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"I was a little girl with a potbelly and afro puffs, hyperactive and overdramatic. And I found the theater, and I found my home."
—-Audra McDonald on winning a Tony
ONCE UPON A TONY
Broadway Show Based on Indie Movie Takes Home Eight Awards, Including Best Musical
The little indie film that could became the Broadway musical that did, as Once took home eight Tonys, including the best-musical award for its bittersweet love story based on the 2006 movie with Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova which earned an Oscar for Best Original Song for “Falling Slowly.”

At presstime, the Orginal Cast Recording of the show on Sony Masterworks Broadway had reached #7 at iTunes.

Lead actor Steve Kazee, who brought movie-star looks and a soulful singing voice to the part of Guy, a street musician in Dublin who falls for a Czech flower-seller, earned best lead actor in a musical.

He gave one of the most poignant speeches of a night, paying tearful tribute to his mother, who passed away on Easter Sunday.

"My mother... always told me before shows to stand up there and show them whose little boy you are," he said. "And I'm showing you today that I am the son of Kathy Withrow Kazee who lost the fight with cancer on Easter Sunday this year, and I think about her every day," Kazee said.

Once triumphed over the more obviously commercial Newsies for the top prize, while Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was shut out in the two technical categories in which it was nominated, sets and costume design in a musical. The evening's host, Neil Patrick Harris, made fun of that $75 million show's early troubles when he started one bit hanging from the ceiling, then proceeded to get stuck in the air.

The Tony for best play went to Bruce Norris' Clybourne Park, which had already won the Pulitzer Prize for its exploration of race in America, via a piece of real estate.

Audra McDonald was named best lead actress in a musical for The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, which was named best musical revival. It was her fifth Tony Award, at only age 41, tying the record held by Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris.

"I was a little girl with a potbelly and afro puffs, hyperactive and overdramatic. And I found the theater, and I found my home," McDonald said, tearfully.

The best-actress winner in a play, Nina Arianda of Venus in Fur, came out of nowhere to stun audiences, first off Broadway and then on, with her portrayal of a mysterious young actress auditioning for a play, beating out veterans Linda Lavin and Stockard Channing.

British comic actor James Corden won best actor in a play for the farcical One Man, Two Guvnors in an upset over Philip Seymour Hoffman for his Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman.

The revival of Arthur Miller's 63-year-old Death of a Salesman won the Tony for best play revival and Mike Nichols won his ninth Tony for directing it.

Said Nichols: "There's not a person in this theater that doesn't know what it is to be a salesman—to be out there in the blue riding on a smile and a shoeshine. As we know, a salesman has got to dream. It goes with the territory."

Smash star Christian Borle, who plays the clumsy, overheated pirate who will later become Captain Hook in Peter and the Starcatcher, took home the trophy foe featured actor in a play.

Judy Kaye won as featured actress for the musical Nice Work If You Can Get It, in which she plays a temperance worker who likes to drink and hangs from a chandelier at one point.

Judith Light, who plays an acerbic alcoholic in Other Desert Cities, won for best featured actress in a play. Michael McGrath won for best actor in a featured musical role from Nice Work If You Can Get It.

Newsies composer Alan Menken, who has more Oscars than any other living person, captured his first Tony for the score.

The reworked version of the Gershwin opera Porgy and Bess managed to take home more awards than a revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies.

The show was carried live by CBS.

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