Hugh Jackman, who returned this year as host of the Tony Awards, kept the "X-Men" references to a minimum and put Broadway front and center during Sunday's ceremony in New York.
But last year's host, Neil Patrick Harris, also made his presence felt -- and almost stole the show -- thanks to an energetic performance from the musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and a Tony win of his own later in the evening.
Jackman kicked off the ceremony with a peculiar sequence that had many viewers scratching their heads. Bouncing like a rabbit, he hopped his way through the bowels of Radio City Music Hall, greeting the casts of the nominated shows. As it turned out, all the bouncing was an obscure reference to the "Take Me to Broadway" sequence from the 1953 movie "Small Town Girl."
The big winners of the evening were the musicals "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" and "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," which tied each other with four Tonys apiece. "Gentleman's," which won the award for new musical, had the most nominations going into Sunday's ceremony, with 10 nods.
"Hedwig" won a Tony for Harris, who stars as the eponymous transsexual rocker from East Berlin. It was the versatile actor's first Tony, and the production itself won the award for revival of a musical.
The evening's most emotional acceptance speech came from Audra McDonald, who took home her sixth Tony for her performance as Billie Holiday in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill."
"A Raisin in the Sun" received a total of three awards, including revival of a play.
Jackman enlivened the ceremony by serenading each of the lead actress nominees in the play and musical categories. He also engaged in a hip-hop trio with LL Cool J and rapper T.I., in which they performed a modernized rendition of the opening number from "The Music Man."
The Tonys have long doubled as a promotional vehicle for the Broadway industry, and this year's ceremony included performances from the musical "Wicked," which opened 10 years ago, and the forthcoming musicals "The Last Ship," from pop singer Sting, and "Finding Neverland," which Harvey Weinstein has been developing for a number of years.
In addition to one "X-Men" reference, Jackman made one plug for his upcoming Broadway play. Jez Butterworth's "The River," set to begin performances at the Circle in the Square Theatre on Oct. 31, tells the dramatic story of a fishing enthusiast who must contend with a missing woman.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times