Frances McDormand and Sutton Foster also land in Broadway's winners circle

By Stephen M. Silverman
June 12, 2011 11:30 PM
Stephen Lovekin/Getty; Inset: Kevin Winter/Getty

Broadway got religious Sunday night – make that sacrilegious – with the wildly irreverent The Book of Mormon dominating the 65th annual Tony Awards, as expected.

“This is such a waste of time,” said Chris Rock as he was about to open the envelope, “like taking a hooker to dinner.”

Lampooning young Latter Day Saints on a mission to Uganda, the musical, with a book and score by South Park‘s Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q‘s Robert Lopez, went into the evening with 14 nominations and walked away with nine Antoinette Perry Awards, including best musical, score, book, featured actress Nikki M. James, among others.

Parker, who co-directed Mormon with Casey Nicholaw, thanked South Park fans when the two were named best directors of a musical. “If it weren’t for you guys,” said Parker, “we wouldn’t be here.”

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An intense Frances McDormand delivered a heartfelt acceptance speech when she was named best lead actress for the play Good People. “I love my job,” she said, listing the classical roles she has played, including the one in the David Lindsay-Abaire comedy-drama for which she was honored. “This means more to me than you know.”

Musical actress Sutton Forster also moved the audience emotionally when she won for the revival of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. She acknowledged her love, actor Bobby Cannavale, as well as her dresser, who is leaving her next week to go to Cape Cod to become an artist.

Norbert Leo Butz was named best actor in a musical, for his FBI-agent role in Catch Me If You Can.

In the non-musical categories, the National Theatre of Great Britain import War Horse, based on the story of a young man’s love of his horse Joey before and during World War I, was named best play. In addition to a Tony for its playwright Nick Stafford, it also picked up awards for its two directors, Marianne Elliot and Tom Morris, and for scenic and sound design.

Besides McDormand, the top acting honor for a play went to Mark Rylance for Jerusalem. Featured acting Tonys went to Ellen Barkin and John Benjamin Hickey for their roles in Larry Kramer’s AIDS drama The Normal Heart, which was named best play revival.

For the complete list of winners, click here.

Neil Patrick Harris served as host – and engaged in a lively sing-off with former host Hugh Jackman – while the show featured star power from several fields.

Among the names: Oscar- and Tony-winner (last year) Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sister Act producer Whoopi Goldberg, as well as Alec Baldwin, Robin Williams, Harry Connick, Jr., Christie Brinkley, Brooke Shields, David Hyde Pierce, Jim Parsons, Angela Lansbury and Patrick Wilson.

And in a night of song and dance, Daniel Radcliffe performed a number from the revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. He was introduced by Mad Men‘s Robert Morse – who exactly 50 years ago originated the role of overly ambitious corporate climber J. Pierrepont Finch – and by Matthew Broderick, who won a Tony for the role in 1995.

The diminutive Radcliffe’s towering costar John Larroquette picked up the Tony for featured actor in a musical.