'Dear Evan Hansen' wins big at Tony Awards

'Dear Evan Hansen' wins big at Tony Awards

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Ben Platt, "Dear Evan Hansen".

Midler, 71, is all-but-assured of winning her first competitive Tony later on Sunday for her star turn in "Hello, Dolly!".

Midler took the best actress trophy and - to the amusement and cheers of the audience - refused to be played off, forcing the swelling orchestra into silence.

But the ultimate insider was first-time host Kevin Spacey, who danced, joked and sang his way through the telecast easily.

Kevin Kline is considered a shoo-in for his turn as the egocentric actor in Noel Cowards' "Present Laughter", while Laurie Metcalf is heavily favored as best actress for "A Doll's Life, Part 2", a sequel to the Ibsen classic. He went on to do impersonations of former President Bill Clinton and Johnny Carson. The original Broadway production in 1964 won Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Actress (Carol Channing). His Clinton joked about food and his wife's email problems, while his fictional one - accompanied by fictional wife Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) - admitted he wanted to leave before Midler started to thank anyone else. Midler last hit Broadway for the hit one-woman play I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers in 2013. Then a 1978 staging earned just a single nomination for Best Actor in a Musical (Eddie Bracken).

Those watching will see musical numbers from nine new and revival musicals, including "Bandstand", "Come From Away", "Dear Evan Hansen", "Falsettos", "Groundhog Day The Musical", "Hello, Dolly!", "Miss Saigon", "Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812", and "War Paint".

NO TECHNICAL SNAFUS: There were none of the technical or human accidents during the telecast - at least any non-Midler-related - that have marred previous awards shows, including the wrong victor announced at this year's Oscars and sound issues at the Grammys.

Spacey, who emerged as Tony host after several other celebrities turned the job down, laughs at himself in the 10-minute opening song, in which he grows comfortable with hosting duties as he connects all four best new musical nominees.

"My victories mean nothing unless I'm sharing them with you", the actor said.

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