(Reuters) – Pop queen Cyndi Lauper and actress Judith Light won early Tony awards on Sunday as Broadway presented its top honors, with leading contenders “Kinky Boots” and “Matilda” each taking home multiple awards while women won both the directing honors.
Lauper won best score for her first Broadway musical, “Kinky Boots,” an adaptation of a British film about a struggling shoe factory reinventing itself by making boots for drag queens. The hit musical topped the nominations with 13 and also won best choreography, orchestrations and sound design.
A tearful Lauper said “I can’t say I wasn’t practicing in front of the shower curtain for the past couple of days,” and went on to “thank Broadway, for welcoming me.”
Light, known to television audiences for the sitcom “Who’s the Boss” but also an acclaimed stage actress, won her second consecutive Tony, for “The Assembled Parties,” in which she plays a Jewish wife and mother, first in 1980 then in 2000.
She paid tribute to her fellow nominees, saying “you have made this a celebration, not a competition.” Light won the same award last year as an alcoholic in “Other Desert Cities.”
Courtney B. Vance won best featured actor in a play for the late Nora Ephron’s journalism drama “Lucky Guy,” expected to win Tom Hanks a best actor Tony in his Broadway debut. “It’s nice to meet you fella’,” he said backstage, gazing at his award.
Gabriel Ebert was named best featured actor in a musical for his turn as the slimy father in “Matilda,” saying in a rapid-fire speech that he was “really freaked out” by his win.
“Matilda,” an Olivier-award winning musical which had 12 Tony nominations, is based on a story by Roald Dahl about a freakishly intelligent little girl’s persecution by her crass family and a fearsome school headmistress.
Andrea Martin won best featured actress in a musical for “Pippin.”
Women won both directing Tonys: Diane Paulus won for musical direction for her circus-themed revival of the seminal 1970s show “Pippin,” while Pam MacKinnon won the direction of play Tony for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” quipping “Vegas got this one wrong” about her long-shot status.
The award for best book of a musical went to Dennis Kelly for “Matilda the Musical,” which also won for scenic design.
Veteran playwright Christopher Durang won his first Tony, for best play, for “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” a comic riff on Anton Chekhov’s work that stars Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce.
The show at Radio City Music Hall featured appearances by the casts of most-nominated musicals “Kinky Boots, “Matilda” and “Pippin,” and opened with show host Neil Patrick Harris leading a lavish, satirical production featuring the casts of those shows as well as “Cinderella,” “Spiderman” and even Mike Tyson, who did a one-man show this season and briefly dueted with Harris.
Presenters at the awards included best actor nominee Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Cuba Gooding Jr, Jesse Eisenberg, Jon Cryer, Liam Neeson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anna Kendrick, Zachary Quinto, Sally Field and Jesse Tyler Ferguson among others.(Reporting by Chris Michaud and Kat Wiessner; Editing by Eric Walsh)