Jodie Comer wins best actress, Ariana DeBose hosts

NEW YORK — The show must go on

Despite the ongoing Hollywood writers’ strike, it wasn’t curtains for this year’s Tony Awards, which moved forward Sunday with a slightly reworked ceremony at the United Palace Theatre in Washington Heights, New York.

Oscar winner Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”) returned to host the telecast on CBS, which featured no scripted banter during the presentation of awards. The result was a surprisingly seamless and performance-heavy show, led by standout numbers from Ben Platt (“Parade”) and Lea Michele (“Funny Girl”). 

“Kimberly Akimbo,” a musical about a 16-year-old girl (Victoria Clark) who ages four times faster than the average person, picked up the night’s biggest trophy for best musical, along with prizes for best actress (Clark), best score and best book. Tom Stoppard’s “Leopoldstadt,” a decades-spanning drama about a Jewish family, earned best play, while Sean Hayes (“Good Night, Oscar”) and Jodie Comer (“Prima Facie”) took top acting honors for their respective plays. 

Here are the top moments of the night: 

Ariana DeBose does the thing with unscripted opening number 

After starting last year’s show with a frenetic mashup of show tunes, DeBose returned to the Tonys with a stunning, wordless opening number. After leafing through a blank script, she proceeded to twirl, kick, leap and flip through the United Palace with a group of dancers. She then launched into an unscripted introduction explaining the significance of the writers’ strike and what it meant for Sunday’s ceremony. 

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