Smash hit 'Hamilton' sweeps Tonys with 11 wins during somber ceremony

Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:32am EDT
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Hamilton", the pop culture phenomenon based on U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton, swept the Tonys on Sunday, winning 11 of Broadway's top awards including best musical, best actor, best direction and best score and book for creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The musical, which tells the story of the ill-fated Hamilton with a deft musical melding of hip-hop and rap, R&B, ballads and traditional Broadway showstoppers, also won for featured actress and actor and several technical awards.

A somber note was cast over the festivities by the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida early on Sunday that killed 50 people and wounded 53. Several winners spoke of the tragedy in their acceptance speeches.

Jessica Lange, winning her first Tony as morphine-addicted Mary Tyrone in "Long Day's Journey Into Night, said the honor "fills me with such happiness, even on such a sad day as this."

Host James Corden opened the usually ebullient show with a statement to victims and others affected: "Your tragedy is our tragedy ... hate will never win."

"Tonight's show stands as a symbol and a celebration of that principle," he said.

Miranda, accepting best score for a musical, delivered a sonnet for his acceptance, done in the style of verse heard in "Hamilton".

"Senseless acts of tragedy ... times of hate," he said, his voice breaking as he ended with "love is love is love, cannot be killed." Miranda also won best book of a musical.   Continued...

The cast and crew of "Hamilton" arrive for the 2016 Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Reception in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 4, 2016.  REUTERS/Andrew Kelly