“Hamilton” triumphed at the Tony Awards on Sunday, racking up 11 statues including the Best Musical prize. But the victory was colored by the mass shooting at an Orlando gay club this weekend that left 50 people dead and 52 injured.
“It’s heavy on my heart today,” “Hamilton” creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda said after his show swept the major awards.
The targeted nature of the attack particularly upset him.
“Theater doesn’t exist without the LGBT community,” said Miranda. “It is the cornerstone of our industry.”
Jeffrey Seller, the show’s producer, also admitted that the shooting dampened the sweetness of “Hamilton’s” big night.
“It has reminded me yet again of how all of our lives are intersections of joy and tragedy and sadness,” he said.
In the wake of the murders, Seller believed that it was essential that the Tonys go forward as planned. A show must go on mentality had helped him when Jonathan Larson, the creator of “Rent,” died the morning of the show’s first preview performance. The company performed that day as a way of honoring his memory. The same was true after the Orlando killings, said Seller.
“The only way to honor this country and all of the victims is to keep doing what we do,” he added.
Miranda and his co-star Leslie Odom, Jr. didn’t learn about the killings until after the Tony Awards rehearsal on Sunday morning. The sheer scale of the deaths shook the men, and Odom admitted that he briefly wondered if it was right to go on with a matinee performance. But he thought about the excitement of the people who had saved money and reserved tickets months in advance to see Broadway’s hottest show.
“We can’t let [the killer] take that from those people,” said Odom. “He can’t have that.”