"Thank you for making this so much fun, I feel very lucky that my sister Caroline and my mother are here tonight," Borle said. "Thank you for making my mom very, very happy for this great honor and this perfect moment in time."
Producers of the telecast may not be having as good a day-after as the young winners: The Tonys were seen by 6 million viewers, down significantly from last year's 6.9 million, according to preliminary Nielsen figures released Monday.
Corden, in perhaps the biggest upset of the night, took home the best actor in a play award, the same statuette that many believed Philip Seymour Hoffman was going to win as Willy Loman in a revival of "Death of a Salesman."
The 33-year-old Corden was last on Broadway in "The History Boys." Since then, he co-wrote the hit comedy series "Gavin & Stacey" for BBC and wrote the memoir "May I Have Your Attention, Please?" He was the youngest in the best actor category, which was filled with Broadway establishment leading men.
The British actor was gracious in victory, honoring his competitors: "I have to say, John Lithgow, James Earl Jones, Frank Langella, and my favorite actor in the world, Philip Seymour Hoffman, to be on a list with you is enough," he said.
But perhaps the night's most impressive graduation was Arianda's. She beat out her insanely talented elders — Tracie Bennett, Stockard Channing, Linda Lavin and Cynthia Nixon — to win the best actress in a play award.
The 27-year-old star of the kinky "Venus in Fur" had been a large reason David Ives' play had transferred from off-Broadway in 2010 to a Broadway theater this season. In the meantime, she had wowed critics playing a far-from-ditzy blonde in "Born Yesterday."
During her euphoric acceptance speech, the music swelled to try to coax her offstage. But she resisted. "I might not do this again, hold on," she implored.
Chances are she will indeed. In fact, all five seem likely to be there again.
Follow Mark Kennedy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits