And the Tony Award goes to... 'Dear Evan Hansen' for best musical

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NEW YORK (AP)- "Dear Evan Hansen," the touching, heartfelt musical about young outsiders, has won the biggest theater popularity contest - winning the best new musical trophy at the Tony Awards.

The show centers on a profoundly lonely 17-year-old who fabricates a prior friendship with a classmate who has just committed suicide. The story charts his acceptance into the young man's grieving family and the heartbreaking truths that emerge as the deception becomes more elaborate, sped along by social media.

The acclaimed musical's story is by Steven Levenson, with songs by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (recent Oscar winners for "City of Stars" from the movie "La La Land"). It stars Ben Platt.

"Dear Evan Hansen" beat out "Come From Away," ''Groundhog Day the Musical" and "Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812."

The musical won six Tonys, the most of any show. Ben Platt, a star of the "Pitch Perfect" films who recently made the list of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world, won the Tony Award for best leading actor in a musical.

The Divine Miss M has won her second Tony Award for a celebrated revival of "Hello, Dolly!"

Bette Midler won the best actress in a musical trophy for playing as matchmaker and schemer Dolly Levi, who receives her toughest challenge yet when a rich grump seeks a suitable wife.

The Grammy- and Emmy Award-winner has already won a Tony - the 1974 Special Tony Award - for "for adding luster to the Broadway season" during a concert stand at the Palace Theatre.

Midler has been wowing audiences in the show, which features the songs "Put On Your Sunday Clothes," ''Before the Parade Passes By" and "So Long Dearie." She stepped into the role previously performed by Ethel Merman, Ginger Rogers, Barbra Streisand and, of course, Carol Channing.

Midler, the prohibitive favorite, beat out Eva Noblezada, Christine Ebersole, Patti LuPone and Denee Benton.

The Tony Awards were held at Radio City Music Hall in New York.