A `dark and witty' musical with songs by Australian Tim Minchin has scooped four 2013 Tony Awards, including best performance by an actor in a featured role, best lighting design, best scenic design and best book.

Minchin penned the score and lyrics to Matilda, a musical adaptation of the novel by Roald Dahl that is still running in London, but wasn't at the awards in New York City's Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, opting instead to stay in Sydney to perform in the latest incarnation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Jesus Christ Superstar.

The British import picked up 12 nominations in all - second only to the Cyndi Lauper-scored Kinky Boots with a leading 13 nominations.

Christopher Durang's comical Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike won the best play Tony.

Lauper, who wrote the hit Girls Just Want to Have Fun, was part of an impressive group of women who took top honours at the ceremony.

Lauper and Harvey Fierstein have given Kinky Boots - originally a 2005 film about a failing shoe factory that turns to making drag queen boots - a fun score and a touching book that celebrates diversity.

Diane Paulus and Pam MacKinnon both won for directing - a rare time women have won directing Tonys for both a musical and a play in the same year.

Paulus won her first Tony for directing the crackling, high-energy revival of the musical Pippin, which also earned the best revival honour and helped Patina Miller earn a best leading actress trophy.

MacKinnon won for directing the play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, a year after earning her first nomination for helming Clybourne Park.

Her revival of Edward Albee's story of marital strife won the best play revival and earned Tracy Letts his first acting Tony, an upset beating of Tom Hanks.

Presenters included Jesse Eisenberg, Jon Cryer, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anna Kendrick, Zachary Quinto, Sally Field, Audra McDonald, Alan Cumming and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

 

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