Tonys: Neil Patrick Harris Wins Best Lead Actor in a Musical
Neil Patrick Harris won the Tony for lead actor in a musical on Sunday for his starring role in the revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
"This is crazypants," said Harris upon accepting the award at Radio City Music Hall. The win marked Harris' first Tony Award after having hosted the ceremony four times to great acclaim (and three Primetime Emmy wins) in previous years.
Harris stars as the title character, a transgender East Berlin rocker, in the cult musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask. The revival also features Lena Hall, who won as featured actress in a musical for her role as Hedwig's gender-ambiguous husband.
During the run-up to the Tony Awards, Harris also tied with A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder's Jefferson Mays for the Drama Desk award and took home the Drama League's Distinguished Performance Award.
"That's such a ferocious part, and having just spent the better part of a decade playing an alpha male, sitcom scenery-chewer, it felt like, 'Wow, it would be impressive on many levels to be able to be in, essentially, a one-person show,' " he said. "I was also terrified by the notion of being so flamboyant and feminine and carrying myself in a way that I've just never ever done -- I have no previous history with heels or wigs. … If you challenge yourself through things that you're afraid of, on this scale especially, it demands attention. Personal attention, I mean -- not from fans or from people watching -- but you have to be on point. You can't phone it in."
Harris also performed surprise concerts in order to prepare for the rock musical.
He previously admitted to The Hollywood Reporter that the title character's femininity was the hardest part of the transformation for him to crack. "It's tough to strut around in high heels and not feel a fool, tough to manage a full wig of hair, to cock a wrist, to embrace a bra and not feel like you are somehow going to be exposed. … But in a role like this, you have to commit. You can't tiptoe, you have to bulldoze. And the more I trusted, the further I went, the better it felt. Now her mannerisms seem second nature."