‘Spring,’ ‘Utopia’ are tops at Tonys

NEW YORK – “Spring Awakening,” a pounding post-rock musical of teenage sexual anxiety, and Tom Stoppard’s “The Coast of Utopia,” a sprawling tale of 19th-century Russian intellectuals, dominated the 2007 Tony Awards on Sunday.

“Spring Awakening” captured eight awards, including best musical, and “The Coast of Utopia” had seven, including best play, a Tony record. The previous record was six, held by “Death of A Salesman” and “History Boys.”

“Spring Awakening” picked up the best score award for Duncan Sheik and lyricist Steven Sater, who also received the prize for book of a musical.

“Steven and I definitely set out to make a new kind of musical,” Sheik said. “We were trying to forge our own path. I think we got lucky timing-wise – what’s happening politically. People were ready to deal with something that had teeth.”

Its director, Michael Mayer, also won, as did John Gallagher Jr., who portrays a manic student in the show. He received the featured-actor musical prize. “Heaven must feel like this,” enthused the 22-year-old Gallagher. Later backstage, he said, “I can’t feel anything right now, not even my arms. It’s an honor and a thrill that never in a million years would I dream for myself.”

Bill T. Jones danced down the aisle as he accepted his award for choreography for the musical. “I am a happy man,” said Jones.

Stoppard’s epic was equally successful in picking up awards. Jack O’Brien, its director, won as did two of the featured players in its large cast – Billy Crudup and Jennifer Ehle. “I know what Everest feels like,” O’Brien said.

“Utopia” also swept the play technical awards, winning prizes for sets, costumes and lighting. The musical technical nods were split three ways: sets, “Mary Poppins”; costumes, “Grey Gardens” and lighting, “Spring Awakening.”

As expected Christine Ebersole took home the actress-musical prize for her critically acclaimed performance in “Grey Gardens.” Frank Langella, winning his third Tony, took the actor-play prize, for his sympathetic portrait of Richard Nixon in “Frost/Nixon.”

The winners of the main 2007 Tony Awards:

Musical: “Spring Awakening”

Play: “The Coast of Utopia”

Actor-Musical: David Hyde Pierce, “Curtains”

Actress-Musical: Christine Ebersole, “Grey Gardens”

Actor-Play: Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”

Actress-Play: Julie White, “The Little Dog Laughed”

Revival-Musical: “Company”

Revival-Play: “Journey’s End”

Direction-Musical: Michael Mayer, “Spring Awakening”

Direction-Play: Jack O’Brien, “The Coast of Utopia”

Featured Actress-Musical: Mary Louise Wilson, “Grey Gardens”

Featured Actor-Musical: John Gallagher Jr., “Spring Awakening”

Featured Actor-Play: Billy Crudup, “The Coast of Utopia”

Featured Actress-Play: Jennifer Ehle, “The Coast of Utopia”

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