The trio _ David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish _ traded off thank-yous during their acceptance speech, shyly thanking people associated with the show only by their first name. They also acknowledged siblings and parents. Finally, Kulish 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.'"
"Billy Elliot" 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 "Normal" composer Tom Kitt and lyricist Brian Yorkey. Alice Ripley, who portrays battling mental illness in "Next to Normal," received the actress musical prize.
"God of Carnage," Yasmina Reza's savage comedy of manners about two liberal, middle-class couples whose children get into a fight, was named best play and picked up two other major awards, one for its director, Matthew Warchus, and the other for actress Marcia Gay Harden.
Reza, who previously won a best-play Tony for "Art," said: "Maybe you missed my accent; you wanted to hear it again. I'm very grateful for all the people who gave their best for the production."
"The Norman Conquests," Alan Ayckbourn's trilogy, received the revival-play prize, while "Hair," the iconic 1960s rock extravaganza roared to a win in the musical-revival category.
The director/musical award went to Stephen Daldry of "Billy Elliot."
"I have been blessed in my life to spend the majority of last 10 years of my life working on the story of 'Billy Elliot,'" said Daldry, who called it "a long, extraordinary journey."