'Fun Home' big winner at the Tony Awards
NEW YORK — There's finally reason to be happy in a funeral home — "Fun Home" has won the best musical Tony Award.
The poignant show, based on Alison Bechdel's graphic novel memoir about growing up with a closeted dad in a funeral home, beat out the lush "An American in Paris," the silly "Something Rotten!" and the chilly "The Visit."
"Fun Home," with a book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and music by Jeanine Tesori, switches between three different actresses playing the narrator as she shifts through her memory for clues about her father, played by Tony-winner Michael Cerveris.
The 100-minute show directed by Sam Gold originated off-Broadway last year and had tied with "An American in Paris" going into the ceremony with 12 nominations each.
Actors: Two veteran Broadway stars — Cerveris of "Fun Home" and Kelli O'Hara of "The King and I" — took home Tony Awards on Sunday, while a young man who just last year graduated from drama school won a Tony for best actor in a play.
Cerveris won his second Tony for playing the closeted and suicidal father at the heart of the moving musical based on Bechdel's graphic novel memoir.
O'Hara got her first Tony after six nominations, winning for her role as the English school teacher in a revival of the classic 1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "The King and I."
The London-born actor Alex Sharp won for the best lead actor in a play award for "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," beating out Bradley Cooper and Bill Nighy.
"This time last year I was picked up my diploma graduating from Julliard, so to be holding this is insane. Thank you so, so much for this," he said.
His win was part of a huge haul for the adaptation of Mark Haddon's best-selling novel.
It also won best play, lighting, scenic design and earned its director Marianne Elliott a Tony, too.
The British were having a big night, with "Skylight" winning for best revival, and Helen Mirren nabbing her first Tony for playing Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan's "The Audience." She already won an Oscar for playing the monarch in the movie "The Queen."
"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. Sam Gold, the director of "Fun Home," took home his first Tony.
Show: 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 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."
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.
"The King and I" was crowned the best musical revival and it won for best musical costumes. One of its stars, Ruthie Ann Miles, won in her Broadway debut as best featured actress in a musical.
Best Musical: ''Fun Home"
Best Play: "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time"
Best Book of a Musical: ''Fun Home"
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater: "Fun Home"
Best Revival of a Play: ''Skylight"
Best Revival of a Musical: "The King and I"
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Alex Sharp, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play: Helen Mirren, "The Audience"
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Michael Cerveris, "Fun Home"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Kelli O'Hara, "The King and I"
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: Richard McCabe, "The Audience"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play: Annaleigh Ashford, "You Can't Take It With You"
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: Christian Borle, "Something Rotten!"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: Ruthie Ann Miles, "The King and I"