Neil Patrick Harris, who returned as emcee for the fourth time, performs with cheer-leaders for a number.
NEW YORK — The feel-good musical Kinky Boots, with songs by pop star Cyndi Lauper, won the 2013 Tony Award for best musical.
The musical is based on an obscure 2005 British film about a British shoe factory on the brink of ruin that retrofits itself into a maker of footwear for drag queens.
Lauper, whose hits include “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and “True Colors,” teamed up with playwright Harvey Fierstein to craft a story about sons and fathers, bonding at work, and red patent leather.
Kinky Boots beat out musical versions of Matilda, Bring It On, and A Christmas Story.
Kinky Boots also won for choreography and two technical awards and Billy Porter won for leading man in a musical.
Porter beat Kinky Boots co-star Stark Sands and told him from the stage:
“You are my rock, my sword, my shield. Your grace gives me presence. I share this award with you. I’m gonna keep it at my house! But I share it with you.”
Lauper and Harvey Fierstein gave Kinky Boots a fun score and a touching book that celebrates diversity.
“I want to thank Harvey Fierstein for calling me up. I’m so glad I was done with the dishes and answered the phone,” Lauper said.
In other categories, Cicely Tyson, who returned to Broadway this season for the first time in 30 years, received the Tony Award for best leading actress in a play.
In Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful, Tyson plays a widow in 1953 whose only desire is to revisit her old home in Bountiful and recapture purpose she lost when she left for Houston.
Tyson, 88, was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Sounder in 1972.
She won Emmys for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All. She was also nominated for her role in the miniseries Roots.
Meanwhile, Tracy Letts took home the trophy for best performance by an actor in a play for his portrayal of George, one-half of the bickering couple at the heart of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? He beat out Nathan Lane, Tom Hanks, David Hyde Pierce, and Tom Sturridge.
Letts, a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Co. ensemble, burst to fame when his August: Osage County won the Pulitzer and five Tonys, including the best play trophy in 2008.
In the category of lead actress in a musical, Patina Miller won for her role in the revival of Pippin. Miller won playing the same emcee part that won Ben Vereen a best-actor Tony in 1973.
Earlier in the evening, Christopher Durang’s comical Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike has won the best play Tony.
Diane Paulus and Pam MacKinnon both won for directing.
Paulus won her first Tony for directing Pippin.
MacKinnon won for directing Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, a year after earning her first nomination for helming Clybourne Park.
Andrea Martin, 66, who won as featured actress in a musical, plays Pippin’s grandmother and sings the music-hall favorite “No Time at All,” stuns audiences nightly by doing jaw-dropping stunts that would make someone a fraction of her age blanch.
The Tonys were broadcast live by CBS from Radio City Music Hall.
Neil Patrick Harris was back for his fourth turn as emcee and led a show featuring talented children and pulse-pounding musical numbers.
Courtney B. Vance won for best featured actor in a play for portraying a newspaper editor opposite Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy.