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    Tony Awards Ruled by the Boys of Billy Elliot

    The stars came out in droves to this year's Tony Awards, but it was the Broadway babies who took home most of the statuettes.

    A trio of teenagers from Billy Elliot bested American Idol runner-up Constantine Maroulis and several Great White Way regulars for Best Lead Actor in a Musical.

    In fact, their show nearly swept the entire ceremony, winning 10 awards.

    Neil Patrick Harris hosted the swiftly moving event. And what he didn't bring to the bombshell of an opening number, he made up for with his jaw-dropping closer in which he recapped the winners, busted their chops and slipped in some wonderfully lewd jokes for good measure.

    But that wasn't the only razzle dazzle at the song-and-dance awards...

    The show opening, the biggest ever for the Tonys, featured some impressive collaborations, including Dolly Parton with the 9 to 5 cast, Elton and the Billys, Liza Minnelli and Poison with the cast of Rock of Ages!

    "For us, it's really killer," Poison frontman Bret Michaels told NY1 on the red carpet. "It's the most awesome yet strangest thing we've ever done." Also (almost) killer: Michaels suffered a blow to the face from a piece of scenery, but was said to be all right.

    God of Carnage scored three wins, including Best Play and Lead Actress in a Play for Marcia Gay Harden. Fellow stars Jeff Daniels and James Gandolfini were topped by Exit the King's Geoffrey Rush.

    When Minnelli beat Will Ferrell for Best Special Theatrical event, she referred to the funnyman as "her lovely man."

    "I'm crazy about Will Ferrell," she told us in the press room. "He's so charming and so talented. I watch his films all the time. They've taken me all over the world."

    The Hair hippies, who scored Best Musical Revival, gave a rousing performance of their title song and managed to mingle with the stars in the process. Nominees Will Swenson and Gavin Creel shook it on, above or with Gandolfini, Anne Hathaway, Edie Falco and Frank Langella.

    A few other stage-centric moments are sure to have viewers talking.

    People got hurt. Besides Michaels getting bonked in the opener, Sir Elton tripped off the stage in the press room.

    Jeremy Piven only had one sushi-related diss, but at least it was a good one. Thanks for that, NPH.

    Lansbury, who won for Best Featured Actress in a Play for Blithe Spirit, felt "about two feet off the ground" upon winning her award, she told the press room just before joking that the fifth Tony statuette would finally fill a void on her shelf.

    Lastly, and appropriately, Bebe Neuwirth introduced the In Memoriam montage, led with former Tony winner Natasha Richardson.

    Here's the list of winners:

    • Play: God of Carnage
    • Musical: Billy Elliot, The Musical
    • Book of a Musical: Billy Elliot, The Musical
    • Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics): Next to Normal
    • Revival of a Play: The Norman Conquests
    • Revival of a Musical: Hair
    • Special Theatrical Event: Liza's at the Palace
    • Lead Actor in a Play: Geoffrey Rush, Exit the King
    • Lead Actress in a Play: Marcia Gay Harden, God of Carnage
    • Lead Actor in a Musical: David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish, Billy Elliot, The Musical
    • Lead Actress in a Musical: Alice Ripley, Next to Normal
    • Featured Actor in a Play: Roger Robinson, Joe Turner's Come and Gone
    • Best Featured Actress in a Play: Angela Lansbury, Blithe Spirit
    • Featured Actor in a Musical: Gregory Jbara, Billy Elliot, The Musical
    • Featured Actress in a Musical: Karen Olivo, West Side Story
    • Direction of a Play: Matthew Warchus, God of Carnage
    • Direction of a Musical: Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot, The Musical
    • Scenic Design of a Play: Derek McLane, 33 Variations
    • Scenic Design of a Musical: Ian MacNeil, Billy Elliot, The Musical
    • Costume Design of a Play: Anthony Ward, Mary Stuart
    • Costume Design of a Musical: Tim Hatley, Shrek The Musical
    • Lighting Design of a Play: Brian MacDevitt, Joe Turner's Come and Gone
    • Lighting Design of a Musical: Rick Fisher, Billy Elliot, The Musical
    • Sound Design of a Play: Gregory Clarke, Equus
    • Sound Design of a Musical: Paul Arditti, Billy Elliot, The Musical
    • Choreography: Peter Darling, Billy Elliot, The Musical
    • Orchestrations: (tie) Martin Koch, Billy Elliot, The Musical, and Tom Kitt, Next to Normal
    • Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre: Jerry Herman
    • Regional Theater: Signature Theatre, Arlington, Va.
    • Isabelle Stevenson Award: Phyllis Newman
    • Honor for Excellence in the Theatre: Shirley Herz

    Check out our 2009 Tony Awards gallery and our play-by-play of the ceremony and the press room by following us on Twitter @eonline!

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