Black and Brown Actors Took Over the Tonys
Last night’s 70th Annual Tony Awards saw several Black actors making history and taking home trophies. For the first time ever, all four lead musical acting awards (lead actor, lead actress, featured actor and featured actress) were won by Black actors.
“Hamilton’s” diverse cast of Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs and Renee Elise Goldsberry took home the awards for lead actor, featured actor and featured actress respectively. The play also won best musical.
“The Color Purple” was the only play to beat out “Hamilton” when Cynthia Erivo, who plays Celie, won lead actress.
In what could be considered as passing the torch, Audra McDonald, who has a record of six Tony Awards, presented Erivo with the lead actress award.
In addition to the winners being diverse, so were the nominees. Christopher Jackson of “Hamilton” was nominated in the featured actor category as well as Brandon Victor Dixon of “Shuffle Along.”
Backstage at the show, Diggs told Variety, “There is so much diversity on Broadway right now. It’s nice to have it feeling a little more mainstream and a lot more inclusive.”
Goldsberry also spoke on diversity backstage, saying, “I do create artificial barriers for myself but I never, never, never see that the fact that I may not look like someone makes me unfit to play them,”
In addition to championing diversity, the mass shooting in Orlando was fresh on the minds of many.
When “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda accepted the award for best score, he read a sonnet which touched on the tragedy.
A historic night for Broadway was still a reminder we have much to do in the world.
Photo Credit: TheaterMania.com