Politically charged speeches at Tonys
Bette Midler accepts the award for best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical for "Hello, Dolly!" at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)
Mansy who made the trip to the stage at New York's Radio City Music Hall for the Tony Awards highlighted the role of theatre in opening minds, touching hearts, and illuminating universal human truths.
Cynthia Nixon, who won featured actress in a play for Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes, said she was grateful to have had the chance to perform in the groundbreaking 1939 play about lesbian relationships at "this specific moment in history." She called it "eerily prescient" and offered a pointed quote from the playwright.
"There are people who eat the Earth and all the people on it and there are all the people who just stand around and watch them do it," she said. She expressed her appreciation for "all the people who are refusing to just stand and watch them do it."
Sally Field, a nominee for The Glass Menagerie, delivered a brief history of the service work done since the World War I era by "the women of the Wing" --the American Theater Wing, which administers the Tony Awards. She finished by assuring the crowd that the Wing is going strong in its mission to "illuminate the darkness with the blazing truth of art."
Kevin Kline, winner for leading actor in a play for Present Laughter, called out in his thank-yous the National Endowment for the Arts, which has been threatened with losing its federal funding under the Trump administration. Kline cited the NEA as an organisation "without which half the people in this room would not be here."
Stephen Colbert was on hand to present the trophy for revival of a musical. Not surprisingly, the Late Show host took quick aim at Trump. He joked about the revival in Washington, DC of a show that started off-Broadway in the 1980s. "This revival is supposed to have a four-year run but reviews have not been kind," Colbert quipped to wild applause. "It could close early - we don't know."
Bette Midler, a winner for Hello, Dolly!, also hit the prevailing anti-Trump sentiment head on in an unabashed plug for her show. "This thing has the ability to lift your spirits in these terrible, terrible times," she assured the crowd.
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