British actor James Corden has beaten several Hollywood stars to win a Tony award for his hit show "One Man, Two Guvnors", giving an emotional acceptance speech at the New York ceremony.
The 33-year-old, who rose to fame through the television comedy Gavin and Stacey, trumped actors including Philip Seymour Hoffman and James Earl Jones to take the gong Sunday night for best leading actor in a play.
He said of his rivals, "To be on a list with you was enough and holding this, it honestly just reminds me that there is no such thing as best.
"Honestly, I am overwhelmed."
In the comic hit by Richard Bean, Corden plays a failed musician who finds employment with both a woman disguised as a gangster and a snooty former public schoolboy in 1960s Brighton. In its most famous scene, he serves them both dinner at the same time.
The production from the National Theatre has also proved a hit on the other side of the Atlantic.
Tony awards are given for excellence in theatre and are considered to be the Broadway equivalent of the Oscars. The ceremony Sunday night was held for the second consecutive year at the Beacon Theatre in New York.
Corden became tearful during his acceptance speech as he paid an emotional tribute to his girlfriend, who was in the audience.
"My girlfriend Julia gave birth to our son five days before we started rehearsals. She is my baby mama and I can't wait to marry her," he said.
"Seriously, I would not be holding this if it wasn't for her. She made me say 'us' instead of 'I' and 'we' instead of 'me', and I love her. Thank you very much."
British director John Tiffany won the award for best direction of a musical for his Broadway debut "Once", the big winner at the Tonys with eight awards.
It tells the love story between a musician and an immigrant singer and pianist in Dublin, and gained some of the most important awards: best musical, best director of a musical, and best actor for Steve Kazee, while Irish playwright Enda Walsh won best book of a musical.
The controversial musical "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess," which features a shorter version of the legendary opera by George Gershwin, won the awards for best musical revival and best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical.
Source: AFP European Edition