"Fun Home," the upstart, edgy, coming-of-age musical about a lesbian graphic artist, her suicidal dad and life in a family-run funeral home -- not exactly standard subject matter for a musical -- won top honors at Sunday night's 69th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall. The show took five awards (including best musical, Michael Cerveris' win for best actor in a musical, score, book and direction).
Simon Stephens' "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," based on the popular novel about a teen struggling with autism, won best play; David Hare's "Skylight" won best revival of a play. The Rodgers & Hammerstein classic "The King and I" won best musical revival, with its star, Kelli O'Hara, named best actress in a musical.
"What a massive, massive honor," said Helen Mirren, who won a Tony Award -- her first -- for her acclaimed performance as Queen Elizabeth II in "The Audience." It was the first award of the night. "Baby, this is for you -- and you know why," she said to her husband, director Taylor Hackford, adding, "That's nothing rude, incidentally." Oh, the Brits.
Annaleigh Ashford, who played Essie, the hilarious, ballet-obsessed (but just plain awful) dancer in "You Can't Take It With You," was less discreet. "Thank you to every friend I've ever had, every teacher I've ever had, and every person I've ever met!" she cried, after winning best featured actress in a play.
Co-hosted by Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth, the awards celebrate the best of the 37 new plays, musicals and revivals that opened on Broadway during the 2014-2015 season. The evening made history early on when "Fun Home's" Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron won the trophy for best score, the first all-female team to do so.
Thirteen nominees made their Broadway debuts this year, including Alex Sharp, who won best actor in a play for his full-throttle performance in "Curious Incident."
"This is so crazy," he said. "This time last year I picked up my diploma graduating from Juilliard." He dedicated his award to "any young person out there who feels misunderstood. Does that mean I can do anything?" he implored them to ask. "Yes, yes it does."
QUICK CHANGE: O'Hara, star of "The King and I," should win an award for fastest change on live TV, switching in the midst of her show's production number from one 1860s-era gown to the lavish, lavender petticoated gown for the celebrated "Shall We Dance" dance number with co-star Ken Watanabe.
QUIRK CHANGE: Cumming showed up onstage after the commercial break in a scarily similar dress, with enough petticoats to conceal . . . Chenoweth, who popped out from underneath his skirts dressed as the King of Siam.
LUCKY TO BE HIM: Singing "Lucky to Be Me," triple threat Tony Yazbeck (he sings, dances and acts well enough to grab a Tony nom) sang his way through the audience in the "On the Town" production number, giving flowers to Anna Wintour, then grabbing Chita Rivera from the front row for a quick dance.
GREEN SCREEN: "Please recycle," said Ruthie Ann Miles, who won best featured actress in a musical (for "The King and I"), and read her thank-you speech off her iPhone.
LOCAL BOY DOES GOOD: The legendary composer (and Roslyn Heights native) Stephen Schwartz, who created "Pippin," "Godspell" and "Wicked," among others, has ironically never won a Tony -- till Sunday night, when he earned a special Isabelle Stevenson award for his humanitarian efforts.
REMEMBERING TO REMEMBER: Last year's Tony Awards generated lots of flak after they cut the "In Memoriam" sequence when the show ran late. This time they pulled out all the stops, with Josh Groban singing "You'll Never Walk Alone," backed up by the casts of all the nominated musicals.