NEW YORK — "Hadestown," the brooding musical about the underworld, has reason to smile broadly: It's the best new musical Tony Award winner and nabbed eight trophies Sunday, including a rare win for a woman director of a musical.

Playwright Jez Butterworth's "The Ferryman" was crowned best play. Bryan Cranston, Elaine May, Santino Fontana and Stephanie J. Block all won leading actor and actress awards.

The crowd at Radio City Music Hall erupted when Ali Stroker made history as the first actor in a wheelchair to win a Tony Award. Stroker, paralyzed from the chest down due to a car crash when she was 2, won for featured actresses in a musical for her work in a dark revival of "Oklahoma!"

Tony Watch-Ali Stroker
In this Thursday, May 30, 2019, photo, Ali Stroker poses for a portrait in New York. Stroker is on the cusp of musical theater history. At the upcoming Tony Awards, she became the first person in a wheelchair to win a Tony. (Photo by Scott Gries/Invision/AP)
Scott Gries/Invision/AP

"This award is for every kid who is watching tonight who has a disability, who has a limitation or a challenge, who has been waiting to see themselves represented in this arena," she said. "You are."

Rachel Chavkin, the only woman to helm a new Broadway musical this season, won the Tony for best director of a musical for "Hadestown." She told the crowd she was sorry to be such a rarity on Broadway.

"There are so many women who are ready to go. There are so many people of color who are ready to go." A lack of strides in embracing diversity on Broadway, she said, "is not a pipeline issue" but a lack of imagination.

Cranston seemed to tap into the vibe when he won the Tony for best leading man in a play award for his work as newscaster Howard Beale in a stage adaptation of "Network."

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"Finally, a straight old white man gets a break!" he joked. The star, who wore a blue pin on his suit to support reproductive rights, also dedicated his award to journalists who are in the line of fire. "The media is not the enemy of the people," he said. "Demagoguery is the enemy of the people."

The cheers for women also got a boost when Butterworth, who earlier asked the crowd to give his partner, actress Laura Donnelly, a round of applause for giving birth to their two children in two years while working on the ensemble drama, handed the best play trophy to Donnelly. A Donnelly family story inspired him to write the play.

Fontana won his first Tony Award as the cross-dressing lead in "Tootsie." Fontana, perhaps best known for his singing role as Hans in "Frozen," won in an adaptation of the 1982 Dustin Hoffman film about a struggling actor who impersonated a woman in order to improve his chances of getting a job.

Another first-time winner was Block, who earned her Tony Award for playing a legend — Cher. Block, who has had roles on "Homeland" and "Orange Is the New Black," is one of three actresses to play the title character in the musical "The Cher Show." She thanked "the goddess Cher for her life and legacy."

Other winners included the legendary May, who took home her first ever Tony for best leading actress, playing the Alzheimer's-afflicted grandmother in Kenneth Lonergan's comic drama "The Waverly Gallery."

The 73rd Annual Tony Awards - Arrivals
Billy Porter arrives at the 73rd annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 9, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

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Andre DeShields captured featured actor in a musical for "Hadestown," his first Tony at the age of 73. In his speech, he gave "three cardinal rules of my sustainability and longevity.

"One, surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you coming. Two, slowly is the fastest way to get to where you want to be, and three, the top of one mountain is the bottom of the next, so keep climbing."

Corden, in his second stint as Tony host, was at his fanboy best, whether anxiously hiding in a bathroom with previous hosts Josh Groban and Sara Bareillies or trying to provoke a Nicki Minaj-Cardi B-style beef between usually overly polite and supportive Broadway figures (Laura Linney and Audra McDonald finally obliged). He also asked celebrities to sing karaoke during the commercials.

He kicked off the show with a massive, nine-minute opening number that served as a full-throated endorsement of the live experience, with Corden beginning it seated alone on a couch in front of a TV, overwhelmed by his binge options, before taking flight with dozens of glitzy dancers from this season's shows, all filling the Radio City stage with an unprecedented volume.

"Live!/We do it live/And every single moment's unrepeatable," he sang. "Live!/We do it live/It can't be hashtagged and it isn't tweetable." But the song ended with an acknowledgement that appointment TV — Corden mentioned a long list that included "Game of Thrones," ''Fleabag," ''Black Mirror" and "The Walking Dead," among the options — is irresistible. He apologized to TV and blamed McDonald for making him criticize the small screen.

The first acting award went to Celia Keenan-Bolger, who won for best featured actress in a play for her role as Scout in "To Kill a Mockingbird." She noted that her parents read her the book when she was a child in Detroit and had burning crosses put on their lawn because they helped African Americans.

Bertie Carvel won best featured actor in a play for "Ink." He said he wished he could be with his mother, hospitalized in London: "I love you, mum."

Oscar-winning director and producer Sam Mendes won his first directing Tony Award for guiding "The Ferryman."

