“I want to thank my dad for his edge and my mother for her sweetness,” said Parker early in the evening, accepting the best direction award with Casey Nicholaw for “Mormon,” which competed for best musical against “Catch Me if You Can,” “Sister Act” and the shuttered “The Scottsboro Boys.” The recognition for the profane and funny sendup of religious dogma continues a recent Tony tradition of anointing scathing musical comedies. “The Producers,” “Avenue Q” and “Monty Python’s Spamalot” are other examples of satirical works that captured the top Tonys.
Although “The Book of Mormon” fell short of the record 12 Tonys collected in 2001 by “The Producers,” it proved to be the evening’s juggernaut, snagging statuettes for original score, book, orchestrations, set design, sound design, lighting, direction and featured actress (Nikki M. James).
Other major awards were divided among some of the season’s other leading productions. Norbert Leo Butz was named best actor in a musical for his performance as the FBI man pursuing a young forger in “Catch Me if You Can.” The versatile Sutton Foster secured her second Tony for best actress in a musical, for her portrayal of Reno Sweeney in the revival of “Anything Goes.”
Best actress in a play went to Frances McDormand, for her turn as a down-on-her-luck single mother in “Good People.” “I’ve played all three of Chekhov’s sisters,” the actress declared, adding that she believes that “one day young actors will grow up” to play her “Good People” part. Mark Rylance was voted best actor in a play for the second time in three years, this time for his tour-de-force performance as a raucous societal outcast in “Jerusalem.”
In the thin category of best revival of a musical — only two shows were nominated — Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” got the nod, as well as the award for best choreography, to director Kathleen Marshall. Best revival of a play was won by “The Normal Heart,” Larry Kramer’s ’80s drama of outrage at the feeble government response to the AIDS epidemic.
“Twenty-six years ago, he lit a fire,” Ellen Barkin, the winner for featured actress in a play for her work as a frustrated doctor in “The Normal Heart,” said of Kramer. “That fire still burns today at the Golden Theatre.”
“War Horse,” a drama by Nick Stafford set during World War I, about an English horse named Joey sent to the front lines in France, has been a runaway hit for Lincoln Center Theater since its opening this spring. In addition to being named best play — an award it received over David Lindsay Abaire’s “Good People,” Stephen Adly Guirgis’s “The [Expletive] With the Hat” and Jez Butterworth’s “Jerusalem” — the work garnered Tonys for its co-directors, Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, as well as technical awards for sets, lighting and sound design.