NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Tony Awards kicked off Sunday night with Helen Mirren winning for a familiar role and the songwriters of “Fun Home” making history — but during a commercial break.

Mirren won her first Tony for playing a sly and polished Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan’s “The Audience.”

The “Prime Suspect” star already won an Oscar for playing the monarch in the movie “The Queen.”

Richard McCabe also won a featured actor trophy for playing one of the prime ministers in the show.

Photos: 2015 Tony Awards At Radio City Music Hall

During a commercial break, “Fun Home” songwriters Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron became the first female writing team to nab a Tony for musical score. Kron also won for best book of a musical.

The poignant and groundbreaking coming-of-age show “Fun Home” was named best musical, one of five big trophies it won on the way to making history for its composing team.

Two veteran Broadway stars — Cerveris and Kelli O’Hara of “The King and I” — took lead acting Tonys home, while a young man who just last year graduated from drama school won the Tony for best actor in a play.

Cerveris won his second Tony for playing the closeted and suicidal father at the heart of “Fun Home” while O’Hara got her first Tony after six nominations, winning for her role as the English school teacher in a revival of the classic musical “The King and I.”

“I love what I do and I don’t need this but now that I have it I’ve some things to say,” she said. “My parents who are sitting next to me for the sixth time, you don’t have to pretend it’s OK this time.”

The London-born actor Alex Sharp won for the best lead actor in a play award for “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” beating out Bradley Cooper and Bill Nighy.

“This time last year I was picked up my diploma graduating from Julliard, so to be holding this is insane. Thank you so, so much for this,” he said. “I just want to dedicate this to any young person out there who feels misunderstood or who feels different and answer that question at the end of the play for you: Does that mean I can do anything? Yes it does.”

His win was part of a huge five-trophy haul for the adaptation of Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel. It also won best play, lighting, scenic design and earned its director Marianne Elliott a Tony, too, with a total of six nominations going into the evening.

“An American in Paris,” which had a co-leading 12 nominations, won four technical awards, including best scenic design and one for Christopher Wheeldon for best choreographer.

Tony Award-winners Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming were this year’s hosts.

They pair opened with a low-key medley of jokes and songs that displayed their playful, daffy chemistry. Chenoweth and Cumming sang  snippets from “It Takes Two,” “There’s Nothing Like a Dame” and “Willkommen” from “Cabaret,” in which Cumming recently finished a year on Broadway.

As 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported, it was a great year for Broadway, racking up nearly $1.5 million at the box office with 13 million attendees.

Theater lovers lined up outside Radio City Music Hall ahead of the show to get a glimpse of the star-studded action.

And everyone has their favorite. Eric told D’Auria he loves the show “Something Rotten!”

“It was just hysterical. The music was great and the acting — it was just awesome. I love Broadway,” he said.

Sunday night’s extravaganza features 11 performances and 24 competitive Tonys will be handed out, some tucked in during commercial breaks.

Web Extra: At The Tonys With CBS2’s Dana Tyler

The three-hour telecast on CBS included appearances by Jennifer Lopez, Sting, Jim Parsons, Amanda Seyfried, Larry David and Ashley Tisdale.

The nominated musicals “On the Twentieth Century,” “Something Rotten!” “The Visit,” “The King and I,” “On the Town,” “Fun Home” and “An American in Paris” performed.

A few other non-nominated shows — like Vanessa Hudgens’ “Gigi” and Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer with “Finding Neverland” — also got a spot.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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