'Fun Home,' 'Curious Incident' Take Home Top Tony Honors

Jun 8, 2015
Originally published on June 15, 2015 5:11 pm
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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Broadway has been having a boom. The past year has brought record attendance and the best ticket sales ever. That provided a nice backdrop for the Tony Awards last night. Reporter Jeff Lunden brings us all the big winners.

JEFF LUNDEN, BYLINE: A chamber musical about a lesbian's coming out and a play about an autistic teenager were the big winners of the night. Best musical went to "Fun Home," based on cartoonist Alison Bechdel's memoir.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSICAL, "FUN HOME")

BETH MALONE: (As Alison) Caption - my dad and I grow both grew up in the same small Pennsylvania town.

MICHAEL CERVERIS: (As Bruce) Well...

MALONE: (As Alison) And I didn't know it, but both of us were gay.

CERVERIS: (As Bruce) Where's your barrette?

MALONE: (As Alison) And we were exactly alike.

CERVERIS: (As Bruce) Put it back in - keeps the hair out of your eyes.

SYDNEY LUCAS: (As Small Alison) So would a crew cut.

MALONE: (As Alison) And we were nothing alike.

LUNDEN: The show won five awards in all and made a bit of Broadway history when lyricist Lisa Kron and composer Jeanine Tesori won for Best Score - the first time an all-female songwriting team took home the award.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JEANINE TESORI: I didn't realize that a career in music was available to women until 1981. I saw the magnificent Linda Twine conduct "A Lady And Her Music: Lena Horne."

(APPLAUSE)

LUNDEN: The night's other big winner was in the Best Play category. "The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time" won five awards as well. Simon Stephens adapted Mark Haddon's best-selling novel. It puts the audience into the mind of a bright but emotionally challenged teenager. Here, his teacher reads from the boy's journal.

(SOUNDBITE OF PLAY, "THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME")

FRANCESCA FARIDANY: (As Sibohan) To be a good astronaut, you have to be intelligent, and I'm intelligent. You also have to understand how machines work, and I'm good at understanding how machines work.

ALEX SHARP: (As Christopher) You also have to be someone who would like being on their own in a tiny spacecraft thousands and thousands of miles from the surface of the earth.

LUNDEN: That's Alex Sharp, who plays the boy. He made his professional debut in "The Curious Incident" and won the Tony award for Best Actor in a Play, beating out such well-known veterans as Bradley Cooper and Bill Nighy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SHARP: At this time last year, I picked up my diploma, graduating from Juilliard. So to be holding this is insane.

(APPLAUSE)

SHARP: Thank you so, so much.

LUNDEN: David Hare's play "Skylight" and Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical "The King And I" won in the revival categories.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSICAL, "THE KING AND I")

O'HARA: (As Anna Leonowens, singing) Getting to know you, getting to know all about you. Getting to like you, getting to help you like me.

LUNDEN: Kelli O'Hara, who plays Anna in that revival, won the award for Best Actress in a Musical. It was her sixth nomination but her first win.

O'HARA: Thank you with all of my heart. I'm going to take a deep breath, and I - you'd think that I would've written something down by now, but I haven't.

(LAUGHTER)

LUNDEN: Other winners included Dame Helen Mirren, who collected her first Tony, playing Queen Elizabeth II in "The Audience." She also won an Oscar in 2006 playing the Queen.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Your majesty, you did it again.

DAME HELEN MIRREN: Thank you so much.

LUNDEN: And choreographer Christopher Wheeldon for his new ballets in dances in "An American In Paris."

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LUNDEN: For NPR News, I'm Jeff Lunden in New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.