“Fun Home,” Broadway's first musical with a lesbian protagonist, made history at Sunday's 69th Annual Tony Awards, winning 5 awards including the night’s top prize, best musical, and an award for leading actor Michael Cerveris.
Its composer, Jeanine Tesori, and book writer/lyricist Lisa Kron also made history as the first female writing team to win a Tony for score and book.
It was a big night for six-time nominee Kelli O’Hara too, breaking her long-standing losing streak and taking home her first Tony ever for her role as Anna in the “The King and I.”
"I don't need this," the actress told the audience, "But now that I have it, I've got some things to say." She celebrated by dancing off the Radio City Music Hall stage after her heartwarming acceptance speech.
Lincoln Center’s hit revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic took home a total of four awards, including best revival of a musical. The Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy-lead “Skylight” was named best revival of a play.
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” the stage adaptation of Mark Haddon’s acclaimed book, was named best play. It tied “Fun Home” for a total of five awards, including the top acting prize for Broadway newcomer Alex Sharp, and a best director prize for Marianne Elliott.
That also makes Elliott a history maker, as the first female to win two Tonys for directing. She previously won the Tony for directing 2011’s “War Horse.”
Broadway veterans Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming hosted the evening, reuniting after co-starring in the 1999 TV movie of “Annie.” They kept the evening light, singing and dancing their way through many of the evening's comic moments, including a tribute to Lifetime Achievement winner Tommy Tune.
All of the Tony-nominated shows performed, as did some of the shows not nominated in the top categories this season, including “It Shoulda Been You,” “Gigi” and Harvey Weinstein’s box office smash “Finding Neverland.”
“Something Rotten” opened the awards, performing their smash song “A Musical.” The comedy, about the making of the world’s first musical, went into the evening with 10 nominations but only went home with one award, for featured actor Christian Borle (NBC’s “Smash”).
“An American in Paris,” the stage version of Vincente Minnelli’s hit 1951 film, tied “Fun Home” for most nominations, but ended up with four awards, including choreography and lighting.
Helen Mirren picked up an award for playing Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience.” It’s her second award for playing the role, after winning the Oscar for 2006’s “The Queen.”
Mirren, a four-time Emmy-winner, is now only one award away from the coveted E.G.O.T. “I really want a Grammy,” she told NBC New York, in the Tony Awards press room after her win. “I’ve got to do an audio recording of a book.”
Mirren's co-star in "The Audience," Richard McCabe, was a suprise winner in the featured actor cateogry, which was said to be a wide open race. "The King and I" star Ruthie Ann Miles also suprised with her win in the featured actress cateogry -- a trophy many expected would go to "Fun Home" star Sydney Lucas.
The evening’s most touching moment came during the telecast's In Memoriam segment, where Grammy winner Josh Groban performed Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” alongside more than 175 members of the Broadway community.
Fittingly, that performance also set a Tonys record, for most performers onstage at once.