"Memphis," "Red" win at Tony Awards

Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:30am EDT
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By Christine Kearney and Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Memphis," a romp that discovers the roots of rock'n'roll and "Red," a play about artist Mark Rothko, took American theater's top honors at the Tony Awards held on Sunday.

"Memphis" an original musical loosely based on Memphis disc jockey Dewey Phillips that features a rock, soul and gospel score, won best musical at the star-studded ceremony held at Radio City Music Hall that featured many Hollywood stars winning the stage's most prestigious honors.

"Red," a production that stars British actor Alfred Molina as an intense, frustrated Rothko, won best play and won a total of six awards, the highest of the night.

But Hollywood star Denzel Washington beat Molina to win best actor in a play for his role in a revival of the August Wilson play "Fences."

"My mother always says, man gives the award, God gives the reward. I guess I got both tonight," Washington, 55, said in his acceptance speech in his first Tony Award after winning praise in a host of films.

Viola Davis won best actress for "Fences" for her role opposite Washington playing a long married couple. "Fences" also won for best play revival after it originally won best new play in 1987.

"La Cage aux Folles," won the award for best musical revival while British actor Douglas Hodge who starred opposite Kelsey Grammer in the production that was transferred from London won the best performance by a leading actor in a musical.

'MOMENT OF MY LIFETIME'   Continued...

<p>Denzel Washington (L), winner of the award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play for his work in "Fences,", Viola Davis, winner of the Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play award for her work, also in "Fences," Catherine Zeta-Jones (2nd R), winner for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for "A Little Night Music" and Douglas Hodge, winner for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical, pose at the American Theatre Wing's 64th annual Tony Awards ceremony in New York June 13, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>