Tony Awards get political in the age of Trump

Cheryl Sanders
June 15, 2017

The musical is written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, with a book by Steven Levenson.

"My love, my gratitude and my undying respect go out to all the people in 2017 who are refusing to just stand and watch them do it", she added to applause.

After saying she was "very, very grateful" to win the award and is "having the time of my life", Midler revealed that, prior to rehearsals, she sought advice from Broadway's original Dolly Levi, Carol Channing (and Channing's son), as well as Marge Champion, the widow of original choreographer Gower Champion.

The show depicts a lonely teenager, Evan Hansen, who makes up a previous friendship with a classmate who just committed suicide.

"It could close early - we don't know".

Best play went to Oslo, a three-hour show about diplomatic meetings between Israel and Palestine which will head to London in September.

On Sunday night, Midler won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.

The House of Cards star was joined for the opening by USA talk show presenter Stephen Colbert and 2008 Tony's host Whoopi Goldberg, who also joked about her sexuality as she stepped out of a closet to make her big entrance. "Security was so tough, when Tony winners came in, they had to put their Tonys aside like they were keys".

Another memorable speech came from the night's other big musical star, Bette Midler, winning best actress (her first competitive Tony) for her lauded turn in "Hello, Dolly!".

The producers made an attempt to cut her lengthy speech off by drowning her out with music. Platt's performance from Evan Hansen was terrific, but the showstopper of the night belonged to the high-energy cast of Nastasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. Musicals "Dear Evan Hansen" and "Hello, Dolly!' took home six and four awards respectively - not quite the takeover as 'Hamilton" but impressive nonetheless.

"To the ladies and gentlemen of the Oslo Accords who believed in democracy, who believed in seeing peace, seeing their enemies as humans, I give this up to them", said the playwright, J.T. Rogers.

For a complete list of winners, see PlayBill.

A who's who of the world's best actors have taken aim at Donald Trump during a series of politically charged speeches at the Tony Awards, which celebrate the best Broadway productions.

Kevin Kline, while accepting the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role for "Present Laughter", pointedly thanked the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, "a couple of organizations without whom probably half of the people in this room would not be here".

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