The 70th annual Tony Awards was a celebration of Broadway’s best and was dedicated to the 50 victims killed, and 53 injured, in a Orlando nightclub early Sunday morning.
First time host and Tony winner James Corden began the night with a tribute to the victims.
“Good evening. All around the world, people are trying to come to terms with the horrific events that took place in Orlando this morning,” read host James Corden, in a pre-recorded segment before the June 12 live broadcast began. “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.”
An emotional Corden added, “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, embraced, and 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.”
The night consisted of tributes from winners, including Lin-Manuel Miranda. “Hamilton” won 11 awards, one shy of the record of 12 Tonys won by “The Producers.”
Miranda accepted the Tony Award for best original score, where he dedicated a sonnet to the victims of Orlando’s mass shooting. “We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger,” he said while holding back tears. “We rise and fall and light from dying embers.”
“Remembrances that hope and love last longer,” he added. “And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.” The sonnet captured the audience of stars, with many wiping tears from their eyes.
The popular production also scored awards for Best Musical, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Leslie Odom, Jr.), Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical (Daveed Diggs), Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Renée Elise Goldsberry), Best Costume Design of a Musical (Paul Tazewell), Best Direction of a Musical (Thomas Kail), and Best Orchestrations (Alex Lacamoire).
Costume designer William Ivey Long also designed silver ribbons for the 1,000 plus guests in attendance, as a symbol of unity.
“We wanted to make a gesture that we are all united. So much in the theater deals with stories about tragic circumstances and also how society triumphs,” Long said to Deadline, adding “this is just a symbol of opening our hearts to real tragedy.”