NEW YORK // 'Billy Elliot,' the big British musical about a coal miner's son who dreams to dance, bowled over Broadway yesterday, winning 10 Tonys, including best musical and a unique best actor prize for the three young performers who share the title character. The trio - David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish - traded off thank-you's during their acceptance speech, shyly thanking people associated with the show only by their first name. They also acknowledged siblings and parents. Finally, Kiril told the cheering crowd at Radio City Music Hall: "We want to say to all the kids out there who might want to dance, 'Never give up."
The musical collected eight other awards, including director of a musical, book of a musical and choreography, but its composer Elton John was upset for best score. That award was taken by 'Next to Normal' - which seemed to stun composer Tom Kitt and lyricist Brian Yorkey. The play is based on the popular 2000 movie about a young boy who lives in the bleak coal-mining area of Northern England. His story is set against the backdrop of a bitter miners' strike.
Broadway had a surprisingly robust 2008-2009 season. Attendance during the 2008-2009 season slipped a bit (to 12.15 million from 12.27 million the previous year) but not as much as was feared because of the recession. And grosses for plays and musicals actually were a bit higher than a year earlier, setting a record of US$943.3 million (Dh3464m). Forty-three shows opened during the season, the highest number of new productions since 50 opened during the 1982-83 season. 'God of Carnage' was one of the big successes of the recently concluded Broadway season. The play recouped its more than $2m in production costs in less than three months.
The awards were voted on in 27 competitive categories by more than 800 members of the theatrical community, including producers, actors and journalists. The Tonys are presented by the League and the American Theatre Wing, a non-profit service organisation. The Wing founded the Tonys in 1947. * AP