Entertainment Stage British talent dominates at Tony Awards

British talent dominates at Tony Awards

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British has talent swept the board at Broadway’s equivalent of the Oscars where a lesbian coming-of-age musical and a play about a teenage maths whiz each won five Tony Awards.

The musical Fun Home, based on the story of a young woman reconstructing her childhood in order to better understand her gay father, won the coveted prize for best musical and four other Tonys including best direction and best leading actor.

The emotional family tale has won rave reviews since being adapted by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori from Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir.

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But Fun Home was an unusual all-American success story in a star-studded ceremony at Radio City Music Hall in New York that was dominated by British imports who won in a host of categories.

British film star Helen Mirren took home the Tony for leading actress in a play for her portrayal of the Queen in The Audience.

It is the same character for which Mirren won an Oscar in 2007 for The Queen and the play moved to Broadway from London, where she won an Olivier Award for the same role.

The Audience also netted a Tony for British actor Richard McCabe as British prime minister Harold Wilson.

Chris Harpa, author Simon Stephens, producers Stewart Thompson, Rufus Norris and Tim Levi of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Photo: Getty

London’s National Theatre production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won in five of the six categories for which it was nominated, including best play, best actor and best director.

It tells the story of Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old maths prodigy with unspecified behavioural problems who lives with his divorced dad and turns detective after someone kills a neighbour’s dog.

It was an astonishing success for the British-born Alex Sharp, who took the best actor prize for his portrayal of Christopher.

Sharp moved to America after being reportedly rejected from drama schools in London, before graduating from New York’s prestigious Juilliard School.

“This time last year I picked up my diploma graduating from Juilliard so to be holding this is insane,” said Sharp, accepting the award.

Another play to hop across the pond, Skylight, starring British film stars Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan, won the Tony Award for best revival of a play.

An American in Paris, which made its Broadway debut to acclaim after a run in the French capital, won four Tonys including best choreography for Britain’s Christopher Wheeldon, the show’s director.

Based on the book by Craig Lucas and the Hollywood film starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, it tells of the romance between Lise Dassin and Jerry Mulligan, who competes for her love with a US composer and French resistance fighter turned cabaret star as they recover from the horrors of World War II.

The King and I won four Tonys including leading actress in a musical and best revival of a musical.

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