Last night’s Tony Awards proved to be extremely fruitful for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, and with good reason, and the cast’s in-show performance was a perfect explanation for why the unique musical won big during Broadway’s biggest night, bringing home a total of 11 awards. (Though the musical had a record-breaking 16 nominations, The Producers still holds the title for most wins with 12.) Introduced by the Obamas themselves, the performance was essentially a showcase for the remarkable performers and an incentive to see the perpetually sold-out musical if you haven’t already. The rap-infused show has not only sculpted a strong story, but has paved the way for more colorful narratives to be shared in more diverse ways in musical theatre. (Unfortunately, video of the performance has, for now, been removed from the internet.)
Aside from the cast’s performance, Miranda’s acceptance speech for Best Score of a Musical proves that he’s maybe one of the most endearing newly famous folks, ever. He opened by addressing his wife and exclaiming, “I’m not free-styling, I’m too old. I wrote you a sonnet instead.” (The esteemed writer and actor previously rapped his acceptance speech at this year’s Grammy’s.) While at first he thanked and honored his wife, Vanessa Nadal, he later addressed the tragedy of the Orlando shooting.
“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 time that hate and fear seem stronger. We rise and fall in light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer.”
Between held back tears, Miranda’s sincere sonnet reminded us that theatre can and should continue to be a safe and tolerant space for all who enter it.
Many attendees of last night’s award show were donning silver ribbons as a sign of respect for the lives lost and those injured during the shooting at Pulse in Orlando, Florida. Tributes did not run short, as winner Jessica Lange and host James Cordon made heartfelt reflections on the appalling incident.
See the full list of winners here.