Published: Mon, June 12, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

'Dear Evan Hansen' wins best musical at 2017 Tony Awards

Bette Midler accepts the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for 'Hello, Dolly!' onstage during the 2017 Tony Awards on June 11, 2011.

Living up to her bawdy reputation, Midler delivered a speech laced with mild profanity to the star-laden audience at Radio City Music Hall, chastising the orchestra as its music welled when she spoke at length.

Best actor victor Kevin Kline summed up the mood by saluting the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts), which faces funding cuts under the Trump regime.

Tony Award winners, including actress Cynthia Nixon, seemed to have had the turbulent state of culture and politics in the US President Donald Trump era on top of their minds as many championed the arts in their politically charged speeches here.

Cynthia Nixon, who won featured actress in a play for Lillian Hellman's "The Little Foxes", said she was grateful to have had the chance to perform in the groundbreaking 1939 play about lesbian relationships at "this specific moment in history".

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On stage she praised the old-school musical as a balm for "these awful, bad times".

"A Doll's House, Part 2" star Laurie Metcalf won her first Tony Award for best performance by an actress in a play.

She called it "eerily prescient" and offered a pointed quote from the playwright.

"Oslo", the true story of a Norwegian diplomat's role in a secret Mideast peace negotiation deal that became the 1993 Oslo Accords, went on to win for best play.

"To the ladies and gentlemen of the Oslo Accords who believed in democracy, who believed in seeing peace, seeing their enemies as humans, I give this up to them", said Rogers.

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"Eighty years ago Hellman wrote, 'There are people who eat the Earth and eat all the people on it and other people who just stand around and watch them do it, ' " said Nixon.

"I can't believe you Broadway people do that eight times a week", he joked.

Gavin Creel won best featured actor in a musical for "Hello, Dolly!' and August Wilson's 'Jitney" won best revival of a play.

Kevin Spacey sang, danced and mimicked Bill Clinton at a Tony Awards ceremony where the policies of President Trump's administration were taken to task.

In one of the night's big surprises, Rebecca Taichman, who helped conceive of "Indecent" while she was a graduate student, won the Tony for best direction of a play.

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"Come From Away", about Canadians from Newfoundland who provided refuge to almost 7,000 airline passengers on September 11, 2001 when USA air space closed, also won one Tony for best direction of a musical.

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