'SUNSET BOULEVARD' AND 'LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION!' TAKE TOP AWARDS AT THE TONYS

The mega-musical "Sunset Boulevard" captured Broadway's top honor, as best musical. It also won six other Tony Awards, more than any other show. And for the third consecutive year, a gay-themed work took top honors, with "Love! Valour! Compassion!" becoming the Tony Awards' best play.

"Sunset Boulevard," Andrew Lloyd Webber's lavish spectacle based on the 1950 movie of the same title, was named best musical on Sunday night, beating out its sole competition in the category, "Smoky Joe's Cafe," while star Glenn Close was named best actress.

Other Tonys for "Sunset Boulevard" included best book and best score, which it received automatically last month as there were no other nominees.

The musical "Showboat" won a total of five Tonys, including best revival of a musical and best director for veteran Hal Prince - his 20th Tony - while an acclaimed revival of "The Heiress," based on Henry James's novel "Washington Square," was chosen as best revival of a play. It also won a Tony for Cherry Jones as best actress in the title role.

Having named the two parts of Tony Kushner's epic, "Angels in America," the top prize for the past two years, Tony voters selected Terrence McNally's "Love! Valour! Compassion!" as the season's best play. The comedy-drama, about seven homosexuals spending weekends in the country, also won a best featured actor Tony for John Glover.

Tonys for best actor went to Ralph Fiennes for "Hamlet," and Matthew Broderick for his role in the revival of the musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

Among featured performers in musicals, the Tonys went to Gretha Boston, who plays Queenie in "Showboat," and George Hearn, who won his second Tony, this time as the fanatically devoted butler in "Sunset Boulevard."

"Sunset" also won best lighting and best scenic design, while "Showboat" won for costumes and choreography.

The four awards for "The Heiress" fell in major categories, including best featured actress, Frances Sternhagen, her second Tony, and best director, Gerald Gutierrez.

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