The Tony Awards are a celebration of life, of song, of diversity, and of love. But as the cameras scanned the room of glittering songbirds and actors, you could see silver ribbons attached to lapels and gowns. You could see rainbow badges catching the light, and you could see mournful eyes and, at times, diamond tears making tracks down impeccably made-up faces.
All of these gestures pointed toward the tragedy that shattered the lives of those involved in the Orlando gay nightclub shooting – and the wider LGBT community.
When we experience senseless violence, and devastation on such a scale, we look toward those who speak on behalf of us – the artists, the leaders, those who inspire us.
The 2016 Tony Awards, this evening in America, were filled with such dialogue.
The absolute magic of Lin Manuel-Miranda’s creation Hamilton, was used tonight to promote the need for love – with Miranda using his platform to recite an emotional sonnet.
Veteran performer and now four-time winner Frank Langella forwent the thanking of an endless list of cast members, crew, directors and producers to instead read us impassioned words:
“When something bad happens we have three choices: we let it define us, we let it destroy us or we let it strengthen us.”
The clear winner, and perhaps the defining musical of a generation – and indeed a lesson for all other generations to take on board – was Hamilton.
A story of a down-and-out immigrant rising to become a Founding Father of the United States of America, it shows humanity through the lens of rap and hip-hop, not only presenting themes of tolerance, diversity and acceptance, but also revolutionising theatre through music, lyrics, and casting.
Watch Hamilton’s Tony Awards Performance Below
Nominated a record-breaking 16 times, and winning 11 Tonys tonight, we see multiple nominations in the same categories, which shows us how Lin Manuel wrote so many brilliant roles for so many brilliant people: sharing around the light and enabling a huge amount of talent to truly shine.
We also look toward The Color Purple as a reminder of again, the spirit of community. Cynthia Erivo’s win as ‘Best Leading Actress in a Musical’ and her proclamation of admiration and adoration for the “wonderful women” she works with, gave us a feel for the strength and the ties of the many casts in the 8 blocks of Broadway.
Watch The Color Purple’s Tony Awards Performance Below
The Tonys are the epitome of tolerance and tonight was no different. Against the backdrop of tragedy, the evening sent a resounding message that we stand together, the world united, against hate and against those who do not live with love and acceptance.
Many say that we should pray for a change, but change starts here on earth, and the nights proceedings remind us to celebrate those who sing and dance and create happiness in our lives. We will live with love. #LoveIsLove
Here are all the winners from the 2016 Tony Awards:
Best Musical: Hamilton
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Leslie Odom Jnr, Hamilton
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: Renée Elise Goldberry, Hamilton
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: Daveed Diggs, Hamilton
Best Revival of a Musical: The Colour Purple
Best Book of a Musical: Lin Manuel-Miranda, Hamilton
Best Original Score: Lin Manuel-Miranda, Hamilton
Best Choreography: Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton
Best Orchestrations: Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton
Best Scenic Design of a Musical: David Rockwell, She Loves Me
Best Costume Design of a Musical: Paul Tazewell, Hamilton
Best Lighting Design of a Musical: Howell Binkley, Hamilton
Best Direction of a Musical: Thomas Kail, Hamilton
Best Play: The Humans
Best Revival of a Play: A View from the Bridge
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play: Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Frank Langella, The Father
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: Reed Birney, The Humans
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play: Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans
Best Direction of a Play: Ivo Van Hove, A View from the Bridge
Best Costume Design of a Play: Clint Ramos, Eclipsed
Best Lighting Design of a Play: Natasha Katz, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Best Scenic Design of a Play: David Zinns, The Humans
Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre: Sheldon Harnick, Marshall W. Mason
Excellence in Theatre Education: Marilyn McCormick
Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award: Brian Stokes Mitchell
Regional Theatre Tony Award: Paper Mill Playhouse
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