The Show Must Go On: Tony Awards Dedicate 70th Annual Show to Victims of Orlando Tragedy
Just hours after the mass shooting at a gay Orlando nightclub, Broadway's most influential figures gathered at the Beacon Theatre Sunday for the 70th annual Tony Awards, dedicated to the victims of the Orlando massacre.
Standing in solidarity with the 49 dead and 53 injured in the Pulse mass shooting earlier that morning, the 2016 Tony Awards honored victims with somber acceptance speeches and performances.
The event's host, late night TV personality James Corden, opened the awards with a solemn speech to the viewers at home on behalf of the theater community.
"All around the world, people are trying to come to terms with the horrific events that took place in Orlando this morning," Corden 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."
He continued: "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 Tony's announced on Twitter earlier that evening that the 70th annual award show will continue as planned, but will be dedicated to those affected by the shooting in Orlando.
Attendees were given silver pins, worn in remembrance of the Orlando victims.
Hamilton creator and star, Lin Manuel Miranda, whose hit musical took home 11 awards that night, could be seen on stage wearing a rainbow pin next to his silver ribbon as he accepted the award for Best Original Score in a tearful sonnet.
"When senseless acts of tragedy remind us that nothing here is promised, not one day, this show is proof that history remembers," Miranda began. "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."
He continued: "And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside. As sacred as a symphony Eliza tells her story. Now fill the world with music, love and pride. And thank you so much for this."
The musical about the American Revolution also took a stance against gun violence by abandoning their musket props during their performance at the award show.
Frank Langella, who accepted the award for best leading actor in a play for "The Father,"
also substituted the original speech he wrote for one addressed to victims of the shooting.
"When something bad happens we have three choices. We can let it define us, we can let it destroy us or we can let it strengthen us," Langella said, after putting aside his list of people to thank. "Today in Orlando we had a hideous dose of reality. I urge you Orlando to be strong. I’m standing in a room full of the most generous human beings on earth and we will be with you every step of the way.”
Barbra Streisand, who shocked the audience with her first Tony's appearance since 1970, also said a few words on the tragedy before presenting the award for Best Musical.
"Tonight our joy is tinged with sorrow. But we’re here to celebrate Broadway, and the beauty that artistry can bring into this world," Streisand said. "Art can entertain us and educate us and at times like this, console us.”