'Hairspray,' 'Journey' Tony's Top Winners

By KAREN BUTLER  |  June 9, 2003 at 10:10 AM
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NEW YORK, June 9 (UPI) -- The campy new musical "Hairspray" and a revival of Eugene O'Neill's classic drama "Long Day's Journey Into Night" were the top winners at the 57th Annual Tony Awards ceremony in New York Sunday evening.

Based on John Waters' cult 1988 film, "Hairspray" nabbed the honors for Best Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a musical for Harvey Fierstein, who dressed in drag for the role, and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for Marissa Jaret Winokur.

Recalling how her sister once gave her a painting on which was inscribed "Fairy tales do come true," Winokur remarked as she collected her statuette: "If a 4-foot-11, chubby New York girl can be a leading lady in a Broadway show and win a Tony, then anything can happen."

Showing just how true that is, Fierstein picked up his fourth Tony for playing Winokur's mother in the show.

"Boy, am I glad this wasn't a beauty contest," Fierstein quipped, referring to his handsome fellow nominees Antonio Banderas, Malcolm Gets, Brian Stokes Mitchell and John Selya.

"Hairspray" also won the Tonys for Best Book of a Musical for Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan and Best Score for Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Shaiman received ecstatic applause when he kissed Wittman and declared that even though he couldn't marry him, "I love you and want to live with you the rest of my life."

The move prompted "Hollywood Arms" star Michele Pawk, who won the award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play, to proclaim: "Men kissing each other on stage, drag queens and children. It is a perfect world."

Dick Latessa, who won the Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical, was equally euphoric.

"The trip on the 'Hairspray' train has been the joy ride of my life," he said.

Upon winning the prize for Best Director of a Musical for "Hairspray," Jack O'Brien declared, "Finally!"

"The quest for this silver goes back something like 26 years. Before many of you were born!" he said, comparing himself to frequent Emmy Award-loser Susan Lucci. "I felt like the Miss Haversham of the Tonys."

On a more serious note, "Long Day's Journey Into Night" was named Best Revival of a Play and won Tonys for Best Performance by a Leading Actor for Brian Dennehy and Best Performance by a Leading Actress for Vanessa Redgrave.

Meanwhile, "Take Me Out," Richard Greenberg's tale of a gay baseball player, won the awards for Best Play, Best Director of a Play for Joe Mantello ("I have Xanax coursing through my body and I just saw two guys kiss on CBS") and Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play for Denis O'Hare, who thanked his fellow cast members and reminded everyone that "acting is a team sport."

"Nine: The Musical" took the prize for Best Revival of a Musical and for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for Jane Krakowski.

Noting her job description entails playing Banderas' mistress eight times a week, Krakowski said, "I'm the happiest girl on Broadway" and thanked Banderas' wife, Melanie Griffith, for being a good sport and lending him out to her.

The Billy Joel-inspired dance show, "Movin' Out," also won a pair of awards Sunday. Twyla Tharp won her first Tony for Best Choreography, while Joel shared his Tony for Best Orchestrations with Stuart Malina.

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