The stage version of a 35-year-old movie won the prestigious Antoinette Perry, or Tony, Award for best musical of the 2001-2002 Broadway season. And English actors took home the top dramatic acting prizes.
"Thoroughly Modern Millie" won the first two awards of the ceremony, for choreography and orchestration. But its top competitor won the following two prizes and the two musicals seesawed back and forth for the rest of the awards ceremony. In the end, Millie, the story of a small town girl who comes to New York during the Jazz Age, won the Best Musical award and its star Sutton Foster, won the award for best actress in a musical.
But Urinetown won several awards for its music and took the top directing honors. The outlandish tale of a city that has run out of water and charges its citizens for the use of bathrooms began off-Broadway at a fringe festival. It has become a hit despite early resistance from some audiences to the title and topic.
It was not the only odd topic on Broadway this season. Edward Albee won the award for best new play for "The Goat Or Who Is Sylvia," his controversial play about an interspecies love affair. Or is it?
Seventy years after it was first performed, Noel Coward's "Private Lives" took home the prize for best revival of a play and its star, British actress Lindsay Duncan, won the award for best actress in a play. Her compatriot, Alan Bates, won the second Tony of his career as best actor for his role in a 150-year old Russian play, "Fortune's Fool," that has never been on Broadway before.
The award for best actor in a musical went to John Lithgow for his role as a ruthless gossip columnist in "Sweet Smell of Success," also based on a movie. And, a Broadway legend, 77-year-old Elaine Stritch, won her first Tony ever for her one-woman show.
The awards ceremony was broadcast nationwide from Radio City Music Hall.