A who’s who of the world’s best actors have taken aim at Donald Trump during a series of politically charged speeches at the Tony Awards, which celebrate the best Broadway productions.
Cynthia Nixon, who won best featured actress for Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes, said the groundbreaking 1939 play about lesbian relationships was “eerily prescient”, particularly at “this specific moment in history”.
“There are people who eat the Earth and all the people on it, and there are all the people who just stand around and watch them do it,” said Nixon, best-known for her role as Miranda in Sex and the City, quoting the playwright.
She expressed her appreciation for “all the people who are refusing to just stand and watch them do it”.
Sally Field, a nominee for The Glass Menagerie, delivered a brief history of the service work done since the World War I era by “the women of the Wing” – the American Theatre Wing, which administers the Tony Awards – assuring the crowd that the Wing is going strong in its mission to “illuminate the darkness with the blazing truth of art”.
Kevin Kline, winner for leading actor in a play for Present Laughter, gave a shoutout to the National Endowment for the Arts, which has been threatened with losing its federal funding under the Trump administration.
Kline cited the NEA as an organisation “without which half the people in this room would not be here”.
Stephen Colbert was on hand to present the trophy for revival of a musical. Not surprisingly, the Late Show host also took aim at Mr Trump. He joked about the revival in Washington DC of a show that started off-Broadway in the 1980s.
“This revival is supposed to have a four-year run, but reviews have not been kind,” Colbert quipped to wild applause.
“It could close early – we don’t know.”
Bette Midler, a winner for Hello, Dolly!, also joined the anti-Trump rhetoric in an unabashed plug for her show.
“This thing has the ability to lift your spirits in these terrible, terrible times,” she assured the crowd, before launching into a hilarious, expletive-laden speech.
“Thank you to the Tony voters, many of whom I’ve actually dated,” the 71-year-old diva, who had only claimed a “special” Tony Award in 1974 for her contribution to Broadway, told the audience.
When the orchestra began to play her off as she spoke on stage she told them: “Shut that crap off”.
Kevin Spacey hosted the star-studded 71st annual awards ceremony reprising his role as House of Cards’ Frank Underwood and throwing in some singing and dancing.
Australian actress Cate Blanchett and musician Tim Minchin both missed out on awards for their roles in Platonov and Groundhog Day respectively.
Australian producers Stuart Thompson (best play Sweat and best revival of a play Six Degrees of Separation) and duo Rodney Rigby and Sam Levy (best musical Come From Away) also missed out.
Tony Award Winners
* Best play – Oslo
* Best musical – 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 for Present Laughter
* Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a play – Laurie Metcalf for A Doll’s House, Part 2
* Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical – Ben Platt for Dear Evan Hansen
* Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical – Bette Midler for Hello, Dolly!
* Best performance by an actor in a featured role in a play – Michael Aronov for Oslo
* Best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play – Cynthia Nixon for Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
* Best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical – Gavin Creel for Hello, Dolly!
* Best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play – Rachel Bay Jones for Dear Evan Hansen