"Take Me Out," Richard Greenberg's drama about a gay baseball player who comes out of the closet, was chosen best play.
A critically praised production of Eugene O'Neill's brooding masterpiece "Long Day's Journey Into Night" and an imaginative reworking of "Nine," starring Spanish heartthrob Antonio Banderas, took home the revival awards for play and musical.
For all four plays, it was the second time this season to pick up a trophy: each won the same categories at last month's Drama Desk awards. But they weren't the only familiar names: a long list of Tonys handed out Sunday night wound up going to the same artists who triumphed at the earlier awards ceremony.
The "Hairspray" triumph - an 8th trip to the winner's circle for the campy production, in various awards ceremonies - was a family affair for three of its performers, who play mother, daughter and father in the musical, which is based on John Waters' film set in early 1960s Baltimore.
Harvey Fierstein won for his portrayal of hefty matriarch Edna Turnblad; Dick Latessa for playing Edna's diminutive husband, Wilbur, and Marissa Jaret Winokur for her performance as their daughter, Tracy, a perky, pudgy teenager determined to get on a television dance show.
Winokur gushed as she picked up the actress-musical prize.
"If a 4-foot-11, chubby, New York girl can be a leading lady in a Broadway show and win a Tony," she said to raucous cheers, "then anything can happen!"
"Hairspray" also garnered Tonys for book, score, direction-musical and costumes.
It was Fierstein's fourth Tony Award, having won previously as the star and author of "Torch Song Trilogy" in 1983 and as author of the book for "La Cage aux Folles" in 1984.
When he took the stage, Fierstein said, "Boy, am I glad this was not a beauty contest," looking at Banderas, his main competition.
Brian Dennehy and Vanessa Redgrave, portraying parents of a very different sort, won the best actor and actress prizes for their work as the fiercely combative James Tyrone and his morphine-addled wife, Mary, in "Long Day's Journey."
An emotional Redgrave, winning her first Tony, recalled all the American actors, singers and dancers who inspired her over the years as she accepted her award.
Jane Krakowski, who makes a spectacular airborne entrance and exit in "Nine," was chosen best featured-actress in a musical.
Marc Shaiman, composer of "Hairspray," jokingly referred to the short musicians strike that shut down Broadway musicals in March during his acceptance speech.
"If anyone cuts me off, there's a virtual orchestra at 'Hairspray' on Tuesday," he said, alluding to how the threat of virtual (computer-driven) orchestras was an issue in the dispute.
Shaiman shared the award with co-lyricist Scott Wittman, with whom he's been partners - professionally and personally - for 25 years and to whom he declared his continued love.
Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, the two authors of "Hairspray," consciously talked over each other while proclaiming the need for collaboration and listening to each other.
Jack O'Brien, the show's director, also was honored.
In an upset, a visibly shocked Joe Mantello received the direction prize for his work on "Take Me Out" - an award that Robert Falls of "Long Day's Journey Into Night" was favored to win.
"Acting is a team sport and we have the best team in the world," said an enthusiastic Denis O'Hare as he picked up the prize for featured actor. O'Hare plays a nebbish business manager who discovers the joys of baseball in "Take Me Out."
Michele Pawk, who played Carol Burnett's alcoholic mother in the short-lived "Hollywood Arms," won the featured actress prize.
"I have never ever been more proud to be a member of this community," said Pawk. "Men kissing each other on stage, drag queens, children - it's a perfect world. As it should be."
Billy Joel, who won a pre-telecast award for orchestrations, opened the 2003 Tony ceremonies in Times Square, singing "New York State of Mind."
The song is featured in "Movin' Out," a dance celebration of songs by Joel, who, along with Stuart Malina, won the award for best orchestrations. The show's creator, Twyla Tharp, also garnered the award for choreography.
Joel, thrilled with the success of "Movin' Out," says it proves his songs no longer need him to be brought into the world. He adds that he's now thinking of writing a new musical for Broadway.
"La Boheme," Baz Luhrmann's lavish retelling of the Puccini opera, picked up two design awards, one for sets, created by Luhrmann's wife, Catherine Martin, and the other for lighting, by Nigel Levings.
William Ivey Long's outlandish 1960s clothes for "Hairspray," won the costume prize.
The award for special theatrical event went to "Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam on Broadway."
The Tonys, chosen in 22 categories, are voted on by more than 700 members of the theatrical community and journalists.