“Matilda the Musical” won four awards, and three other shows — “Pippin,” ‘’Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “The Nance” — shared three awards each.
Lauper, who wrote and sang the 1980s hit “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” was among the impressive women who took top honors: Diane Paulus and Pam MacKinnon both won for directing — a rare time that women have won directing Tonys for both a musical and a play in the same year. (The most recent previous time was in 1998.)
“Kinky Boots” also won for choreography and two technical awards, and the show’s Billy Porter won for leading man in a musical.
Paulus won her first Tony for directing “Pippin,” which also earned the best revival honor and helped Patina Miller earn a trophy as best leading actress. MacKinnon won for directing “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Her revival of Edward Albee’s story of marital strife won the best play revival and earned Tracy Letts his first acting Tony — an upset over Tom Hanks. Courtney B. Vance won for best featured actor in a play for portraying a newspaper editor opposite Hanks in Nora Ephron’s “Lucky Guy.”
Judith Light won her second featured actress in a play Tony in two years, cementing the former TV star as a Broadway star. Gabriel Ebert of “Matilda the Musical” won as best featured actor in a musical.
Andrea Martin, 66, who plays Pippin’s grandmother in a stunt-heavy role, won as featured actress in a musical.
Cicely Tyson, 88, won the honors for best leading actress in a play for the revival of “The Trip to Bountiful,” the show’s only award on the night. It was the actress’ first time back on Broadway in three decades. “ ‘Please wrap it up,’ it says. Well, that’s exactly what you did with me: You wrapped me up in your arms after 30 years,” she said.
The Tonys were broadcast live by CBS from Radio City Music Hall. Neil Patrick Harris was back for his fourth turn as emcee and led a show featuring talented children and pulse-pounding musical numbers. Some of the telecast highlights included the stunning kids on Broadway — the orphans in “Annie,” the actor Raymond Luke Jr. as a pre-teen Michael Jackson in “Motown the Musical,” and the dancing tots in “A Christmas Story, the Musical” — especially the young tap dancer wizard Luke Spring — plus the four young women in “Matilda.”
Presenters included Jesse Eisenberg, Jon Cryer, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anna Kendrick, Zachary Quinto, Sally Field, Audra McDonald, Alan Cumming and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
The winners were picked by 868 Tony voters, including members of the Broadway League, the American Theatre Wing, Actors’ Equity, the Dramatists Guild, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and the New York Drama Critics Circle.
— Associated Press