Irish love story "Once" wins eight Tony Awards

Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:10am EDT
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By Christine Kearney and Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The fairytale success of beloved indie Irish love story "Once" ballooned on Sunday when it scooped Broadway's highest honors, the Tony Awards, including a win for best musical.

The Broadway musical adaptation of the 2006 independent film "Once" that went all the way to the Oscars swept the Tonys with a total of eight wins, including best actor in a musical and best direction for John Tiffany.

"'Once' is a story about when people believe in each other, they can move on in life, and so many people have believed in this project," Tiffany said in accepting his first Tony.

Best actor Steve Kazee fought back tears as he thanked fellow cast members, including his leading lady Cristin Milioti. He said that after his mother died early on in the run of performances, they "carried me around and made me feel alive and I will never be able to fully repay them."

"Clybourne Park," a satire on race relations, won best play, with playwright Bruce Norris, thanking theaters around the world that have staged the play since it premiered more than two years ago off-Broadway and won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Brit James Corden upset favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman to win best actor in a play for his comic turn in the London transplant spoof, "One Man, Two Guvnors," with the comedian giving the advice later backstage to ignore people who will "tell you you're too short or too big or too funny looking."

Broadway's newest young star, Nina Arianda, just a few years out of studying acting at New York University, won best actress in a play for her sexy performance in "Venus In Fur" and said backstage the win was in every sense a dream come true.

Esteemed film and stage director Mike Nichols was a winner for his direction of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," which featured Hoffman. Nichols has won a record-setting six Tony Awards for best direction of a play. He also has been honored twice as a producer.   Continued...

Nina Arianda (L) and Steve Kazee pose backstage with their awards during the American Theatre Wing's 66th annual Tony Awards in New York June 10, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Burton