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'Memphis,' 'Red' take top honors at Tony Awards

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis pose with their

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis pose with their awards at the 64th Annual Tony Awards in Manhattan. For their roles in "Fences," they won the award for best leading actor and actress in a play. (June 13, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

"Memphis," the story of a white DJ who was the first to promote black music, was named best musical at the Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall Sunday night.

"Red," John Logan's play about artist Mark Rothko, was named best play. "This to me is the moment of my lifetime," said Logan. The play also won awards for its director, Michael Grandage, and featured actor Eddie Redmayne.

"Fences," August Wilson's 1987 Pulitzer winner, was named best revival of a play and its leading actors, 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 being a baseball player.

"I think it's appropriate that the play ends with Gabriel opening up the gates of heaven because that's what it feels like . . . It feels like such a divine experience eight times a week," said Davis, who plays Washington's wife.

"La Cage aux Folles" was named best musical revival and one of its stars, British actor Douglas Hodge, was named best actor in a musical. "What a welcome I've been given in this fair city," he said. The musical's Terry Johnson was named best director.

Catherine Zeta-Jones won best actress in a musical for her performance in "A Little Night Music."

The show kicked off with Daniel Radcliffe and Katie Holmes handing the featured actress 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."

The show opened with Sean Hayes, multitalented host, quick wit and nominee for "Promises, Promises," riffing 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." Katie Finneran of "Promises" won for best featured actress in a musical.


Here are some other 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.

FAMILY'S FAMILY: David Hyde Pierce, admiring Kelsey Grammer's performance in "La Cage," said "I couldn't be more proud of you if you were my own brother."

ANY NIELSEN RATINGS FROM ARIZONA: Hayes joked that in "The Addams Family," Nathan Lane "plays Gomez with a Spanish accent in New York and gets overlooked. In Arizona it gets you pulled over."

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 New York 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," 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.

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