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HAMILTON DOMINATES TONYS (UPDATE)

The Tonys registered its largest audience in 15 years, according to Variety, thanks largely to hip-hop phenom Hamilton. CBS reported that its overnight markets rating hit 6.8, a 33% spike over last year’s show. The #1 show of the night, it attracted 8.73m viewers, the largest audience since The Producers pulled in 8.9m viewers in 2001.

Hamilton won 11 Tonys—it was up for 16—while The Humans won for play, supporting actor and actress. The Color Purple won for revival of a musical; Arthur Miller’s  A View From the Bridge was the play revival winner.

HITS prognosticators were on the mark, nailing Hamilton, The Humans and The Color Purple as the three show winners, and the actors Leslie Odom Jr., Cynthia Erivo, Frank LangellaJessica Lange, Reed Birney and Jane Houdyshell.

The 70th annual Tony Awards opened on a solemn note Sunday, honoring the victims of Orlando, Fla. Massacre, but quickly turned to a celebration of theater’s history, Hamilton and show host James Corden.

Corden opened the evening, saying, “On behalf of the whole theater community and every person in this room, our hearts go out to all of those affected by that atrocity. All we can say is you are not on your own right now. Your tragedy is our tragedy. Theater 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.”

After that, the night largely belonged to Hamilton, beginning with the cast from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s historical musical rapping about the life of the telecast’s host. Corden, in turn, led a biographical musical number about aspiring actors. 

“You’ve given us a vision of what’s possible,” Odom said of Miranda in accepting the actor in a musical Tony. Miranda read a sonnet in accepting the score award; producer Jeffrey Seller accepted the musical award by saying “Alexander Hamilton was a dreamer. I stand on this stage and in this theater surrounded by dreamers.”

Performance numbers from Shuffle Along, School of Rock, She Loves You and Gloria Estefan with the cast of On Your Feet, Sara Bareilles, with the cast of Waitress were spiced up with performances outside the Beacon with current casts dipping into Broadway’s past—the cast of Shuffle Along did “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat” from Guys and Dolls and a band of Steve Martin, Edie Brickell, Sara Bareilles and, on tambourine, Andrew Lloyd Webber singing Annie’s “Tomorrow” among the brief interludes.

Broadway notables wore silver ribbons created by the costume designer William Ivey Long in the color of the Tonys to honor victims of the shooting, the most deadly attack on American soil since 9/11.

When the show ended, Hamilton was #1 on the iTunes chart and Amazon’s CD chart. Odom's self-titled album of mostly standards on S-Curve, meanwhile, tops the iTunes Jazz chart and is currently #32 overall, four spots ahead of the Waitress ST.

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