NEW YORK (AP) — The murderous romp “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” has gotten a lot of love at the Tony Awards — it nabbed the best new musical trophy on a night that saw Audra McDonald, Bryan Cranston and Neil Patrick Harris take home big awards.
The musical “A Gentlemen’s Guide,” in which a poor man comically eliminates the eight heirs ahead of him for a title, opened rather quietly and has had a steady increase in interest, peaking with its huge win over Disney’s “Aladdin” and the built-in love of Carole King songs from “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical.”
McDonald won her sixth Tony for portraying Billie Holiday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” Among those she thanked were her parents for not medicating their hyperactive child.
Cranston — in a role far from TV’s chemistry teacher-turned-meth kingpin Walter White in “Breaking Bad” — won the best lead actor in a play Tony for playing former President Lyndon B. Johnson in Robert Schenkkan’s “All the Way,” which also was crowned best play.
Hugh Jackman kicked off the show with a bounce, hopping up and down like a kangaroo during his opening number last night.
Big, high-kicking musical numbers from “After Midnight,” ‘‘Aladdin,” ‘‘Rocky” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” kept the energy level up.
The bearded Australian, back as host after a nine-year absence, greeted many of the night’s featured performers as he cheerfully bounded past them backstage.
He then joined the cast of the musical “After Midnight” for a rousing rendition of “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t Got that Swing).”
He later rapped with LL Cool J and T.I. to a reworked song from “The Music Man” and danced with all the leading ladies nominated for a musical.
The best featured actress in a musical Tony went to Lena Hall in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” playing a woman who dresses as a man and plays Neil Patrick Harris’ boyfriend.
Harris performed a song from the show, looking unrecognizable in a miniskirt and blond feathered wig.
He gave an audience member a lap dance and took Samuel L. Jackson’s glasses away and licked them.