Even though “Hamilton” was unable to bring home the most Tony Awards in Broadway’s history (the credit still belongs to "The Producers" with 12 Tonys), the 2016 ceremony will most probably be remembered for one record-breaking reason: its diversity.
Broadway is about to give us 4 people of color in all the acting categories for musicals— JosephPapa (@JosephPapa) June 13, 2016
For the first time in the award show's history, all four major musical performance categories — lead actor, leas actress, featured actor and featured actress — went to black artists.
Leslie Odom Jr. won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role in “Hamilton,” Cynthia Erivo won the award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role in “The Color Purple,” Daveed Diggs won the award for Featured Actor in a Musical for his role in “Hamilton” and Renee Elise Goldsberry won the Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for "Hamilton.”
“There is so much diversity on Broadway right now,” Diggs told Variety magazine. “It’s nice to have it feeling a little more mainstream and a lot more inclusive.”
Four people of color win for Actors and Actresses in a Musical, well done! #TonysSoBlack— Jordan Nickels (@JDramaNickels) June 13, 2016
#TonysSoBlack oscars take note— Harold Wayne (@MakeItWayne15) June 13, 2016
#TonysSoBlack Proud of "Hamilton" "Color Purple" Y'all doing it right!— Timothy Clark (@tvc3232) June 13, 2016
The only time the Tonys got anywhere close to this record was in 1982 when Ben Harney, Cleavant Derricks and Jennifer Holliday won the awards for lead actor, featured actor and lead actress categories, respectively, for their roles in “Dreamgirls.” The featured actress category went to the French-Italian actress, Liliane Montevecchi, for “Nine.”
Before the awards were announced this year, presenter James Corden took a stab at the non-existent diversity at the Academy Awards.
“Think of tonight’s show like the Oscars, but with diversity,” he said to laughter.