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‘Kinky Boots,’ ‘Pippin,’ ‘Vanya,’ ‘Woolf’ Lead Tony Winners

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‘Kinky Boots,’ ‘Pippin,’ ‘Vanya,’ ‘Woolf’ Lead Tony Winners
Photo Source: Matthew Murray

Everybody say yeah! The Cyndi Lauper tuner “Kinky Boots” pulled what many saw as an upset over the West End hit “Matilda” for the best musical trophy at the 67th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday night.

Neil Patrick Harris hosted the ceremony for the fourth time, and opened with one of his famous show-stopping numbers, called “Make It Bigger.” And although the stage was teaming with bright lights and stars, Harris gave a shoutout to the kids at home.

“There’s a kid in the middle of nowhere who’s sitting there living for Tony performances,” Harris rapped in a number written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tom Kitt. “So I might reassure that kid and do something to spur that kid ’cause I promise you all of us up here tonight, we were that kid.”

And it was an evening full of surprises. Although “Kinky Boots” received the most nominations with 13—and scored a total six wins, including nods for choreography, score, and lead actor Billy Porter—“Matilda” was viewed by many as the show to beat this season. But the show, based on the Roald Dahl novel, only received four honors, for its book, set, lighting, and featured actor Gabriel Ebert.

“I want to thank Broadway for welcoming me,” a tearful Lauper said, adding that listening to her mom’s Broadway cast albums was how she learned how to sing. “Hard work inspires me.” Lauper became the first woman to ever win best score without a collaborator.

Meanwhile, directors Diane Paulus (“Pippin”) and Pam MacKinnon (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”) became only the sixth and seventh women to take home best director statuettes—and this was only the second time two women were named best director the same year. To make their victories even sweeter, both directors saw their shows take home the best revival statuettes.

“To my parents who gave me the best encouragement a daughter could hope for: to do what you love,” Paulus said. The Tony marks Paulus’s first award, although she previously helmed the Tony-winning revivals of “Hair” and “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.”

“Pippin” also won its Leading Player Patina Miller a Tony for lead actress in a musical. Ben Vereen, who originated the role in the 1972 production, won the award for the part, making it the first role to earn Tonys for a male and female performer. The acting races had some of the biggest shocks of the evening. Although it received acting nominations in every category, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” took home one honor for Best Play, a first award for playwright Christopher Durang.

Many predicted Judith Light to take the award for her featured performance in “The Assembled Parties,” Andrea Martin for "Pippin," and for Cicely Tyson to win for her turn in “The Trip to Bountiful.” But the biggest upset came when Tracy Letts landed the lead actor in a play honor over predicted winner Tom Hanks for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Letts is the first Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright to win a Tony for acting.

“I share this with all the actors in Chicago and in storefronts and everybody who does this crazy, insane, frustrating job—the greatest job on Earth,” a humbled Letts said when accepting his award. “We are the ones who say it to their faces, and we have a unique responsibility. I will cherish this always.”

Click here for a complete list of nominees and winners.

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