June 13, 2016 at 8:51 am EDT | by Mariah Cooper
Tony Awards honors Orlando victims; ‘Hamilton’ wins 11 awards
(Screenshot via YouTube)

(Daveed Diggs and Lin-Manuel Miranda performing in ‘Hamilton’ at 70th Annual Tony Awards. Screenshot via YouTube)

The 70th annual Tony Awards recognized the top contenders in the theatre community, but the victims of the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history was still top of mind.

Host James Corden began the awards show with a message to Orlando.

“On behalf of the whole theater community and every person in this room, our hearts go out to all of those affected by this atrocity,” Corden said in reference to the Orlando massacre at gay nightclub Pulse early Sunday morning. “All we can say is you are not on your own right now. Your tragedy is our tragedy. Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, is embraced and is loved. Hate will never win. Together, we have to make sure of that. Tonight’s show stands as a symbol and a celebration of that principle. This is the Tony Awards.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda accepted the award for Best Score for his musical brainchild “Hamilton” by reciting a sonnet that served as a moving tribute to both his wife Vanessa Nadal and to the Orlando victims.

“When senseless acts of tragedy remind us. That nothing here is promised, not one day. This show is proof that history remembers. We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger. We rise and fall, and light from dying embers. Remembrances that hope and love last longer. And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love; Cannot be killed or swept aside. I sing Vanessa’s symphony; Eliza tells her story. Now fill the world with music, love, and pride,” Miranda tearfully read.

The “Hamilton” cast performed “History Has Its Eyes on You” and “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down), with the latter performance including a noted difference between the Broadway production and the Tony performance. This particular performance did not include prop guns in the choreography. New York Times theater reporter tweeted early Sunday the cast had decided to omit the muskets from the stage in light of the Orlando tragedy.

Actor Frank Langella accepted the award for Best Lead Actor in a Play for “The Father” and used his speech, which he admitted in the press room following his win to writing before the broadcast, to offer encouraging words to Orlando.

“I found some words that will mean more to you than a list of names,” Langella said. “When something bad happens we have three choices: we let it define us, we let it destroy us, or we let it strengthen us. Today in Orlando we had a hideous dose of reality, and I urge you Orlando to remain strong.”

The Tony Awards also  tweeted Sunday evening nominees and attendees would be wearing silver ribbons, created by Broadway costume designer William Ivey Long, at the ceremony.

“Hamilton” raked in 11 awards including for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Choreography and Best Costume Design of a Musical. Actor Leslie Odom Jr. won Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for his role as Aaron Burr in “Hamilton.” Renée Elise Goldsberry’s role as Angelica Schuyler earned her a win for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Daveed Diggs also won Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his dual roles as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson.

“The Color Purple” won for Best Revival of a Musical and Cynthia Erivo won for Best Lead Actress in a Musical for her role as Celie Harris Johnson in the production.

All four acting awards went to actors and actresses of color.

“The Humans” won for Best Play and Jessica Lange won for Best Lead Actress in a Play for her role as Mary Tyrone in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”

For a complete list of winners, visit here. 


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