NEW YORK – The dazzling show "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" has won the best play Tony Award, while "An American in Paris" and "Fun Home" were each leading the race Sunday night for most-decorated musical.
The London import "Curious Incident" is based on an adaptation of Mark Haddon's best-selling novel about a teenager with Asperger's syndrome who tries to find a dog's killer. It is directed by Marianne Elliott, who also won the best directing Tony.
"An American in Paris" had four technical awards, while "Fun Home" won for best score, book and direction. Its songwriters Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron became the first female writing team to nab a Tony for musical score.
Helen Mirren won her first Tony for playing a sly and polished Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan's "The Audience." She already won an Oscar for played the monarch in the movie "The Queen."
Co-hosts Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming opened the show with a low-key medley of jokes and songs that displayed their playful, daffy chemistry. Their costume quick-changes included Cumming in a hoop skirt and Chenoweth as E.T.
One of the show's highlights was watching Joel Grey, who recently announced he was gay, introducing "Fun Home" with his daughter, Jennifer Grey. She joked that the show was about a "brilliant and complicated father." Joel Grey acknowledged that was something his daughter "knew something about."
The telecast on CBS at Radio City Music Hall featured appearances by Jennifer Lopez, Sting, Jim Parsons, Amanda Seyfried, Kiefer Sutherland, Bryan Cranston, Sutton Foster, Jennifer Nettles, Taye Diggs and Ashley Tisdale, among many others.
Two Broadway favorites — Annaleigh Ashford and Christian Borle — won for best featured roles. He plays a sexy William Shakespeare in "Something Rotten!" and she played an incompetent ballet dancer in "You Can't Take It With You." It was her first and his second.
"I can't believe I am standing here right now for the worst dancing that ever happened on Broadway," Ashford said.
Ruthie Ann Miles won in her Broadway debut as best featured actress in a musical for "The King and I." She read her speech off her phone and thanked her husband, among many others. "Thank you for agreeing to come on this crazy ride. Where are you? There you are. There's a lot of people here."
Before the telecast, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" won for best lighting design of a play, while "An American in Paris" won the best lighting award for a musical. Tommy Tune also accepted a special Tony with a high-kick step.
Josh Groban will lead a moving "In Memoriam" section when he sings "You'll Never Walk Alone" from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Carousel," backed by the casts of all the shows appearing on the telecast, some 175 people.
For the record, there will be 11 musical performances and 24 competitive Tonys will be handed out. The best play nominees will be showcased in video clips.
The nominated musicals "On the Twentieth Century," ''Something Rotten!" ''The Visit," ''The King and I," ''On the Town," ''Fun Home" and "An American in Paris" will have songs performed. A few other non-nominated shows, including like Vanessa Hudgens' "Gigi" and Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer with "Finding Neverland," also will get spots. The cast of "Jersey Boys" will end the show with "Oh What a Night."
Producers are hoping to beat last year's average of 7.02 million viewers. But as happened last year, the Tonys will have to compete against Game 2 of the NBA Finals, which starts at the same time.
A total of 37 shows opened during the season and box offices reported a record total gross of $1.36 billion — up from $1.27 billion from the previous season.