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12 Jun 2012

British actor James Corden has said he is "thrilled beyond words" at being named best leading actor at the Tony Awards in New York.

Corden was honoured for his role in One Man, Two Guvnors, which transferred from the West End to Broadway earlier this year.

He beat the favourite, Philip Seymour Hoffman in Death of a Salesman.

The musical Once scooped eight Tonys, including best musical direction and best lead actor in a musical.

Corden fought back his emotions as he picked up his award, paying tribute to his girlfriend Julia, who gave birth to the couple's son five days before rehearsals for the show began.

He said he was "overwhelmed" at being nominated alongside such highly-regarded actors, saying: "To be on a list with you was enough and holding this, it honestly just reminds me that there is no such thing as best."

Backstage, he described his competition - Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Lithgow, Frank Langella and James Earl Jones - "as four of the finest actors alive".
'Move on'

And giving some advice to young actors, he added: "There are lots of people who will tell you you're too small, too big, too funny-looking... but the very fact I'm holding this should tell you none of that matters. If you don't give up, you can't fail."

Once is the musical adaption of an unlikely love story involving a Dublin street performer and a Czech piano player.

It is based on the Oscar-winning 2006 film, which was made in Ireland on a shoestring budget of 150,000 euros (£121,000).

The show's British director, John Tiffany, celebrated his first Tony victory.

"Once is a story about when people believe in each other they can move on in life, and so many people have believed in this project," he said in his acceptance speech.

Once leading actor Steve Kazee fought back tears as he thanked fellow cast members.

The stage version has a British pedigree, with Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson, who curate the Bond franchise, acting as producers. Director Tiffany and choreographer Steven Hoggett, also hail from England.

The play Peter and the Starcatcher won five awards, as Broadway honoured its best plays and musicals.

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess was named best musical revival and Audra McDonald won best lead actress in a musical.

Nina Arianda won best actress in a play for Venus In Fur, beating stiff competition from Tracie Bennett, Stockard Channing, Linda Lavin and Cynthia Nixon.

Clybourne Park, a satire on race relations, won the award for best play.

The awards ceremony in New York featured performances from this season's musicals, plays and revivals. Presenters included Paul Rudd, Christopher Plummer and Angela Lansbury.


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