NEW YORK — The bittersweet musical "Once" captured eight Tony Awards on Sunday, including best musical direction, best lead actor in a musical and the top musical prize itself.

The inventive play "Peter and the Starcatcher" was next with five awards. Audra McDonald was named best lead actress in a musical and her "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" was named best musical revival.

Nina Arianda, a rising star, won best leading actress in a play, beating stiff competition from Tracie Bennett, Stockard Channing, Linda Lavin and Cynthia Nixon.

In perhaps the biggest shock of the night, James Corden nabbed the lead acting Tony Award in a play for his clownish turn in the British import "One Man, Two Guvnors." He beat out the favorite, Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Death of a Salesman."

Click through for the Tony nominees' favorite shows of the year:
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  • John Lithgow

    There's something in the water, there's so much great playwriting going on in America, in theater, and I'm so excited to be a part of it. And I could list about 10 great things. I think my favorite play of the year was a play called "<a href="http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/Shows-Events/Sons-of-the-Prophet.aspx" target="_hplink"><strong>Sons of the Prophet</strong></a>" that Roundabout produced. I loved that play. But believe me, there are lots of them! <em>- John Lithgow, nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for "The Columnist"</em>

  • David Alan Grier

    "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/08/venus-in-fur-broadway-hugh-dancy_n_1081797.html" target="_hplink"><strong>Venus in Fur</strong></a>" was kick ass. I recommend it to everyone. <em>- David Alan Grier, nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess"</em>

  • Laura Osnes

    I have to say "<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/newsies-broadway_n_1388046.html" target="_hplink">Newsies</a></strong>." I loved it. <em>- Laura Osnes, nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for "Bonnie & Clyde"</em>

  • Steve Kazee

    "<strong><a href="http://peterandthestarcatcher.com/" target="_hplink">Peter and the Starcatcher</a></strong>" is the most amazing piece of theater I think I've ever seen. It really was stunning, and it made we want to be a kid again, and made me want to pretend... which I do on a nightly basis. <em>- Steve Kazee, nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for "Once"</em>

  • Christopher Gattelli

    Oh, that's really hard! I would say "<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/05/judith-light-other-desert-cities_n_1128989.html" target="_hplink">Other Desert Cities</a></strong>" since we've been talking about it, and it's one of the few things I've seen since I've been in production, but I would say, yeah. "Other Desert Cities" was phenomenal. <em>- Christopher Gattelli, nominated for Best Choreography for "Newsies"</em>

  • Pam MacKinnon

    Can I say off-Broadway, too? I really loved "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/05/tribes-off-broadway-play-_n_1322118.html" target="_hplink"><strong>Tribes</strong></a>," loved that. I just saw "<strong><a href="http://www.superstaronbroadway.com/" target="_hplink">Jesus Christ Superstar</a></strong>" last week and was really blown away. I think Josh [Young] is amazing as Judas. I mean -- there's a lot of stuff out there. <em>- Pam Mackinnon, nominated for Best Direction of a Play for "Clybourne Park"</em>

  • Josh Young

    "<strong><a href="http://thelyonsbroadway.com/" target="_hplink">The Lyons</a></strong>." I loved it. In fact, I told my sister who's going to go see it this weekend. <em>- Josh Young, nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for "Jesus Christ Superstar"</em>

  • Jeff Calhoun

    Honestly, I would say it'd have to be "<strong><a href="http://peterandthestarcatcher.com/" target="_hplink">Peter and the Starcatcher</strong>."</a> <em>- Jeff Calhoun, nominated for Best Direction of a Musical for "Newsies"</em>

  • Norm Lewis

    I would say "<a href="http://www.broadway.com/shows/best-man/" target="_hplink"><strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wilborn-hampton/the-best-man-gore-vidal_b_1396155.html" target="_hplink">The Best Man</a></strong></a>." "<a href="http://streetcaronbroadway.com/" target="_hplink"><strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/03/a-streetcar-named-desire-blair-underwood_n_1400983.html" target="_hplink">A Streetcar Named Desire</a></strong></a>." I love both of those, and now musicals I mean I want people to go see "<strong><a href="http://leapoffaithbroadway.com/" target="_hplink">Leap of Faith</a></strong>," gosh "<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/newsies-broadway_n_1388046.html" target="_hplink">Newsies</a></strong>." "Newsies," yeah. Absolutely. <em>- Norm Lewis, nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess"</em>

  • Roger Rees

    Oh gosh, it's very hard to know, isn't it? There's a very nice production of "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/20/christina-ricci-a-midsummer-nights-dream_n_1161258.html" target="_hplink"><strong>A Midsummer Night's Dream</strong></a>" down at the Classic Stage Company with Taylor Mac playing Puck, and he appears as Puck in many different guises. He comes on in a striking costume with a fright wig, then he comes on as Alice in Wonderland, then he comes on as an elephant. It's fantastic, he's fantastic. It's a great little production. It's very good. <em>- Roger Rees, nominated for Best Direction of a Play for "Peter and the Starcatcher"</em>

  • Alan Menken

    "<strong><a href="http://peterandthestarcatcher.com/" target="_hplink">Peter and the Starcatcher</a></strong>." It's a lot of fun. I saw it, I loved it, and I said you guys should make it into a musical. Little did I think it was going to be my competition. <em>- Alan Menken, nominated for Best Original Score for "Newsies"</em>

  • Michael Cerveris

    Well I can't speak with authority on everything because I haven't gotten to see everything yet, but I saw "<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/07/steve-kazee-once-interview_n_1578116.html?ref=culture" target="_hplink">Once</a></strong>" and I really loved it. I loved the film to begin with and really adored the production, and I thought Steve and Cristin and the whole company were just so fantastic. I wept openly throughout most of it. <em>- Michael Cerveris, nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for "Evita"</em>