a scene from "Once" at the 66th Annual Tony Awards on Sunday June 10, 2012, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes /Invision/AP)
NEW YORK (AP) — The bittersweet musical "Once" captured the hearts of Tony Award voters on Sunday night, winning eight trophies and earning bragging rights as the top musical on Broadway, even as most shows came away with at least something to crow about.
"It's just amazing," said Cristin Milioti, the female lead in "Once," of her show's Tony haul, as she made a quick trip through the elaborate food stations at the gala post-Tony party at the Plaza Hotel.
Bruce Norris' "Clybourne Park," the remarkably perceptive Pulitzer Prize-winning play about race and real estate, won the best play Tony.
Audra McDonald was named best lead actress in a musical and her "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" was named best musical revival. This is her fifth Tony Award, tying the competitive record held by Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris.
"I was a little girl with a potbelly and afro puffs, hyperactive and overdramatic. And I found the theater, and I found my home," McDonald said. Looking down at her daughter from the stage, she said her big night wasn't as wonderful as the night her daughter was born.
Her one-time co-star in "110 in the Shade," Steve Kazee, a 36-year-old rising star and guitar player with matinee idol looks, emerged as best actor in a musical, and broke down thinking of his mother, who died Easter Sunday.
James Corden holds his award for "One Man, Two Guvnors" at the 66th Annual Tony Awards on Sunday June 10, 2012, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini /Invision/AP)
Another new star, Nina Arianda, won best leading actress in a play, beating stiff competition from Tracie Bennett, Stockard Channing, Linda Lavin and Cynthia Nixon.
Accepting the award from presenter Christopher Plummer, Arianda admitted something very personal to the 82-year-old Plummer: "You were my first crush!" she squealed.
In perhaps the biggest shock of the night, James Corden nabbed the lead acting Tony Award in a play for his clownish turn in the British import "One Man, Two Guvnors." He beat out the favorite, Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Death of a Salesman."
Corden directed most of his comment to his girlfriend, Julia, who gave birth to his son a year ago and whom he intends to marry soon.
"I would not be holding this if it wasn't for her. She made me say 'us' instead of 'I' and 'we' instead of 'me' and I love her," he said.
Arthur Miller's 63-year-old masterpiece "Death of a Salesman" won the Tony for best play revival and Mike Nichols won his ninth Tony for directing it. He said the play has a special meaning for those who work in show biz.