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British talent dominates at Tony Awards in New York

30British talent swept the board at Broadway’s equivalent of the Oscars on Sunday where a lesbian coming-of-age musical and a play about a teenage math whizz each won five Tony Awards.New hit musical “An American in Paris,” adapted from the Oscar-winning classic, and Broadway’s revival of “The King and I” each picked up four Tonys, the highest honor in US theater.The musical “Fun Home” has been billed as a new American classic for its story of a young woman reconstructing her childhood in order to better understand her gay father.The emotional family tale has won rave reviews since being adapted by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori from Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, moving to Broadway from a smaller theater in New York.It won the coveted prize for best musical and four other Tonys including best direction and best leading actor.But “Fun Home” was an unusual all-American success story in a star-studded ceremony at Radio City Music Hall in New York that was dominated by British imports who won in a host of categories.British film star Helen Mirren took home the Tony for leading actress in a play for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience.”It is the same character for which Mirren won an Oscar in 2007 for “The Queen” and the play moved to Broadway from London, where she won an Olivier Award for the same role.”The Audience” also netted a Tony for British actor Richard McCabe as British prime minister Harold Wilson.London’s National Theatre production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” won in five of the six categories for which it was nominated, including best play, best actor and best director.It tells the story of Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old math prodigy with unspecified behavioral problems who lives with his divorced dad and turns detective after someone kills a neighbor’s dog.It was an astonishing success for the British-born Alex Sharp, who took the best actor prize for his portrayal of Christopher.Sharp moved to America after being reportedly rejected from drama schools in London, before graduating from New York’s prestigious Juilliard School.”This time last year I picked up my diploma graduating from Juilliard so to be holding this is insane,” said Sharp, accepting the award.Another play to hop across the pond, “Skylight,” starring British film stars Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan, won the Tony Award for best revival of a play.”An American in Paris,” which made its Broadway debut to acclaim after a run in the French capital, won four Tonys including best choreography for Britain’s Christopher Wheeldon, the show’s director.The musical also won for best orchestrations, lighting and scenic design. Based on the book by Craig Lucas and the Hollywood film starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, the score is by George and Ira Gershwin and the musical has long ballet sequences.It tells of the romance between Lise Dassin and Jerry Mulligan, who competes for her love with a US composer and French resistance fighter turned cabaret star as they recover from the horrors of World War II.The four Tonys for “The King and I” included leading actress in a musical and best revival of a musical.