Melissa Rose Bernardo
June 18, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

It was the theatrical equivalent of ”Shakespeare in Love” stealing Best Picture from ”Saving Private Ryan”: On June 6, Broadway’s ”Avenue Q” — the puppet-packed show with the big heart and the bigger Tony award campaign (Trekkie Monster and button) — won Best Musical over the big-budget witch tale ”Wicked.” Sure, few saw the furry feat — what with ”The Sopranos”’ finale and the NBA finals — but those tuned in to CBS saw stars. The net rolled out the red carpet for such high-profile presenters as Renee Zellweger, Nicole Kidman, and Jimmy Fallon. ”I was waiting to be thrown out,” cracked the ex-”SNL”er, who, along with host/winner Hugh Jackman (”The Boy From Oz”), LL Cool J, and hip-hop homegirl Carol Channing, was on hand to witness Broadway history as Phylicia Rashad became the first African-American woman to win the Tony for lead actress in a play (”A Raisin in the Sun”). Which got us thinking about Puffy power. After all, Rashad stars in ”Raisin” with Sean Combs, who costarred with Halle Berry in ”Monster’s Ball” — which made her the first African-American woman to win the Best Actress Oscar. We’re guessing Diddy’s price tag just doubled.

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