'Hairspray' Has Strong Hold on Tony Win

06/09/2003 8:50AM

It was a good "Hairspray" day at Sunday night's 57th annual Tony Awards.

The campy musical won a leading eight Tonys, including best musical, as hunky "X2: X-Men United" actor Hugh Jackman presided over theater's big night from New York's Radio City Music Hall.

"Hairspray" also nabbed honors for score, book, costumes and best actor Harvey Fierstein (who beat Antonio Banderas in a revival of "Nine") and best actress Marissa Jaret Winokur (a newcomer who topped longtime favorite Bernadette Peters in a revival of "Gypsy").

The production is based on John Waters's campy 1988 movie comedy set in the '60s about a chunky Baltimore girl's desire to integrate a local TV dance show. The night's other big musical, "Movin' Out," won for Twyla Tharp's choreography and Billy Joel's orchestrations.

Jackman, 34, who'll come to Broadway this fall as singer-songwriter Peter Allen in the musical biography "The Boy from Oz," demonstrated what strong lungs he has by singing a parody of "My Boy Bill" during his opening monologue. Later, he bellowed a rousing "New York, New York" during a tribute to one of that song's writers, Adolph Green, who died earlier this year.

In the drama department Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night" and Richard Greenberg's "Take Me Out" shared major dramatic honors.

O'Neill's tragic, autobiographical "Long Day," as it is nicknamed (the show runs more than four hours) took honors for its stars, Vanessa Redgrave and Brian Dennehy, and as play revival.

"Take Me Out," about the repercussions of a major league baseball player's coming out sexually, was cited as best play, director (Joe Mantello) and featured actor (Denis O'Hare).

And while Peters stopped the show with her 11 o'clock number from "Gypsy," "Rose's Turn" -- which received a standing ovation from all 6,000 people inside the Music Hall -- it was winner Winokur who had the best line of the night.

"If a 4-foot-11 chubby New York girl can get a leading role in a Broadway show and get a Tony," she gushed, "anything can happen."

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