For the cast of “Hamilton,” this past Sunday night was a night to remember as they scooped up 11 Tony awards out of a record 16 nominations at the 70th Tony Awards. It became more memorable when the cast of the musical, led by Lin-Manuel Miranda, decided against using musket props during their performance at the awards show, to honor the victims of the Orlando nightclub shootings who had died earlier in the morning. J.K. Rowling recently mourned the death of one of the victims who worked at a Harry Potter attraction at the Universal Orlando Resort.
US Weekly, which reports the news, revealed photos of the actors performing on the Tony stage with their hands pretending to pull the trigger of an imagined musket. Their performances usually feature prop guns as the hip-hop musical tells the tale of the Founding Father of the United States and his involvement in the American War of Independence.
Miranda’s “Hamilton” sang the musical “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)” to introduce the musical, notes Los Angeles Times. “Yorktown” musical number deals with the Battle of Yorktown. The cast had used muskets during a rehearsal on Sunday morning, Time mentioned. However, a spokesperson for the group later said that during the actual show, the actors would perform without them. Michael Paulson of The New York Times also broke the news on Twitter.
“Senseless acts of tragedy remind us that nothing here is promised — not one day,” Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of “Hamilton” read lines from the sonnet he had written, reports The New York Times. Some of the most poignant lines from Miranda’s sonnet, paying tributes to the Orlando Pulse club victims and to the current climate of war, hatred, and violence towards all living beings, are as follows:
“We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger
“We rise and fall and light from dying embers
“Remembrances that hope and love last longer
“And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love
“Cannot be killed or swept aside.”
The full sonnet can be read here.
The Antoinette Perry Awards as it is officially known also celebrated diversity. All four performance awards for musicals went to black actors. This was a sharp contrast to the anti-gay hate crime in the Orlando club, as well as to the lack of diversity in the 2016 Academy Awards. Tony host James Corden added that the 70th Tony Awards will stand as a symbol of love.
Playbill also notes that Lin-Manuel Miranda will depart the musical this summer.