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Monday, 3 June, 2002, 08:42 GMT 09:42 UK
Broadway honours jazz and johns
Edward Albee accepts award from actress Whoopi Goldberg
Albee's play has fiercely divided the critics
A musical set in the Jazz Age, a story of one man's love affair with a goat and a satire on pay toilets called Urinetown have taken top prizes at Broadway's annual Tony Awards.

Thoroughly Modern Millie, the story of an ambitious flapper, won six awards, including best musical and a best-actress-in-a-musical award for its star, Sutton Foster, at the US theatre world's equivalent of the Hollywood Oscars.

Sutton Foster with her award
Foster soared to fame after taking on the role as an understudy
The Goat, by Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? author Edward Albee, was named best play at the ceremony in New York, which was screened live across America.

A top theatre world official said that the prizes had shown Broadway was back in business after the disastrous effect of the 11 September terror attacks.

"To say this is a dream come true is an understatement," said Foster, 27, after receiving her award.

The musical, which is based on a 1967 Julie Andrews film of the same title, also took prizes for best featured actress, choreography, costumes, and orchestrations.

But the musical awards for best direction, book and score went to Urinetown, a fringe satire about a city where everyone has to pay to use the toilets.

Correspondents say it is not unusual for a musical to win for book and score only to lose the top prize - as was the case in 1998 when Ragtime lost to The Lion King.

'A play about love'

Albee, 74, last received a Tony in 1963 when Who's Afraid? won the award for best play.

"I don't get many rides to the Tonys," he joked.

In his play, a man has a love affair with a goat, and the veteran writer thanked his producers for their "outrageous faith that Broadway was ready to see a play about love".

Other prizes went to more traditional plays while some favourites went away empty-handed:

  • Alan Bates won the award for best leading man and Frank Langella for best featured role in Fortune's Fool, an adaptation of an 1848 work by Russian author Ivan Turgenev.
  • A production of Noel Coward's Private Lives took three Tonys including one for best revival of a play and one for Lindsay Duncan as best actress.
    British Tony winner Alan Bates
    Bates said his win was "like a hallucination"
  • Veteran actress Elaine Stritch, 76, won her first Tony, taking the award for best special theatrical event with her Elaine Stritch at Liberty show.
  • Shuler Hensley won as featured actor in a musical for his portrayal of Jud in Oklahoma!, Katie Finneran took the featured actress Tony for Noises Off and Mary Zimmerman won as best director of a play for her production of Ovid's Metamorphoses.
  • The musical Mamma Mia! and two highly acclaimed plays - The Crucible starring Liam Neeson and Morning's at Seven - took no awards despite being heavily nominated.

Jed Bernstein, head of the League of American Theatres and Producers, said the 2002 Tonys were more evenly divided than the previous year's when The Producers swept the board.

Assessing the effects of 11 September and the lingering economic downturn, he concluded that Broadway had "rebounded".

Greg Kotis, the creative force behind Urinetown, said Broadway had "the beneficiary of the goodwill of the public and the country".

See also:

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18 Dec 01 | Americas
06 May 02 | Entertainment
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