British musical Billy Elliot triumphed last night at the 63rd Annual Tony Awards, held at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
The show won 10 awards, taking the number of international awards Billy Elliot has won to an impressive 73. Its wins included best musical, best director (Stephen Daldry), featured actor in a musical (Gregory Jbara), and leading actor in a musical – which went to all three of the young actors playing Billy (David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, and Kiril Kulish). Billy Elliot also won a slew of creative awards including best orchestrations (Martin Koch), best scenic (Ian MacNeil), lighting (Rick Fisher) and sound (Paul Arditti) design of a musical, best book (Lee Hall) and best choreography (Peter Darling).
Liza Minnelli presented Elton John, Stephen Daldry, Eric Fellner and Sally Greene with the Tony for Best Musical, joined on stage by the cast, production team and co-producers.
The original production of Billy Elliot is still playing at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London after celebrating its 4th anniversary last month and the show has played to over 3.5 million people worldwide.
Despite sound problems running throughout the awards ceremony, the star-studded gala for 6,000 people saw an 11 minute show-stopping opening that included the three Billy’s performing “Electricity” from the show accompanied by Elton John, songs from West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Next to Normal, Hair, Shrek, Dolly Parton singing 9 to 5 with the cast and Liza Minnelli singing “And the World Goes Round”.
Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, other shows profiled included Mamma Mia!, Legally Blonde and Jersey Boys, with guest appearances from Lucie Arnaz, Jeff Daniels, Edie Falco, Will Ferrell, Carrie Fisher, Jane Fonda, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon and John Stamos.
Other British winners included Angela Lansbury, winning her fifth Tony Award for her performance as Madam Arcati in Blithe Spirit; Matthew Warchus for best direction of a play for God of Carnage – and his production of The Norman Conquests also won best revival of a play; Tim Hatley for best costume design of a musical for Shrek; and Anthony Ward winning best costume design of a play for Mary Stuart.
The life of British actress Natasha Richardson was also celebrated at the awards following her death in March.