"The Ferryman's" Rob Howell took home two Tonys — for best play set designs and costumes. Robert Horn won for best book of a musical for "Tootsie."

Early "Hadestown" wins were for scenic design, sound design, lighting design and orchestrations. It would also go on to earn singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell a Tony for best score.

Legendary designer Bob Mackie won the Tony for best costume designs for a musical for "The Cher Show," getting laughs for saying "This is very encouraging for an 80-year-old."

The dark retelling of "Oklahoma!" beat the lush and playful revival of the rival Golden Age musical "Kiss Me, Kate" to the Tony Award for best musical revival. "The Boys in the Band" was crowned best play revival.

Sergio Trujillo won the best choreography prize for "Ain't Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations," saying in his speech that he arrived in New York decades ago without legal permission. "I'm here to tell you the American dream is alive," he said.

The awards cap a season that showed Broadway was in good shape. The shows this season reported a record $1.8 billion in sales, up 7.8 percent from last season. Attendance was 14.8 million — up 7.1 percent — and has risen steadily for decades.

Winners

Best Play

Choir Boy

The Ferryman

Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Ink

What the Constitution Means to Me

Best Musical

Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations

Beetlejuice

Hadestown

The Prom

Tootsie

Best Revival of a Play

Arthur Miller's All My Sons

The Boys in the Band

Burn This

Torch Song

The Waverly Gallery

Best Revival of a Musical

Kiss Me, Kate

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

Best Book of a Musical

Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations

Beetlejuice

Hadestown

The Prom

Tootsie

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

Be More Chill

Beetlejuice

Hadestown

The Prom

To Kill a Mockingbird

Tootsie

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Paddy Considine, The Ferryman

Bryan Cranston, Network

Jeff Daniels, To Kill a Mockingbird

Adam Driver, Burn This

Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Annette Bening, Arthur Miller's All My Sons

Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman

Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery

Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet

Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton

Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom

Derrick Baskin, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations

Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice

Damon Daunno, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

Santino Fontana, Tootsie

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show

Caitlin Kinnunen, The Prom

Beth Leavel, The Prom

Eva Noblezada, Hadestown

Kelli O'Hara, Kiss Me, Kate

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Bertie Carvel, Ink

Robin De Jesús, The Boys in the Band

Gideon Glick, To Kill a Mockingbird

Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This

Benjamin Walker, Arthur Miller's All My Sons

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman

Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill a Mockingbird

Kristine Nielsen, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Julie White, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Ruth Wilson, King Lear

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

André De Shields, Hadestown

Andy Grotelueschen, Tootsie

Patrick Page, Hadestown

Jeremy Pope, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations

Ephraim Sykes, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Lilli Cooper, Tootsie

Amber Gray, Hadestown

Sarah Stiles, Tootsie

Ali Stroker, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

Mary Testa, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Miriam Buether, To Kill a Mockingbird

Bunny Christie, Ink

Rob Howell, The Ferryman

Santo Loquasto, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Jan Versweyveld, Network

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations

Peter England, King Kong

Rachel Hauck, Hadestown

Laura Jellinek, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

David Korins, Beetlejuice

Best Costume Design of a Play

Rob Howell, The Ferryman

Toni-Leslie James, Bernhardt/Hamlet

Clint Ramos, Torch Song

Ann Roth, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Ann Roth, To Kill a Mockingbird

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Michael Krass, Hadestown

William Ivey Long, Beetlejuice

William Ivey Long, Tootsie

Bob Mackie, The Cher Show

Paul Tazewell, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Neil Austin, Ink

Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Peter Mumford, The Ferryman

Jennifer Tipton, To Kill a Mockingbird

Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden, Network

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Kevin Adams, The Cher Show

Howell Binkley, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations

Bradley King, Hadestown

Peter Mumford, King Kong

Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini, Beetlejuice

Best Sound Design of a Play

Adam Cork, Ink

Scott Lehrer, To Kill a Mockingbird

Fitz Patton, Choir Boy

Nick Powell, The Ferryman

Eric Sleichim, Network

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Peter Hylenski, Beetlejuice

Peter Hylenski, King Kong

Steve Canyon Kennedy, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations

Drew Levy, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown

Best Direction of a Play

Rupert Goold, Ink

Sam Mendes, The Ferryman

Bartlett Sher, To Kill a Mockingbird

Ivo van Hove, Network

George C. Wolfe, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Best Direction of a Musical

Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown

Scott Ellis, Tootsie

Daniel Fish, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

Des McAnuff, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations

Casey Nicholaw, The Prom

Best Choreography

Camille A. Brown, Choir Boy

Warren Carlyle, Kiss Me, Kate

Denis Jones, Tootsie

David Neumann, Hadestown

Sergio Trujillo, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations

Best Orchestrations

Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, Hadestown

Simon Hale, Tootsie

Larry Hochman, Kiss Me, Kate

Daniel Kluger, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

Harold Wheeler, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations