NPH fans rejoice! The man formerly known as Barney Stinson has taken home the coveted Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role as trangender rock star Hedwig in the cult punk opera "Hedwig and the Angry Inch."
Harris transformed from HIMYM's macho womanizer to an East German singer who undergoes a tumultuous gender transition. Trading his tuxedo for fishnets, high heels and lots of glitter, Harris made a seamless switch from the television screen to the broadway stage.
"As a man, Neil is very masculine," explained choreographer Spencer Liff. "When he first put on heels and tried walking, he looked like a linebacker. He didn't know how to loosen his hips; he couldn't move his shoulders…he really was at square one."
After drawing inspiration from artists like Iggy Pop and David Bowie, and dancing to lots of Beyonce, Harris became the foul mouthed song stylist, bringing swagger and style to the iconic role like none other could.
When "Hedwig" debuted at New York's Jane Street Theatre in 1998, many doubted the taboo-laden tale of a transgender rocker would ever make it to the Broadway world. Yet the fringe musical quickly became a cult hit, leading to years of off-Broadway performances and a 2001 film adaptation.
On April 22, 2014 "Hedwig" opened on Broadway, bringing transgender issues to the forefront of pop culture consciousness. Harris, a household name and Hollywood star, was icing on the cake. As Ben Brantley wrote in The New York Times: "Mr. Harris is toting more than his own persona -- and a hefty assortment of diva wigs and costumes. He also carries the main responsibility for hoisting a taboo-flouting tale of life on the margins into the mainstream environs of Broadway."
Harris' genre-busting, gender-bending performance is as enchanting as it is revolutionary, ushering in what could be a new era of Broadway in terms of both musical style and subject matter. "As a married gay man, for me to be watching a huge TV and movie star who is not only openly gay, but famous for being completely transparent about so many aspects of his life playing this role in this show with a packed house every night… it's just a remarkable thing," said director Michael Mayer.
Harris has been nominated for four Golden Globes and has won three Emmy Awards. This is his first Tony nomination and win. Congratulations Neil, no one rocks high heels quite like you!
See a complete list of winners below:
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