As they say in show business, the show must go on — and the 2016 Tony Awards did just that following the mass shooting at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub. In a statement, the awards show dedicated the event to the friends and family of those affected and said, “Our hearts are heavy for the unimaginable tragedy.”
The cast of Hamilton — including nominees Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Phillipa Soo, Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson, and Renée Elise Goldsberry — dropped Revolutionary War muskets from their performance, and many paid tribute on social media as well. Miranda tweeted a rainbow-colored heart with “Orlando” written underneath it while Rory O’Malley, who plays King George, shared, “The theatre is our church and we all need church tonight.”
While Hamilton was a big winner, taking home 11 Tonys (falling just short of the record), other nominees included Zachary Levi (She Loves Me), Lupita Nyong’o (Eclipsed), Michelle Williams (Blackbird), Jessica Lange (Long Day’s Journey Into Night), Laura Benanti (She Loves Me), Megan Hilty (Noises Off), Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple), Mark Strong (Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge), Jeff Daniels (Blackbird), Gabriel Byrne (Long Day’s Journey Into Night), Jane Krakowski (She Loves Me), and more.
Attendees walked the red carpet against a backdrop of 100,000 red roses, and most pinned silver ribbons — made by legendary costume designer William Ivey Long — to their ensembles to honor the Pulse nightclub victims. “Today it dawned on us … that we’re in this world together at this important time,” he said. “You’re helpless because you’re here, not down there, and even if you’re down there, what do you do? So we wanted to open our arms and show love and that we understand. It’s a sense of camaraderie and family. We made them in the basement and we’re still making them because our goal is 3,000.”