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'Once,' 'Clybourne Park,' take top honours at Broadway's Tony Awards

Once, the musical adaptation of an unlikely love story of a Dublin street performer and a Czech piano  player, won eight Tony Awards on Sunday as Broadway honored its best plays and musicals.

The wins for the humble, intimate stage musical adapted from the 2006 independent film Once included awards for best musical, best book, orchestrations, scenic design, sound design, best actor in a musical and best direction  for John Tiffany in his first Tony victory.

Actor Steve Kazee fought back tears as he thanked his cast members, including his leading lady Cristin Milioti, and said after his mother died early on in performances, their support kept him going.

“My mother told me once to, she always told me before shows to stand up there and to show them whose little boy you are. And I am showing you today that I am the son of Kathy Kazee who lost a fight with cancer on Easter Sunday this year. And I miss you everyday and I feel you with me tonight and I love you all so much and thank you all for this award,” Kazee said after accepting his award.

Clybourne Park, a satire on race relations, won best play. It also won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for best play.

Brit James Corden upset Philip Seymour Hoffman to win best actor in a play for his comic turn in the London transplant spoof, One Man, Two Guvnors, while Nina Arianda won best actress in a play for her sexy performance in Venus In Fur.

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, a reinvention of the 1935 opera and comedy, won best revival of a musical and Audra McDonald won best actress in a musical for her stirring performance as Bess.

Other winners included Judy Kaye and Michael McGrath for their featured roles in the comedy musical Nice Work If You Can Get It, and Christian Borle for his hilarious turn in the Peter Pan prequel, Peter and the Starcatcher.

Once, which features the Oscar-winning song Falling Slowly, received a total of eight Tonys. Peter and the Starcatcher captured five trophies. The Disney production Newsies, based on a 1899 New York newsboys strike, won best original score.

The show kicked off with host Neil Patrick Harris welcoming the audience to the 66th Tony Awards and featured star-packed performances from this season’s musicals, plays and revivals. Presenters included Paul Rudd, Christopher Plummer and Angela Lansbury.