Roger Robinson wins at the 63rd annual Tony Awards

Linda Armstrong | 4/12/2011, 4:40 p.m.
Roger Robinson, the only African-American actor nominated for a Tony Award this year, WON!! Yes,...
Roger Robinson wins at the 63rd annual Tony Awards

This character has previously been played by a host of African-American actresses, including Roz Ryan and Jennifer Holliday, each bringing her own spin to it. "That's the good part about the role--how everybody brings something to it. My way of doing things is that she will do whatever she has to do to get paid," Wilson remarked.

Multiple Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald also presented, which served as a well-deserved break from rehearsals for Shakespeare in the Park's "Twelfth Night," which opened Wednesday. McDonald, who came to the Tonys with her 8-year-old daughter, Zoe, said she's been enjoying her first experience working in an outdoor theater. But one of her concerns with Shakespeare is, "If you forget your lines, you can't improvise. I don't know Elizabethean," she jokingly remarked.

The big winner at this year's Tony Awards was "Billy Elliott, the Musical." It won the following: Best Musical; Best Book of a Musical--Lee Hall; Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical--Gregory Jbara; Best Scenic Design--Ian MacNeil; Best Lighting Design--Rick Fisher; Best Sound Design-- Paul Arditti; Best Direction of a Musical--Stephen Daldry; Best Choreography--Peter Darling; and Best Orchestration--Martin Koch.

The show also made Broad- way history when its three young stars, who alternate in the role of Billy Elliott--David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish--all won Tonys for Leading Actor in a Musical in their Broadway debuts. Other Tony Award winners for the evening included: "God of Carnage" for Best Play; "Next to Normal" for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical--Alice Ripley and Best Original Score; "The Norman Con- quests"--Best Revival of a Play; "Liza's at The Palace"--Best Special Theatrical Event; Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play--Geoffrey Rush for "Exit the King; "Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play--Marcia Gay Harden for "God of Carnage;" Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play-- Angela Landsbury for "Blithe Spirit;" Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical-- Karen Olivo for "West Side Story;" Best Scenic Design for a Play--Derek McLane for "33 Variations;" Best Costume Design of a Play--Anthony Ward for "Mary Stuart; "Best Costume Design of a Musical--Tim Hatley for "Shrek the Musical;" Best Sound Design for a Play--Grego- ry Clarke for "Equus;" and Best Direction of a Play--Matthew Warchus for "God of Carnage." Special Tony Awards went to Jerry Herman for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, received the Regional Theatre Tony. The Isabelle Stevenson Award went to Phyllis Newman, and publicist Shirley Herz received an Excellence in the Theatre Tony Award. Audiences got a taste of Broadway shows, and it was delicious.

You should try to see one.