Tony voters marked their ballots for Mormons and an epic puppet show at Sunday night's annual celebration of Broadway excellence, as "The Book of Mormon"'s successful conquest added up to nine Tonys, the most of the night, including the much-coveted Best Musical.
The nasty but good-natured musical by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of "South Park" and Robert Lopez of "Avenue Q" follows young missionaries from Salt Lake City out of their depth in misery-plagued Uganda.
It took home awards for original score, book, orchestrations, lighting, set and sound design.
Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker also won for directing the musical. Parker, looking a little nervous, thanked "South Park" fans, saying, "Without you, we wouldn't be here."
The Featured Actress in a Musical award brought an emotional speech from winner Nikki M. James, whose lovable portrait of a sweet Ugandan villager in "Mormon" proved irresistible to voters.
"Tony, come on over, live with me," she said as she hugged her prize. "I'm really grateful that no one told me that I couldn't fly."
"War Horse," a London import driven by life-sized equine puppets, was a frequent visitor to the winner's circle.
It snagged the coveted bouquet for best play, as well as for direction, scenic, lighting and sound design.
Oscar winner Frances McDormand, in a striped dress and denim jacket, won Best Actress for playing a down-and-out single mother in "Good People."
British Mark Rylance took home Best Actor in a play for his tour de force in "Jerusalem." In his acceptance speech, the ever-unpredictable actor spoke about walking through walls.
The Best Actress in a Musical prize went to Sutton Foster for her sassy portrait of evangelist-turned-lounge singer Reno Sweeney in the Cole Porter's "Anything Goes." The show also won for best musical revival and choreography.
Norbert Leo Butz caught the Best Actor in a Musical Tony for his dogged FBI agent in "Catch Me If You Can." He remembered his slain sister in his acceptance speech.
The night's first acting award went to Ellen Barkin for her featured performance as a fiery physician in Larry Kramer's 1985 AIDS drama "The Normal Heart," which took home the prize for best play revival.
Accepting an award for her Broadway debut, she compared the play to a "Molotov cocktail."
Barkin's "Normal Heart" co-star John Benjamin Hickey, a Broadway veteran who also stars in TV's "The C Word," won for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his portrayal of a journalist stricken with a frightening fatal diagnosis.
John Larroquette, a TV star making his first appearance on Broadway, won for Featured Actor in a Musical for playing big-cheese businessman J.B. Biggley in "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying."
He sent a shoutout to the show's marquee attraction, Daniel Radcliffe, "without whom," he said, "I know I would be sitting at home in my underwear watching this."
"War Horse" got the bouquet for direction and for scenic and sound design that made the horrors of battle ring with eardrum-rattling reality.
Best costume awards went to the musical "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" and the play "The Importance of Being Earnest."
For the first time, the Tonys aired from the Beacon Theatre, a landmark venue on the upper West Side.
The venue marked a departure from Radio City Music Hall, which was booked with a new Cirque du Soleil production.
The show was hosted by "How I Met Your Mother" star Neil Patrick Harris, who won an Emmy for emceeing the Tony telecast in 2009.
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