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War Horse wins big at the Tony Awards

Published 13 June 2011

The National Theatre’s First World War drama War Horse stormed the play categories at last night’s Tony Awards, taking home an impressive five awards including the coveted Best Play accolade.

First adapted from Michael Morpurgo’s children’s novel in 2007 for the Southbank venue’s Olivier theatre, the story of a boy searching for his beloved horse in war torn France transferred to the West End in 2009 before opening on Broadway at the Lincoln Center Theater earlier this year.

Collecting their shared award for Best Director of a Play, Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris looked overwhelmed by the show’s award success, saying “We want to thank the extraordinary craft and skill of our creative team, some of whom have been honoured tonight too. It has been an amazing privilege to work with them. And also to thank the people who took blind leaps of faith to take on this show, starting really with the National Theatre in London.”

Creative team members Rae Smith (Best Scenic Design of a Play), Paule Constable (Best Lighting Design) and Christopher Shutt (Best Sound Design) were also awarded for their work on the show.

Rounding up the night’s success for the production, Handspring Puppet Company, the company behind the show’s scene stealing life-sized horse puppets, was awarded the Special Tony Award.

British success was shared by Mark Rylance who won Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play. The much lauded actor, who first won a Tony Award in 2008 for Boeing Boeing, took home the award for his performance in Jerusalem which transferred to Broadway following its Olivier Award-winning London run at the Royal Court theatre and in the West End last year. In a characteristically eccentric speech, the actor accepted his award, saying: “Unlike flying or astral projection, walking through walls is a totally earth related craft but a lot more interesting than pot making or drift wood lamps.”

In the musical categories, the recently opened Broadway version of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert took home Best Costume Design of a Musical, but the night’s biggest winner was satirical musical The Book Of Mormon which won a total of nine out of its 14 nominations, including Best New Musical.

CM

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