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Kinky Boots kicks Tony rivals

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Billy Porter during a performance of Kinky Boots, the Cyndi Lauper-scored musical that won multiple Tony awards Sunday.

MATTHEW MURPHY / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge Image

Billy Porter during a performance of Kinky Boots, the Cyndi Lauper-scored musical that won multiple Tony awards Sunday.

NEW YORK -- The feel-good musical Kinky Boots, with songs by pop star and Broadway newcomer Cyndi Lauper, won a leading six 2013 Tony Awards on Sunday, including best musical, best score and best leading man.

Christopher Durang's comical Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike won the best play Tony. Matilda the Musical and Pippin won four awards and two other shows -- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Nance -- shared three awards each.

Lauper, who wrote the hit Girls Just Want to Have Fun, was part of an impressive group of women who took top honours. Diane Paulus and Pam MacKinnon both won for directing -- a rare time women have won directing Tonys for both a musical and a play in the same year. (It also happened most recently at the 1998 Tonys.)

Kinky Boots also won for choreography and two technical awards, and Billy Porter won for leading man in a musical.

Porter beat Kinky Boots co-star Stark Sands and told him from the stage: "You are my rock, my sword, my shield. Your grace gives me presence. I share this award with you. I'm gonna keep it at my house! But I share it with you."

Durang, whose other works include the play Beyond Therapy, was a Tony nominee for A History of the American Film and his Miss Witherspoon was a Pulitzer Prize nominee in 2006.

Paulus won her first Tony for directing the crackling, high-energy revival of the musical Pippin, which also earned the best revival honour and helped Patina Miller earn a best leading actress trophy. The win caps a whirlwind few years for the Carnegie Mellon University graduate, who was nominated for back-to-back Tonys for her first roles on Broadway.

MacKinnon won for directing the play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, a year after earning her first nomination for helming Clybourne Park. Her revival of Edward Albee's story of marital strife won the best play revival and earned playwright and actor Tracy Letts his first acting Tony, which prompted an upset beating of Tom Hanks.

"The greatest job on Earth. We are the ones who say it to their faces, and we have a unique responsibility," Letts said.

Andrea Martin, 66, who won as featured actress in a musical, plays Pippin's grandmother and sings the music hall favourite No Time at All, stuns audiences nightly by doing jaw-dropping stunts that would make someone a fraction of her age blanch.

The Tonys were broadcast live by CBS from Radio City Music Hall. Neil Patrick Harris was back for his fourth turn as emcee and leads a show featuring talented children and pulse-pounding musical numbers.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 10, 2013 D2

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