There are no real words to encompass the tragedy of yesterday’s terrorist attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Most of the United States woke up to the news that 50 had died and another 50 or more injured when the shooter opened fire on the gay club. It was the deadliest shooting on U.S. soil in modern history. It can not be overstated how horrific it was and continues to be.
But last night’s Tonys, the annual award ceremony for Broadway and theater, was held in hopeful and defiant contrast to the hate and homophobia that spurred the killer to carry out the attack on what had been a sanctuary for queer people. And no one exemplified that message of love rather than hate, and hope rather than fear better than Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda.
When Miranda took the stage to accept the award for Best Original Score, he didn’t make the speech about him, but about the victims of the Orlando attack, and, more than that, about humanity as a whole. His voice, cracking with unshed tears at the end, was a stark reminder that last night’s Tonys were about celebrating and honoring so much more than Broadway.
What a phenomenally beautiful human being.
To say that Hamilton, the hip-hop musical based on Alexander Hamilton’s life, has absolutely captured the public zeitgeist, is an understatement. It has done for Broadway what no other musical since perhaps RENT has done before, introducing an entirely new generation of fans to Broadway. Last night’s Tonys was proof enough of this, with Hamilton cleaning up just about every award for which it had been nominated, including Best Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor, Best Performance by a Featured Actor, Best Performance by a Leading Actress, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Direction, Best Choreography, and Best Orchestrations.
Miranda isn’t slowing down, however. His next project is the music for Disney’s upcoming animated film, , and it’s almost a virtual lock that he’ll be nominated for it come Oscars season. After seeing last night’s speech from Miranda, who won the awards for Best Book and Best Score, it does not seem as if it could happen to a more deserving person.