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Helen Mirren wins best actress in a play Tony Award for 'The Audience'

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NEW YORK — Helen Mirren, who starred this season in a familiar and regal role, has won her first Tony Award.

Mirren won for playing a sly and polished Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan's "The Audience."

She beat out Geneva Carr in "Hand to God," Elisabeth Moss from "The Heidi Chronicles," Carey Mulligan in "Skylight" and Ruth Wilson of "Constellations."

The "Prime Suspect" star was initially reluctant to play the queen since she'd already portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in the movie "The Queen," another Morgan-written story set after the 1997 death of Princess Diana.

That changed somewhat when she read Morgan's clever script for "The Audience," which imagines the private weekly meetings between the monarch and Britain's prime ministers over her six-decade reign.

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