Last year’s Tony Awards telecast opened with a dedication to the victims of that morning's Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Despite the current political climate, this year's ceremony largely kept current events out of the spotlight.
Hosted by master impressionist Kevin Spacey, the 71st Annual Tony Awards jumped straight to the chuckles with an opening number lampooning this year’s biggest musicals—and poking fun at the fact that the House of Cards star was far from the first choice to host the ceremony.
“I’m coming out,” sang Spacey, in drag as Sunset Boulevard's Norma Desmond, before pausing—"no, wait, no"—and switching gears. He also aimed an ironic "closet" joke at Whoopi Goldberg, who appeared in the opening number with Stephen Colbert and Billy Crystal.
Speaking of closets, Spacey later jokingly called out American Beauty co-star Chris Cooper, nominated for his performance in A Doll’s House, Part 2. “The last time I saw Chris, he kissed me in the garage and shot me in the kitchen. And then we did American Beauty together.”
In one of the night's most memorable political jabs, Colbert compared the White House to a theatrical revival with "huge production values" and a main character who's "totally unbelievable. And the hair and makeup? Yeesh." He roused the audience by suggesting it "could close early."
Among those honored from Broadway's 2016–2017 season, Bette Midler took home the award for Best Actress in a Musical and delivered one of the longest acceptance speeches in recent memory—loud play-off music be damned. "Shut that crap off," she snapped.
Out Hello, Dolly! actor Gavin Creel also won Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical.
Accepting his award for Best Actor in a Musical for Dear Evan Hansen, which explores bullying and teen suicide, Ben Platt said, "To all the young people watching at home, don't waste any time trying to be like anybody but yourself. Because the things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful."
Dear Evan Hansen, which won Best Musical, also earned gay-straight super-duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul the award for Best Score.
Cynthia Nixon, who won Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for her performance in The Little Foxes, thanked her wife in her speech, which included a shout-out to the resistance movement.
Walking away with a total of six awards, Dear Evan Hansen was the evening's biggest winner. In comparison, Hamilton, last year's biggest winner, snagged 11 Tonys. Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 led this year's race with 12 nominations but only won two awards.
See the full list of winners and watch Spacey's opening number below.
Best Musical: Dear Evan Hansen
Best Play: Oslo
Best Book of a Musical: Steven Levenson, Dear Evan Hansen
Best Original Score: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Dear Evan Hansen
Best Revival of a Play: Jitney
Best Revival of a Musical: Hello, Dolly!
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Kevin Kline, Present Laughter
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play: Laurie Metcalf, A Doll's House, Part 2
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: Michael Aranov, Oslo
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play: Cynthia Nixon, The Little Foxes
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen
Best Scenic Design of a Play: Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong
Best Scenic Design of a Musical: Mimi Lien, The Great Comet
Best Costume Design of a Play: Jane Greenwood, The Little Foxes
Best Costume Design of a Musical: Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!
Best Lighting Design of a Play: Christopher Akerlind, Indecent
Best Lighting Design of a Musical: Bradley King, The Great Comet
Best Direction of a Play: Rebecca Taichman, Indecent
Best Direction of a Musical: Christopher Ashley, Come From Away
Best Choreography: Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand
Best Orchestrations: Alex Lacamoire, Dear Evan Hansen
Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre: James Earl Jones
Special Tony Award: Nina Lannan and Alan Wasser; Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin
Regional Theatre Tony Award: Dallas Theater Center
Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award: Baayork Lee