The Tony Awards are best known for their bombastic, high-energy opening numbers, but before that part of the show could get underway, host James Corden had a message to share.
Corden opened the ceremony honouring the best in live Broadway theatre with a pre-taped message of solidarity for those killed during a deadly shooting at Pulse, an Orlando, Fla. gay nightclub. At least 49 people were killed and nearly 53 others are injured following the early Sunday morning attack described by authorities as "domestic terrorism."
Facing away from the Beacon Theatre stage, with the New York City audience behind him, Corden said:
"Good evening. All around the world people are trying to come to terms with the horrific events that took place in Orlando this morning. On behalf of the whole theatre community and every person in this room, our hearts go out to all those affected by this atrocity.
All we can say is you are not on your own right now. Your tragedy is our tragedy. Theatre is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, is embraced and is loved. Hate will never win; together we have to make sure of that. Tonight's show stands as a symbol and a celebration of that principle. This is the Tony Awards."
After that, the show did indeed go on. The sentiment and sense of unity within the theatre community and beyond was also expressed by the Tony Awards' producers.
In a statement released early on Sunday, the show's organizers dedicated the ceremony to those who died in the Orlando tragedy:
The same producers later arranged for grey ribbons to be given out on the red carpet to further recognize the victims of the Orlando shooting:
New remembrance ribbon for Orlando is all over the Tonys tonight. pic.twitter.com/wPPoA2MUJF— Patrick Healy (@patrickhealynyt) June 13, 2016
"Hamilton" star and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda was a notable celeb seen sporting a grey ribbon before and during the Tony Awards. In his acceptance speech for best original score, he read a sonnet he wrote for Orlando, repeatedly reciting the line "Love is love" to further strengthen a message of acceptance for all sexual orientations.
Canadian nominee Sergio Trujillo, who was recognized for his choreography in "On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan," was also seen wearing one of the ribbons.
Still, no Tony nominee or attendee best summed up the night's theme like presenter Josh Groban:
As "the show goes on" at the Tony's tonight let it be a celebration of equality, love, and diversity going on too. We mourn but stand tall.— josh groban (@joshgroban) June 12, 2016
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