The Fun Home had a fun night at the 2015 Tonys: the musical, based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, won not only best musical but best book, best original score, best direction of a musical and best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical.
Earlier this spring, Bechdel told NPR she was surprised by the idea of turning her memoir into a musical. “I thought it was crazy,” she said. “I didn’t know how it was even possible.” But Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori spent seven years making it happen, turning the life story of a middle-aged lesbian cartoonist into a smash Broadway hit.
The award for best play went to another unlikely adaptation: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, the story of a boy on the autistic spectrum trying to solve the mystery of a dog’s murder. The play is based on a novel by Mark Haddon, who called his book “unadaptable” — but later suggested his friend Simon Stephens give it a shot.
The result, like The Fun Home, became a critical and popular success. The play also brought in Tony awards for actor Alex Sharp, director Marianne Elliott, scenic designers Finn Ross and Bunny Christie and lighting designer Paule Constable.
The dance-centric musical An American in Paris took home awards for best scenic design of a musical, best lighting design of a musical, best choreography and best orchestrations.
Best lead actress in a play, went, as expected, to Helen Mirren for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience. The win puts Mirren only a Grammy away from being a rare EGOT, or winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. (Mirren won an Oscar for her role as the same monarch in The Queen, and one of her Emmys was for playing Queen Elizabeth I, leading some pundits to wonder if a Queen Elizabeth-themed Grammy might be in her future).
And on her sixth nomination, Kelli O’Hara finally got a win: for best lead actress in a musical, as Anna in The King and I.
The show was hosted by Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming; Tommy Tune, who has won nine previous Tonys for his acting, directing and choreography, received the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.