The Inheritance and Moulin Rouge! The Musical won the top honours at Broadway's Tony Awards on Sunday in a four-hour ceremony that promoted the return of live theatre and called for better opportunities for black writers and performers.
"Tonight feels like a homecoming," said host Audra McDonald. "The lights are on, we are here, we are back."
The annual awards show was not held in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic that shut down live performances for 18 months.
Many of the big shows, including Hamilton, The Lion King and Wicked, had emotional reopenings this month marked by tears and joy on and off stage. Audiences must be fully vaccinated and masks are required.
"It's been over a year but the Tonys are here," sang Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr, opening the TV special called Broadway's Back that featured appearances by stars ranging from John Legend and Jake Gyllenhaal to Chita Rivera and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical, based on the 2001 movie, won 10 awards, including best musical, and for lead actor Aaron Tveit.
Carmen Pavlovic, a co-producer of Moulin Rouge! The Musical, said every show deserved to get an award after the punishing past 18 months, including "the shows that opened, the shows that closed not to return, the shows that nearly opened, and of course, the shows that paused and were fortunate enough to be reborn".
The Inheritance was named best play and won two other Tonys. It also brought an impassioned appeal from its playwright Matthew Lopez, who is of Puerto Rican heritage.
"This is the 74th Tony Awards and yet I am only the first Latinate writer to win in this category," said Lopez. "This must change. We are a vibrant community ... We have so many stories to tell. They are inside of us, aching to come out."
A Soldier's Play, about the murder of a black officer on a US army base in 1944, was voted best play revival. Yet it was a disappointing night for Slave Play, a provocative show about race and sexuality that went into Sunday's ceremony with a leading 12 nominations, but won none of them.
"The table's got to be bigger," said Kenny Leon, director of A Soldier's Play, saying Broadway needs to do better to elevate black voices.
The anti-racism non-profit Broadway Advocacy Coalition that fights to make theatre more diverse, was given an honorary award.
The TV special featured live song and dance performances from many shows, including Jagged Little Pill, Ain't Too Proud, American Utopia, and Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, the original stars of Wicked.
A Christmas Carol, a stage adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel with music, won five awards, while newcomer Adrienne Warren won Best Actress in a Musical for her titular role in Tina – The Tina Turner Musical.
The full list of winners at the 2021 Tony Awards
Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Best Revival of a Play
A Soldier's Play
Best Book of a Musical
Diablo Cody, Jagged Little Pill
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
A Christmas Carol, Christopher Nightingale
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Andrew Burnap, The Inheritance
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Mary-Louise Parker, The Sound Inside
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Aaron Tveit, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Adrienne Warren, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
David Alan Grier, A Soldier's Play
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Lois Smith, The Inheritance
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Danny Burstein, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Lauren Patten, Jagged Little Pill
Best Scenic Design of a Play
Rob Howell, A Christmas Carol
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Derek McLane, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Best Costume Design of a Play
Rob Howell, A Christmas Carol
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Catherine Zuber, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Hugh Vanstone, A Christmas Carol
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Justin Townsend, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Best Sound Design of a Play
Simon Baker, A Christmas Carol
Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Best Direction of a Play
Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance
Best Direction of a Musical
Alex Timbers, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Sonya Tayeh, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Katie Kresek, Charlie Rosen, Matt Stine and Justin Levine, Moulin Rouge! The Musical