Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tonys crown a new queen

NEW YORK — A veteran and a newbie made history Sunday at the Tony Awards.

Audra McDonald became the show's most decorated actress, while Bryan Cranston won a best actor trophy for his Broadway debut.

McDonald won her sixth Tony for portraying Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, putting her ahead of five-time winners Angela Lansbury and the late Julie Harris for the most competitive wins by an actress.

The latest win — for best lead actress in a play — also makes McDonald the first grand-slam performance winner. She previously won as best featured actress in a play (A Raisin in the Sun and Master Class), best lead actress in a musical (The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess) and best featured actress in a musical (Ragtime and Carousel).

Cranston won the best lead actor in a play Tony for playing former President Lyndon B. Johnson in Robert Schenkkan's All the Way, which also was crowned best play.

Hugh Jackman, back as host after nine years, kicked off the show with a bounce, hopping up and down like a kangaroo during his opening number Sunday.

The first award of the night was for best featured actor in a play and it went to Mark Rylance, who won his third Tony for playing the countess Olivia in Twelfth Night. Rylance was also nominated for best lead actor honors for his evil title character in Richard III.

The best featured actress in a musical Tony went to Lena Hall in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, playing a woman who dresses as a man and plays Neil Patrick Harris' boyfriend.

Darko Tresnjak won for directing the musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder and thanked his mother, a skydiver during World War II.

Kenny Leon won his first Tony for directing the revival of A Raisin in the Sun. One of his stars, Sophie Okonedo, won for best featured actress in a play. The show also won best play revival.

James Monroe Iglehart, the manic Genie in Aladdin, won for best featured actor in a musical.

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