Tony Awards 2017: Bette Midler Filibusters, Stephen Colbert Mocks Trump

Frederick Owens
June 12, 2017

Lea Salonga was much more relaxed when she graced this year's Tony Awards compared to when she attended Broadway's biggest night more than two decades ago as a nominee for best actress in a musical.

Ben Platt took home the leading actor in a musical award, with Rachel Bay Jones winning the featured actress in a musical prize.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play: Laurie Metcalf, "A Doll's House, Part 2".

Field, who was nominated for best actress in a play for her role in "Glass Menagerie", has been outspoken about President Trump since his inauguration, including a rally in NY the day before.

"Dear Evan Hansen", an original American musical about a troubled teen caught up in a web of lies on social media, swept the Tonys Sunday night, winning six awards, including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score.

"Hello Dolly!" won four Tonys, including best musical revival. "Hello, Dolly!" won four, including best musical revival and best featured actor for Broadway veteran Gavin Creel.

Denee Benton was nominated for her role in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.

Midler took the best actress trophy and - to the amusement and cheers of the audience - refused to be played off, forcing the swelling orchestra into silence.

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The scheduled three-hour show ran long, so DVRs may have cut off the appearance by Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose "Hamilton" was last year's Tonys sensation.

The atmosphere of intolerance in the USA under President Donald Trump found mention in the politically-charged speeches of stars like Cynthia Nixon, Kevin Kline and Stephen Colbert at the 2017 Tony Awards.

"Get up here you laggards!" he said to his army of investors as they stormed the stage of Radio City Musical Hall.

The leading musical Tony nominees are "Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812", with 12 nominations, "Hello, Dolly!" with 10 and "Dear Evan Hansen", with nine.

"Come From Away", the Canadian musical won just one: for best direction, by Christopher Ashley. And best director of a musical went to Christopher Ashley of "Come From Away", the crowd-pleasing show about the people of Gander, Newfoundland, who sheltered thousands of stranded airline passengers on September 11. Spacey even had fun with rumors about his sexual orientation while singing the Andrew Lloyd Webber song "As If We Never Said Goodbye" from "Sunset Boulevard". He later rolled out his impersonation of President Bill Clinton, saying (among many other things), "I love that 'House of Cards'".

"I'm coming out", he sang in a black and gold dress, before adding: "Wait, no, wait". "I still have you on there", Biden said, and quipped, "I probably ruined your reputation".

Broadway producers will be thankful this year that the telecast won't have to compete with any NBA Finals games, but there will be a Stanley Cup playoff contest and a soccer game pitting the US and Mexico. Spacey talked about the show's accountants and said: "You guys do not have to worry about them tonight, at all", he said.

There were no technical or human snafus - other than Midler's elongated speech - that marred previous awards shows this year, including the wrong victor announced at the Oscars and sound issues at the Grammys.

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