Big night for African-American actors, women at Tony Awards

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And Cyndi Lauper won best original score for “Kinky Boots,” a result that had many in the audience whooping with delight. “Girl, you’re gonna have fun tonight!” shouted presenter Jesse Tyler Ferguson, the “Modern Family” actor — a reference, of course, to Lauper’s iconic “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”

In winning best musical, “Kinky” scored something of an upset over the terrific but decidedly darker “Matilda the Musical.” And underscoring the sunny nature of this year’s ceremony, a comedy — Christopher Durang’s dysfunctional-family satire “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” — won for best play over the more typical dramatic fare.

It wasn’t a great night for movie stars. In a season where a number of Hollywood personalities were snubbed for Tony nominations — Scarlett Johansson, Bette Midler and Jessica Chastain among them — best-actor nominee Tom Hanks (“Lucky Guy”) lost out to Tracy Letts, previously a Tony-winning playwright, for his wrenching performance in “Virginia Woolf.”

Wins or losses, the guests at the Tony gala seemed intent on having a wonderful time. One of them was Billy Magnussen, who plays a studly young boyfriend to Sigourney Weaver’s character in “Vanya and Sonia.” He had lost out to Vance but couldn’t stop dancing (if you wanted to interview him, you had to twirl along.) “Who gets to dance at the Tonys?” he asked joyfully and rather rhetorically. “This guy!” He said it was “amazing to be honored for something that I would do for free anyway.”

At the after-party, Light elaborated on her thoughts. “We are here to celebrate each other,” she said in an interview. “That is the magic. We root for each other. If we didn’t, our work would simply be too arduous.”

“This is my family,” Light added, pointing to a ballroom filled with theater folk. “I’m so happy to be at a party with my family.”

Light’s counterpart on the musical side was Andrea Martin, 66, who won best featured actress in a musical for “Pippin,” in which she plays the title character’s grandmother, Berthe, and stops the show every night by performing high-flying stunts that thrill the audience.

Her co-star, Matthew James Thomas, who plays Pippin, said at the party that he was backstage watching Martin’s emotional speech, and found it so moving that he burst into tears. “She’s usually so together, so it was amazing to see her like that,” he said. “I’m so happy for her, and Diane, and the whole company.”

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