The Tony Awards honoured those who were killed in the mass shooting at Orlando, Florida gay club by wearing silver ribbons. Broadway costumer William Ivey Long distributed silver ribbons for nominees and ceremony attendees to wear in observance of the shooting.
“The Theatre community stands in solidarity,” the Tonys’ official Twitter account tweeted on Sunday, alongside a photo of the ribbon.
The award organisers said that the event would be dedicated to the victims of the attack. “Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected. The Tony Awards dedicate tonight’s ceremony to them,” read the statement.
Although the emphasis during the Tony Awards was on entertainment, remembrances devoted to the victims were frequent. Host James Corden began the evening with a short speech in which he promised the show would go on despite the theatre community being in mourning. “Hate can never win,” Corden said, stating that the ceremony would be a celebration to honor the victims.
Prior to the show, the cast of Hamilton announced that out of respect for the Orlando shooting victims, they would not be using prop muskets during their performance of the musical’s Revolutionary War number, “The World Turned Upside Down.”
Jessica Lange, picking up her first Tony win for Best Actress in a Play for Long Day’s Journey Into Night, accepted the award by noting, “This is a dream come true and it fills me with such happiness, even on such a sad day as this.”
The most emotional tribute was delivered by four-time Tony winner Frank Langella, “Today in Orlando we had a hideous dose of reality, and I urge you, Orlando, to be strong, because I’m standing in a room full of the most generous beings on earth, and we will be with you every step of the way.”
“Tonight our joy is tinged with sorrow,” Streisand said. “But we’re here to celebrate Broadway.”
Streisand reminded people of the importance of celebrating art at times of tragedy. “Art can entertain us, and at times like these, console us.”
Watch Frank Langella’s tribute here: