On Sunday, June 12, 2016, the “70th Annual Tony Awards” aired on CBS at 8 p.m. EDT. The award show was hosted by James Corden only 18 hours after the Orlando Massacre. To open the show, he took a moment to address the elephant in the room.
Corden stated, “people around the world were trying to come to terms with the horrific events that took place in Orlando, Florida. On behalf of the entire theater community, and the people in the room, our hearts go out to all of those affected by this atrocity.”
According to “Variety,” empathy for the victims and their families of the Orlando shooting, was expected to be incorporated into the Tony Awards, because of the strong support for the LGBTQ community. It was argued this support is specially derived from the New York theater scenes, which extends much further than New York City. Corden was also clear to state, the theater community does not hold biases towards any individuals based on race, creed, or sexual orientation, and there was no way hate would win.
The Broadway show “Hamilton,” received 16 Tony Award nominations, which exceeds other record-breaking numbers. Broadway reports, “Hamilton” won 11 trophies from their 16 nominations, which exceeded “Billy Elliot’s” 10 trophies, but fell short of the record of 12 trophies held by “Producers.”
“Billboard” noted, the recording of “Hamilton” also broke records when their cast-recorded album jumped from No. 13 to No. 3 after the airing of the Tony Awards. This was historic because the album became one of only three such recordings to achieve a top 10 rank on the “Billboard 200” chart in the past 50 years.
Representatives for “Hamilton” claimed, they expected to come out on top as the big winners for the 2016 Tony Awards, since they had the most nominations in history. 18 hours before the 2016 Tony Awards, which was hosted by Corden, the Orlando Massacre occurred in an LGBTQ nightclub. This event involved yet another active shooter in the United States. With this reality, “Hamilton” representatives decided to remove the musket props from their Tony Award performance to take a stand against gun violence.
The props were expected to be used during the Sunday morning rehearsal. Standing in for an absent winner, a crew member took the moment to send out prayers and thoughts to the victims, and their families of the Orlando shooting. After this rehearsal, it was clear there was no need for any guns to be on the stage.
Star2.com explained, the Tony Awards are viewed as the finale to the award season. They occurred 18 hours after the Orlando massacre, and it was clear the mood was somber on the red carpet even with Corden hosting. At the same time, the Tony Awards fashion and the performances did not disappoint. After Corden acknowledged the Orlando shooting, he quickly switched his mood to business as usual and provided an entertaining opening to the show.
The show must go on is a common saying in the theater community. Regardless of what is happening in the world, a theater group is expected to finish their performances. This is not only relevant to a Tony Award performance, but any performance regardless on the size of the production.
The entertainment award season has finally reached its conclusion and prepares the world for the entertainment for the remainder of 2016. The 2016 Tony Awards hosted by Corden, was a success, even with the somber mood induced by the Orlando Massacre. It has been noted that mass shootings have become more common than award shows held each year.
By Kristina Lasher
Edited by Cathy Milne
Variety: How Will the Tony Awards Acknowledge the Orlando Shooting?
CBS: 70th Annual Tony Awards
THE STAR ONLINE: Check out these showstoppers at the 2016 Tony Awards
Billboard: ‘Hamilton’ Cast Album Races to No. 3 on Billboard 200 Chart After Tony Awards
Broadway: Hamilton Dominates 2016 Tony Awards But Just Short of Record; Complete List of Winners
Image Courtesy of The Lowry’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License