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'Once' musical takes eight gongs - including Best Musical - at Tony awards

Broadway awards shows are the new international soccer tournaments.

Producer Frederick Zollo accepts the Tony Award for Best Musical for the Broadway adaptation of 'Once'.
Producer Frederick Zollo accepts the Tony Award for Best Musical for the Broadway adaptation of 'Once'.
Image: YouTube screengrab

THE BROADWAY STAGE production of John Carney’s musical film ‘Once’ has won eight prizes at the prestigious Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

The show – written by Enda Walsh, and featuring music from Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, including the Oscar-winning song ‘Falling Slowly’ – was named Best Musical as well as taking a series of other top prizes.

The bittersweet show took awards for best Book of a Musical, for Walsh, as well as Best Performance by a Leading Actor for Steve Kazee, and Best Direction for John Tiffany.

There were also prizes for Best Orchestrations, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design. The show had been nominated in 11 categories overall.

Accepting the top award on behalf of the entire production team, producer Frederick Zollo thanked Carney, Hansard and Irglova for their work on the film which had provided the basis for their successful show.

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There were some disappointments, though: Cristin Milioti lost out in the Leading Actress category, as did Elizabeth A Davis in the featured actress category, while Steven Hoggett’s choreography also missed out. Milioti was in good spirits afterwards, however – telling reporters that her show’s award haul was “just amazing”.

The biggest winner of the night, ‘Once’ overcame challenges in many categories from ‘Newsies’, a stage adaptation of the Disney movie – but the latter only two awards (original score and choreography) of the eight for which it was nominated.

Bruce Norris’ ‘Clybourne Park’, the remarkably perceptive Pulitzer Prize-winning play about race and real estate, won the best play Tony, while Audra McDonald made award history by winning her fifth Tony, winning best lead actress for her role in ‘The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess’, defeating Milioti in the process.

In perhaps the biggest shock of the night, James Corden nabbed the lead acting Tony Award in a play for his clownish turn in the British import ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’. He beat out the favorite, Philip Seymour Hoffman in ‘Death of a Salesman’, which itself won the Tony for best play revival.

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The awards show at the Beacon Theatre began with a nod to the past, with host Neil Patrick Harris joining with the cast of ‘The Book of Mormon’ for their opening number of ‘Hello!’ from the 2011 musical winner.

The show ended in a weird kind of symmetry when Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the co-creators of ‘Mormon’ (and of South Park), who handed out the final award.

The three-hour telecast was packed with stars and performances from musicals, plays and revivals – an attempt to showcase as much on Broadway as possible. One performance wasn’t even nearby — the song from ‘Hairspray’ was performed from a cruise ship in the Caribbean Sea.

The night capped a positive year for Broadway, where shows took in a record $1.14 billion this season, while total attendances reached 12.3 million.

The only concern is that audience numbers were flat, meaning the overall box office take is largely the result of higher prices.

The cast of Once performing ‘Falling Slowly’ on the David Letterman show back in March:

(YouTube: )

Additional reporting by AP

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Gavan Reilly

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