Tony Awards 2011: ‘Book of Mormon’, ‘War Horse’ take top honors; Neil Patrick Harris impresses as host

June 13, 2011

The 65th annual Tony Awards were held Sunday at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. As expected the irreverent comic musical ‘The Book of Mormon’ raked in the most trophies, nine in total. As Peter Marks reported:

“The Book of Mormon” inscribed its own chapter of Broadway history Sunday night, winning the Tony Award for best musical as well as eight others — a formidable harvest for the irreverent songfest by “South Park’s” Matt Stone and Trey Parker and “Avenue Q’s” Robert Lopez.

“Mormon’s” bounty of nine trophies made it the top Tony-earner at the ceremony for the 65th annual awards, telecast from the Beacon Theatre on New York’s Upper West Side. Alongside “Mormon,” the Tony voters named the British import “War Horse” — a story told with life-size equine puppets — the best new play of the 2010-11 season.

“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.”

Winning the Tony Award for best play was ‘War Horse’ a World War I era play which featured life-size equine puppets. As AP explained:

“War Horse” has won the Tony Award for best play.

A World War I epic from the National Theatre of Great Britain, the play melded human actors with life-size puppets, creating a visually stunning story about a boy and his favorite horse that left grown-ups in tears.

The play, based on a children’s novel by Michael Morpurgo and adapted by Nick Stafford, beat out “Good People,” ‘’Jerusalem” and “The Motherf---- With the Hat” for the top drama honor.

The show is to tour the U.S. starting next summer.

The Handspring Puppet Company, which created the life-size and lifelike cane-and-plywood horse puppets for “War Horse,” had already won a special Tony.

Neil Patrick Harris hosted the Tony Awards for the second time and drew laughs and praise for this ‘host-off' with Hugh Jackman. As Sarah Anne Hughes reported:

Neil Patrick Harris hosted the Tony Awards Sunday night, singing, dancing and charming his way through his second successful hosting gig. Still, the “How I Met Your Mother” star had to defend his abilities to Tony winner and three-time host, Hugh Jackman.

The two Broadway vets attempted to prove they were the superior host by performing some pretty slick dance moves while singing a medley of Broadway tunes from shows including “Gypsy,” Annie Get Your Gun” and “Singin’ in the Rain.”

The Post’s Peter Marks praised Harris, saying “the show was one of the smartest Tony telecasts in memory, moving securely from entertaining if often promotional musical numbers to the host’s winking comic interludes” with this Jackman skit being “a highlight.”

Watch part of the performance below and the complete number here.

More from The Washington Post

AP: Full list of winners for 2011 Tony Awards

Style: Frances McDormand wins Tony as best actress in a play for ‘Good People’

Style: Mark Ryland wins the Tony award, leaves everyone confused

Style: Memorable quotes from the Tony Awards

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