'Mormon,' 'War Horse' the big winners at Tonys

By Jocelyn Noveck

Associated Press

Published: Monday, June 13 2011 2:35 a.m. MDT

Norbert Leo Butz won for best actor in a musical for playing a frumpy FBI agent hot on the heels of a con man in "Catch Me If You Can," his second Tony. He movingly paid tribute to his sister, who was killed while he was working on the show. Unfortunately, the wrap-it-up music was playing him off.

Frances McDormand, who showed up to the awards ceremony at the Beacon Theatre in a short denim jacket over her long striped dress, kept on the casual jacket as she accepted her best actress award for her portrayal of a South Boston, blue-collar woman in the David Lindsay-Abaire play "Good People."

The directing prize for a play went to Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris for "War Horse," which goes for the tears every night with its story of a boy and the horse he loves. "We quite like it when people cry," Morris cracked backstage.

Shows left empty-handed included "The Scottsboro Boys," which had 12 nominations, "Sister Act," ''The Merchant of Venice," and "The Motherf---- With the Hat."

Nikki M. James, who won for best featured actress in a musical in "The Book of Mormon," dedicated the award to her dad, who died while she was in high school, and to her nephew Ozzie, who was born with kidney problems.

Kramer's "The Normal Heart" won the best revival prize and two actors from the AIDS drama — Ellen Barkin and John Benjamin Hickey — also won. Barkin, making her Broadway debut, won best actress in a featured role in a play, while Hickey won best actor in a featured role.

"It's the proudest moment of my career," said Barkin, who paid emphatic tribute to Kramer and his role in publicizing the AIDS crisis. Hickey warned his family in Texas that they'd better not be watching the Heat-Mavericks game instead of the Tonys. (Presenter Chris Rock — who is in "The Motherf---- With the Hat" — also made a reference to missing the climactic game.)

John Larroquette, in his Broadway debut, won the award for best actor in a featured role in a musical for "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." He thanked his co-star Daniel Radcliffe, who was not nominated but played a prominent role in the Tony telecast, saying that without the "Harry Potter" star he'd be "home, sitting in my underwear, watching this on television."

In awards presented off camera, "The Book of Mormon" won for orchestration, sound design, scenic design of a musical, score and book of a musical. "War Horse" won for best sound design of a play and best scenic design of a play.

The costume award in a musical went to "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" for flamboyant concoctions by Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner — including drag queens dressed as colorful frosted cupcakes — and Desmond Heeley won for his costumes for "The Importance of Being Earnest."

Online:

http://www.TonyAwards.com

AP Drama Writer Mark Kennedy and Television Writer Frazier Moore contributed to this report.

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