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David Alvarez, Kiril Kulish and Trent Kowalik/Ph: Sara Krulwich

SMILES ON A SPRING NIGHT
June 8, 2009

By ROGER B. HARRIS

Tony Award winners announced - Billy Elliot The Musical big winner with 10 triumphs.

Winners of the 63rd annual Tony Awards were announced tonight to  a packed gathering at  Radio City Music Hall with  millions(hopefully)watching across the country on the CBS television network.  Neil Patrick Harris, he of the recent Sondheim revival of Assassins and currently on the small screen in How I Met Your Mother,  smoothly directed traffic. The show itself  was heavy on musical numbers from nominated current musicals and revivals as well as numbers from touring companies of Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde and Mamma Mia!

The big winner was easily the musical Billy Elliot The Musical. It picked up 10 awards out of 15 nominations, including Best Musical, Best Director (Stephen Daldry) Best Featured Actor in a Musical ( Gregory Jbara), and Best Leading Actor in a Musical shared by the three boys who alternate in the role of Billy Elliot ( David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish).  

The Best Leading Actress in a Musical was Alice Ripley for her stunning work in Next to Normal. The Best Featured Actress in a Musical was Karen Olivo, for her fiery performance as Anita in West Side Story.

God of Carnage did itself proud winning among other awards  Best Play and Best Leading Actress in a Play ( Marcia Gay Harden). The Best Leading Actor in a Play was Geoffrey Rush for Exit the King

The Best Featured Actor in a Play award  was picked up by  Roger Robinson for Joe Turner's Come and Gone.( A personal aside: This reviewer remembers Robinson as Gil, the  hip, undercover cop in the TV series Kojak back in the 1970s. He's come a long way-cue the lollipop.) The great Angela Lansbury added to her laurels, winning the Best Featured Actress in a Play award for her performance as Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit.

The Best Revival of a Play was won by The Norman Conquests. The Best Revival of a Musical went to Hair.