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Puppet Regime

''Avenue Q,'' ''Wicked'' clean up at Tonys. ''Raisin in the Sun'''s Phylicia Rashad becomes first black actress to win a Tony for a dramatic leading role

Avenue Q | WHAT CHARACTERS The cast and producers of ''Avenue Q'' accept the Tony for Best Musical
Image credit: Tony Awards: Kathy Willens/AP
WHAT CHARACTERS The cast and producers of ''Avenue Q'' accept the Tony for Best Musical

Sunday's 58th annual Tony Awards was an evening of surprises, and not just for Carol Channing's rap duet of ''Hello, Dolly'' with LL Cool J, or Hugh Jackman yanking a blushing Sarah Jessica Parker from the audience for some impromptu dirty dancing (she begged off, lest her strapless gown suffer a wardrobe malfunction and cause more Janet-esque embarrassment for CBS). No, the big surprises came at the podium, where ''Avenue Q,'' the musical about angsty Brooklynites portrayed by puppets, upset ''Wizard of Oz'' prequel ''Wicked'' to win Best Musical. ''Q'' also took Best Book and Best Score, tying ''Wicked'''s three wins, including Best Actress for Idina Menzel as the future Wicked Witch of the West. But the biggest winner of all, on a night after Ronald Reagan's death, was the five-Tony haul for ''Assassins,'' Stephen Sondheim's musical about presidential shooters, which won Best Revival of a Musical.

Also noteworthy was Phylicia Rashad's win for Best Actress in the revival of ''Raisin in the Sun,'' making her the first African-American actress in Tony history to win the prize for a leading dramatic role. Two other black actresses also won big: Broadway rookie Anika Noni Rose (Best Featured Actress in a Musical, for ''Caroline, or Change''), and 33-year-old Broadway vet Audra McDonald, whose Best Featured Actress in a Play award for her ''Raisin'' role marked a remarkable fourth Tony for her over the last decade.

Host Jackman also won Best Actor in a Musical for his role as entertainer Peter Allen in ''The Boy From Oz.'' Best Play went to ''I Am My Own Wife,'' the true story of a man living as a woman in Communist East Germany, and the one-man show's star, Jefferson Mays (who plays more than 40 characters in ''Wife'') won Best Actor in a Play. Last year's two Best Director winners, Jack O'Brian and Joe Mantello, won again, O'Brian for Shakespeare's ''Henry IV'' (which was also named Best Revival of a Play) and Mantello for ''Assassins.'' A full list of winners is below.

Best Play
''I Am My Own Wife''

Best Musical
''Avenue Q''

Best Revival of a Play
''Henry IV''

Best Revival of a Musical
''Assassins''

Best Leading Actor in a Play
Jefferson Mays, ''I Am My Own Wife''

Best Leading Actress in a Play
Phylicia Rashad, ''A Raisin in the Sun''

Best Featured Actor in a Play
Brían F. O'Byrne, ''Frozen''

Best Featured Actress in a Play
Audra McDonald, ''A Raisin in the Sun''

Best Leading Actor in a Musical
Hugh Jackman, ''The Boy From Oz''

Best Leading Actress in a Musical
Idina Menzel, ''Wicked''

Best Featured Actor in a Musical
Michael Cerveris, ''Assassins''

Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Anika Noni Rose, ''Caroline, or Change''

Best Director, Play
Jack O'Brien, ''Henry IV''

Best Director, Musical
Joe Mantello, ''Assassins''

Best Book of a Musical
Jeff Whitty, ''Avenue Q''

Best Original Score
''Avenue Q,'' Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (music)

Best Choreography
Kathleen Marshall, ''Wonderful Town''

Best Scenic Design
Eugene Lee, ''Wicked''

Best Costume Design
Susan Hilferty, ''Wicked''

Best Lighting Design
Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, ''Assassins''

Best Orchestrations
Michael Starobin, ''Assassins''

Originally posted Jun 07, 2004
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