ART’s Diane Paulus, ‘Pippin’ win big at Tony Awards

Diane Paulus accepts the Tony Award for best direction of a musical for "Pippin." (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
Diane Paulus accepts the Tony Award for best direction of a musical for "Pippin." (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

The 67th Tony Awards was a very big night for “Pippin,” and for Boston-area theater.

For Diane Paulus, the third time was the charm. The American Repertory Theater artistic director won her first Tony for directing tonight, collecting the trophy for her popular revival of “Pippin,” which won the Tony for best revival of a musical. Paulus had previously been nominated for her revivals of “Hair” and “The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess.”

In her acceptance speech, Paulus gave thanks to all at the ART where the show was created, the Boston audiences who saw it first, and Harvard president Drew Faust, whom she quoted as saying “creativity is a form of knowledge.”

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Patina Miller of “Pippin” also won the award for leading actress, saying it was a childhood dream come true. She thanked Paulus and called her “a visionary.” And veteran actress Andrea Martin won the Tony for featured actress in a musical for her role as Berthe in “Pippin,” bringing the show’s total number of awards to four. The excited Martin thanked the “extraordinary” Paulus for giving her the opportunity.

Meanwhile, the Huntington Theatre Company won the award for the best regional theater. Huntington artistic director Peter DuBois and managing director Michael Maso accepted the award, thanking Boston University and saying that with the award, they celebrated “the proud, passionate and resilient people of the great city of Boston, Massachusetts.”

“How I Met Your Mother” star Neil Patrick Harris returned for the fourth time to host and got a hand from seemingly every cast member of every show on Broadway, including Mike Tyson — who had a one-man show this season — for a spectacular opening number that included acrobatics and magic tricks. Performances came from many of the nominated musicals and other shows running on Broadway, including “Annie,” “Matilda the Musical,” “Pippin,” and “Kinky Boots,” as well as a comic number by a group of Broadway actors who made the jump to television only to see their shows canceled.

One of the night’s most colorful acceptance speeches came from Cyndi Lauper, who took home the award for best score for “Kinky Boots,” the show that also won for best musical. Overcome by emotion on her way to the stage, Lauper admitted she had been practicing her speech to the shower curtain in the days leading up to the broadcast. She thanked the Broadway community for welcoming her into the fold.

List of winners:

Featured actor in a play: Courtney B. Vance, “Lucky Guy”

Featured actress in a play: Judith Light, “The Assembled Parties”

Featured actor in a musical: Gabriel Ebert, “Matilda The Musical”

Direction of a musical: Diane Paulus, “Pippin”

Direction of a play: Pam MacKinnon, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Best Score: Cyndi Lauper, “Kinky Boots”

Featured actress in a musical: Andrea Martin, “Pippin”

Best Play: “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”

Best revival of a play:”Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Leading actor in a musical: Billy Porter, “Kinky Boots”

Leading actor in a play: Tracy Letts, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Leading actress in a play: Cicely Tyson, “The Trip to Bountiful”

Leading actress in a musical: Patina Miller, “Pippin”

Best revival of a musical: “Pippin”

Best musical: “Kinky Boots”