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To the surprise of absolutely no one, "The Book of Mormon" musical dominated the 65th annual Tony Awards on Sunday, winning the award as Best Musical and becoming one of the most honored productions in Broadway history.
"Come on," said Chris Rock, who presented the night's final award. "We know what the best musical is. This is such a waste of time. It's like taking a hooker to dinner, OK?"
Broadway neophytes Trey Parker and Matt Stone thanked their "South Park" fans and the audiences who are packing the show.
"You guys made this show what it is," Parker said. "And therefore, you're going to have to atone for it one day."
He went on to jokingly thank the "co-writer who passed away. Mr. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion. He couldn't be here tonight, but you did it, Joseph! You got the Tony!"
That came as a bit of a surprise, but domination of the 2011 Tonys by "The Book of Mormon" did not.
The three-hour ceremony served as a build-up to the foregone conclusion that the boisterous, irreverent, hilarious, profane and, yes, surprisingly sweet production would win the big award.
"Oh, I don't think there was any question about it," said Utahn Bill Becker, who produced the Tony-winning 2002 production of "Into the Woods." "You don't see many shows that get that many nominations.
"And I thought it was just plain, good entertainment."
"The Book of Mormon" won nine Tonys on 14 nominations. Only "The Producers" (12) and "South Pacific" (10) have taken home more Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre aka Tonys.
"The Book of Mormon" follows two Salt Lake City Mormon missionaries sent to Africa, where they discover it's nothing like they expected.
It was written by Parker and Stone, who created "South Park," and Robert Lopez, co-creator of the irreverent, Tony-winning musical "Avenue Q." And "The Book of Mormon" is irreverent, too. More irreverent.
The toughest part of the Tonys for "The Book of Mormon" may have been finding a number to perform for the CBS telecast. But Andrew Rannells (nominated for best actor in a musical), almost alone on stage, brought down the house with his rendition of "I Believe."
Nikki M. James, who won as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her role as Nabalungi, thanked Parker, Stone and Lopez "for writing the most incredible show, the funniest and most beautiful, heartfelt musical that's changing the face of American musical theater."
"The Book of Mormon" is a box-office smash, so its success on Sunday night is sort of frosting on the cake.
"I think ['The Book of Mormon'] will continue to do very well from a business point of view," Becker said, "because they've just got so much of a national following for the two writers."
'The Book of Mormon' wins nine Tonys
Best book of a musical: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone
Best director: Parker and Casey Nicholaw
Best featured actress: Nikki M. James
Best original score: Parker, Lopez and Stone
Best orchestrations: Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus
Best lighting design of a musical: Brian MacDevitt
Best sound design of a musical: Brian Ronan
Best scenic design of a musical: Scott Pask