"Fences" and "Red" were big winners at the Tony Awards Sunday night at Radio City Music Hall.
"Red," a work about art, an artist and the act of creation, was named best play. "Fences," August Wilson's 1987 Pulitzer winner, was named best revival of a play and its stars, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, were named best actor and actress.
"My mother always says, 'Man gives the award, God gives the reward.' I guess I got both tonight," said Washington, who won for his portrayal of a sanitation man who dreamed of a baseball career.
"I think it's appropriate that the play ends with Gabriel opening up the gates of heaven. . . . It feels like such a divine experience eight times a week," said Davis, who plays Washington's wife.
Broadway went for the stars and the rockers early on, as the prizes kicked off with Daniel Radcliffe and Katie Holmes handing the featured actress in a play Tony to Scarlett Johansson, who won for her Broadway debut in "A View from the Bridge." "Being welcomed into this community has been an absolute dream come true for me," said Johansson. "Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be on Broadway and here I am."
Sean Hayes, multitalented host, quick wit and nominee for "Promises, Promises," riffed impressively on the piano with Levi Kreis, who won featured actor in a musical for his portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis in "Million Dollar Quartet." And an opening medley of Broadway's rock-driven musicals ended with an extended performance by Green Day, the punk band whose "American Idiot" won awards for settings and lights.
"Red," John Logan's play about artist Mark Rothko, also got wins for its British director, Michael Grandage, and featured actor Eddie Redmayne. Off-camera, the play also won for sets, lights and sound design. Terry Johnson, another British director, won for "La Cage aux Folles." Katie Finneran of "Promises" won for best featured actress in a musical.
Here are some of the show's memorable moments:
QUICK CHANGE: When Douglas Hodges, flirting through the audience in full "La Cage" drag, got to Matthew Morrison ("Glee"), the actor slipped Hodges what looked like a $20 bill.
WHEN YOU'RE A JET: No, not those Jets, we're talking the kind who play on grass in a big stadium. That would be NY Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, who showed up to introduce the cast of "Memphis" because "I've become a huge fan of musicals since I came to New York." And, yes, he said, "I've taken some heat from the guys."
REAL DIVAS: Five-time Tony winner Angela Lansbury, who lost the featured actress-musical Tony to Finneran in "Promises, Promises," was named the first honorary chairwoman of the American Theatre Wing. And in the preshow creative arts awards, fellow acting legend Marian Seldes was given a lifetime achievement award. With just a coquettish smile and a regal exit, she delivered what has to be the shortest acceptance speech in Tony history.