Tony Awards Recap: Neil Patrick Harris, Audra McDonald Win Big

Audra McDonald in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill"

Audra McDonald in her Tony-Winning performance in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.”

The 68th Annual Tony Awards, which took place on Sunday evening, is often billed as “Broadway’s Biggest Night;” hosted this year by Hollywood and stage hunk Hugh Jackman (donning a ghastly beard, might I add), the show honored some of the best that the New York stage had to offer.

That doesn’t mean that there weren’t some Philly crowd pleasers; hometown girl Patti LaBelle, currently starring in the musical After Midnight, belted a saucy rendition of “Sunny Side of the Street” with her former and future cast mates, Fantasia Barrino and Gladys Knight, during the evening’s festivities. Rocky, the musical based on the Philadelphia movie franchise, was nominated for four awards and took home one trophy for Best Scenic Design of a Musical.

Best Musical of the year went to the zany A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which also won three other awards during the evening, including Best Book of a Musical and Best Direction of a Musical.

Neil Patrick Harris, known for television’s How I Met Your Mother and as a frequent Tony Award show host, won his first actual Tony (Best Performance by an Actor in the Leading Role of a Musical) for his widely acclaimed performance as the title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  The show also took home Best Revival of a Musical.

Jessie Mueller won her first Tony Award (Best Performance by an Actress in the Leading Role of a Musical) for her depiction of songwriter Carole King in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.

Best Play honors went to Robert Schenkkan’s historical drama All The Way, and the play’s leading man, Bryan Cranston (of Breaking Bad fame) took home his first Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in the Leading Role of a Play for his depiction of Lyndon B. Johnson.

Best Revival of a Play went to Lorraine Hansberry’s classic, A Raisin in the Sun, starring Denzel Washington.

Another big winner of the night was Broadway favorite Audra McDonald (Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play) who won a record-breaking sixth Tony Award for her depiction of iconic singer Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.

For a complete list of winners and nominees, visit the Tony Awards website.