Page last updated at 09:44 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 10:44 UK

Billy Elliot sweeps Tony awards

Trent Kowalik performs a segment from the musical Billy Elliot at the Tony Awards in New York
The musical is based on the 2000 Oscar-nominated film

The Broadway production of the British hit musical Billy Elliot has taken 10 Tony Awards at a ceremony in New York, including best musical.

The three young actors who share the title role got a unique best actor prize. Its director also won a Tony.

The show about a miner's son from northern England who dreams of dancing has taken Broadway by storm.

However, the musical and its composer, Sir Elton John, lost out in best score category which went to Next to Normal.

Sir Elton helped accept the best musical Tony, telling the audience: "Thank you for accepting us so beautifully on Broadway.

"We came here at a hard time economically. You opened up your wallets and you opened up your hearts to us. And we love you for it, thank you."

'Blessed'

Billy Elliot, the Musical is based on the 2000 Oscar-nominated film which starred Jamie Bell.

Both the film and the musical were directed by Britain's Stephen Daldry.

"I have been blessed in my life to spend the majority of the last 10 years of my life working on the story of Billy Elliot," said Daldry, calling it a "long, extraordinary journey".

He said the award belonged to everyone connected to the show and especially to "three great gifts of Broadway, our three little Billys", referring to actors David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish.

After the ceremony, Daldry said that he was a "happy bunny" and "genuinely thrilled" that the musical had been accepted on Broadway and celebrated at the Tonys.

Eric Fellner of Working Title who produced both the film and play said: "We are delighted and honoured by the amazing recognition the Tony voters have shown us.

"To have been embraced by the Broadway community so warmly has been brilliant and you can be certain we will be back."

The musical opened in London in 2005. A Sydney production followed in 2007.

Separately, British actress Natasha Richardson was singled out during the award ceremony's In Memoriam section. She died earlier this year following a skiing accident in Canada.



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