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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 June, 2003, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK
Tonys gay kiss makes waves
Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman shared a songwriting award
A gay kiss between two winners at Broadway's Tony Awards has been making waves after its broadcast on live TV.

Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman kissed after they stepped up to the stage at New York's Radio City Hall to collect a joint songwriting award for the musical Hairspray.

The picture of them in a clinch made the pages of UK newspapers, with the Guardian noting that gay men kissing is still fairly rare to US viewers.

CBS, which aired the ceremony, told Newsday that it had received a "small to moderate" 78 negative responses from viewers following the broadcast.

And as well as being musical partners, Shaiman and Wittman have been together as a couple for 25 years.

Tony Winners (selected)
Best play: Take Me Out
Best musical: Hairspray
Best revival play: Long Day's Journey Into Night
Best revival musical: Nine
Best play actor: Brian Dennehy, Long Day's Journey Into Night
Best play actress: Vanessa Redgrave, Long Day's Journey Into Night
Best musical actress: Marissa Jaret Winokur, Hairspray
Best musical actor: Harvey Fierstein, Hairspray
Book of a musical: Hairspray, Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan
Original score: Hairspray, Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
Direction of a play: Joe Mantello, Take Me Out

Shaiman said at the awards: "We're not allowed to get married but I want to declare I love you and I'd like to live with you the rest of my life."

The pair then kissed, to the applause of the audience, as the show was going out on live television.

'Perfect world'

Later in the evening actor Denis O'Hare, who won award for his portrayal of a gay baseball player in Take Me Out, thanked his boyfriend for his support.

"It's gay night out there. It's amazing," he said.

And collecting her best featured actress for Hollywood Arms, Michele Pawk was equally enthusiastic.

"I have never ever been more proud to be a member of this community," she said.

"Men kissing each other on stage, drag queens, children - it's a perfect world. As it should be."

The Tonys are the most coveted awards in US theatre, recognising all involved in staging musicals and plays.

Top billing this year went to Hairspray, which won eight awards and is based on the cult John Waters film celebrating the pop culture of his youth.

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09 Jun 03  |  Entertainment
Hairspray leads Tony nominations
12 May 03  |  Entertainment

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