Hugh Jackman had Sarah Jessica Parker bumping and grinding and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs singing Sunday night at Radio City Music Hall, as he cheerfully hosted the 58th annual Tony Awards and took home the prize as leading actor in a musical for The Boy from Oz.
In a major upset, Avenue Q, the subversive puppet show, won for best musical, as well as best book and score, beating out the night’s frontrunner, Wicked, which had 10 nominations.
The revival of the 1991 Stephen Sondheim musical Assassins won five Tonys, including best musical director Joe Mantello. The best drama Tony went to Doug Wright’s Pulitzer-winning I Am My Own Wife, starring leading actor winner Jefferson Mays.
Phylicia Rashad became the first African-American actress ever to win for leading actress in a drama, for the revival of Raisin in the Sun costarring Sean “P. Diddy” Combs.
“Often I’ve wondered what does it take for this to happen,” said the actress, best known for The Cosby Show. “And now I know. It takes effort and grace. … And in my life that grace has taken numerous forms. The first was the family into which I was born, parents who loved and wanted me, and a mother who fought fearlessly, courageously, consistently so that her children above all else could realize their full potential as human beings.”
Meanwhile, Rashad’s costar Combs was one of many targets for host Hugh Jackman at Sunday night’s ceremony, as the hunky Aussie elicited squeals of “I love you, Hugh!” and kept the audience entertained even during commercial breaks. (The ceremony aired on CBS.)
At one point, Jackman reached down into the aisles and grabbed a cellphone out of Kevin Kline’s hands – and ended up talking to Kline’s kids on the other end.
The funniest moment came when Jackman tried to get Sean “P. Diddy” Combs to sing along with him and the others in the house. The problem was, Diddy didn’t know the ditty: “O, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” from Oklahoma!
“You don’t know it?” asked a dumbfounded Jackman, who then got Combs up onstage and told the mogul to repeat after him. Combs gave up after the second line – by which time, Jackman, who was holding Combs’s hand, caught sight of Diddy’s dazzling diamond bracelet.
Once Combs returned to his seat, Jackman ran over to the row where his wife, Deborra, and fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman were sitting. “Sean,” shouted Jackman, pointing to Deborra’s diamond-broach necklace, “now that’s bling.”