NEW YORK (CBSMiami/AP) — “Hamilton,” the hip-hop stage biography of Alexander Hamilton vacuumed up Tony Awards on Sunday, as expected, but did not break the record for the most Tonys.READ MORE: As US Confirms First Omicron Case, CDC Works To Step Up Testing Requirements
“Hamilton” went into the night with 16 nominations and won eleven — including best score, best book, direction, orchestration, choreography and best featured actor and actress statuettes for Renee Elise Goldsberry and Daveed Diggs.
It also won Best Musical.
It earlier won awards for costume and lighting but lost scenic design to “She Loves Me,” meaning “Hamilton” will not be able to break the 12-statuette record haul by “The Producers.” Still, few shows get introduced by a sitting president, as Barack and Michelle Obama did for the performance by the show’s cast.
The awards show unspooled with a heavy heart a night after a gunman killed 50 people at a gay Florida nightclub, prompting a Broadway tribute to the victims at the top of the show and a smattering of references to tolerance throughout it.
Host James Corden, his back to the audience, spoke to viewers when he dedicated the night to celebrating the diversity of Broadway. “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,” he said.
But for much of the telecast, the mood was light and typical of an awards show.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the star and creator of “Hamilton,” won for best score and book, and read from onstage a sonnet, referencing tragedy and urging “love and love and love….”
Thomas Kail won the Tony for directing “Hamilton.” He thanked Miranda, a frequent collaborator, and celebrated the diversity of Broadway this season. “Let’s continue to tell stories,” he said.
Jayne Houdyshell, a mainstay of the New York stage, won her first Tony Award at 62 for playing a gossipy, gently needling mom in “The Humans.” Her stage husband, Reed Birney, won best featured actor in a play. An actor for almost 42 years, he acknowledged that 35 of them were “pretty bad.” He thanked the theater community for keeping him going.
The play, about a fractious family’s get-together, won the best play statuette and playwright Stephen Karam dedicated his award to all the struggling writers. “Keep the faith,” he said.
At least 50 people died early Sunday when a gunman opened fire inside a crowded nightclub in Orlando, Florida. It was the deadliest mass shooting in American history.READ MORE: Arrest Made In Miami-Dade In Connection With Murder Of Palm Beach Gardens Boy
In response to the shooting, “Hamilton” dropped its use of muskets in its performance. The Tony show also created a silver ribbon for stars to wear in solidarity and they were seen on the suits of actor Sean Hayes and director George C. Wolfe.
“My heart is saddened by it,” Jeffrey Seller, producer of “Hamilton,” said on the red carpet before the show. “The celebration tonight is tempered by it.”
The shooting was close to home for Christopher Fitzgerald, a nominee for the musical “Waitress” who went to school in Orlando. “I’m heartbroken. I think everybody is feeling it, so we are at least all coming together to celebrate and not live in fear,” he said on the carpet.
“Eclipsed” won for best costume for a play and “The Humans” won for best set design of a play. Best set design for a musical went to “She Loves Me” and best lighting for a play went to “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”
Jessica Lange won her first Tony for playing a drug-addled mother in the revival of the monumental “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” The two-time Academy Award winner said: “This is a dream come true and it fills me with such happiness, even on such a sad day as this.”
Frank Langella won his fourth Tony for playing a man who has begun his slide down the slippery slope of dementia in “The Father.” He almost teared up when he mentioned his brother’s struggle with dementia. He also had a message for the people of Orlando: “We will be with you every step of the way.”
Dutch visionary Ivo Van Hove won his first Tony for directing an imaginative revival of Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge.” Under his helm, the barefoot cast warily circled one another under bright lights in a set that resembled a boxing ring. The show was also named best play revival.
Corden brought his endearing, fan-boy vibe to the opening number in which he performed a head-spinning medley of tunes from famous Broadway musicals, including donning a mask for “The Phantom of the Opera,” a leather jacket for “Grease,” and a curly red wig for “Annie.” He later encouraged others in the audience to pick songs and join him in a bit of karaoke during commercial breaks, including one with Hayes and Jake Gyllenhaal.
The show opened with the cast of “Hamilton” performing their opening number with the lyrics altered to have them all wondering why Corden — “chatting with Hollywood phonies” — had earned this honor.
The host of the “The Late Late Show” had some quips for the theater-loving audience: “This is like the Super Bowl for people who don’t know what the Super Bowl is,” he said at one point. At another: “Think of tonight as the Oscars, but with diversity,” and made a dig at Donald Trump for wanting to build a wall around the theater. He later flirted with Oprah Winfrey.
Donald Trump was a frequent target. Nathan Lane made a crack about Trump University and Emilio Estefan insisted that his all-Latin cast for “On Your Feet!” were all in America legally. Corden at one point suggested there were so many diverse performers on the show that the Republican candidate would want to put a wall around the theater.
“Hamilton” and the 38 new productions this season helped Broadway’s attendance figures hit a record high, up 1.6 percent to 13.3 million ticket buyers. The season also was rich in diversity among actors: Fourteen of the 40 Tony nominees for acting in plays and musicals — or 35 percent — were actors of color.MORE NEWS: Asian American Artists Celebrated During Art Basel: 'Through Hardships, We Could Look At Diversity And See It As Strength'
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