"The Book of Mormon" wins big early at Tony Awards

Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:46am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Satirical musical "The Book of Mormon" won several early Tony Awards on Sunday in its quest to make history by taking home a record number of Broadway's highest honors.

The show by the creators of the hit TV series, "South Park," won best direction of a musical, best original score, best book and best actress in a featured role in a musical for Nikki M. James at the awards for Broadway's best musicals and plays.

"I want to thank the 'South Park' fans. If it weren't for you guys, we wouldn't be here," co-creator Trey Parker said on stage in accepting the award for best direction with Casey Nicholaw.

The Tony Awards were being handed out at New York's Beacon Theater in a live televised event hosted by actor Neil Patrick Harris, who opened the show with a musical number declaring that Broadway was "not just for gays anymore."

Other early winners included the main performers in a revival of the play, "The Normal Heart," a semi-autobiographical play that focuses on the AIDS crisis and which originally premiered in 1985. It resulted in Ellen Barkin and John Benjamin Hickey winning the awards for best actress and best actor in a featured role in a play.

In accepting her Tony, Barkin, 57, said, "it's the proudest moment in my career. It has transformed me, not just as an actor but as a human being," while Hickey backstage called the revival "extraordinary" that "so many young, gay people and so many young, straight people are coming to see this play."

The British import, "War Horse," adapted by Nick Stafford from the 1982 novel of the same name which uses puppets to tell the story of World War I and a soldier's quest to find his horse and bring him home, won for best direction of a play.

A revival of "Anything Goes" won the award for best choreography, one of its nine nominations, led by best actress nominee Sutton Foster.   Continued...

<p>Actor Andrew Rannells performs a scene from 'Book of Mormon during the American Theatre Wing's 65th annual Tony Awards ceremony in New York, June 12, 2011. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn</p>