StageTony Awards

‘Hamilton’ Triumphs & History is Made at the 2016 Tony Awards

Nora Dominick ’17/ Emertainment Monthly Co-Executive Stage Editor

With the cultural phenomenon Hamilton leading the way, the 70th Annual Tony Awards were filled to the brim with outstanding performances, first time winners and touching tributes. Hosted by the incomparable, James Corden, the 2016 Tony Awards celebrated the very best theatre had to offer during the 2015-2016 season.

The groundbreaking production that swept the nation, Hamilton walked away with ELEVEN Tony Awards including Best Musical. Visionary Lin-Manuel Miranda took home 2016 Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Original Score while Andy Blankenbuehler, Alex Lacamoire, Thomas Kail, Paul Tazewell and Howell Binkley all snagged wins for Best Choreography, Best Orchestration, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Costumes of a Musical and Best Lighting Design of a Musical. On the acting side of Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr., Renée Elise Goldsberry and Daveed Diggs all took home acting awards for their career-defining portrayals of Aaron Burr, Angelica Schuyler and Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson respectively.

While Hamilton was clearly the musical to beat this year, the stunning revival of The Color Purple took home the award for Best Revival of a Musical while leading lady Cynthia Erivo picked up her well-deserved Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of She Loves Me also picked up Best Scenic Design of a Musical.

Although Hamilton did not break the record for most Tony Awards in a single season, history was still made at the 2016 Tony Awards. For the first time in Tony Awards history, a person of color won all four major musical acting categories. The last time a feat like this was achieved was in 1982 when Jennifer Holliday, Ben Harney and Cleavant Derricks all won for their work in Dreamgirls.

On the play side of the 2016 Tony Awards, The Humans earned four Tony Awards including Best Play and Best Featured Actor and Best Featured Actress of a Play for Reed Birney and Jayne Houdyshell. Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge also received some much deserved praise. The revival walked away with Best Revival of a Play as well as Best Direction of a Play for Ivo van Hove. Jessica Lange also received her first Tony Award for her marvelous turn in Roundabout Theatre Company’s Long Day’s Journey into Night while Frank Langella snagged his fourth Tony Award for his remarkable work in The Father.

James Corden led a very poignant and heartfelt Tony Awards as the community and the nation mourned the loss of those affected by the Orlando shooting earlier that day. He opened the show with a heartfelt moment telling fans at home and in the Beacon Theatre, “Your tragedy is our tragedy. Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, embraced and 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.” Lin-Manuel Miranda, Frank Langella, Jessica Lange and countless others also helped mourn those lost during their acceptance speeches. Members of the community also wore ribbons in support.

The Tony Awards also proved that this is the year of Corden just as much as it’s the year of Hamilton. Corden’s opening number showcased the magic of theatre as he lived his Tony Awards dream. He brought fans through the journey of falling in love with live theatre and believing that you can be up on this stage one day. He also sang classic numbers from The Lion KingThe Music ManPhantom of the Opera and many more. Is there anything Corden can’t do?

On the performance side of things, Cynthia Erivo, Danielle Brooks, Heather Headley and the cast of The Color Purple brought the audience to their feet with a glorious performance of “I’m Here.” Tony Award nominated musical Waitress wonderful medley including a duet of “She Used to Be Mine” between Tony Award nominees Sara Bareilles and Jessie Mueller. The hit revival Spring Awakening, which wowed audiences this year, showed the world anything is possible by performing “Bitch of Living” with voice and American Sign Language. Tony Award nominee Danny Burstein also led the company of Fiddler on the Roof in a knock-out rendition of “Sunrise, Sunset.”

Other performances during the evening included Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s nominated musical Bright Star, Laura Benanti and the company of She Loves Me, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock, Gloria Estefan’s On Your Feet!, Audra McDonald and the cast of Shuffle Along and even a special tribute to Chicago by Bebe Neuwirth.

Each nominated musical, including their nominated composers, also honored past Broadway shows in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Tony Awards. She Loves Me took on CabaretSchool of Rock sang Annie and the cast of Hamilton brought fans to tears by honoring the late Jonathan Larson and Rent.

Of course, Hamilton brought fans inside “the room where it happens” by performing “History Has Its Eyes on You,” “Yorktown” and they even closed the Tony Awards after their Best Musical win with “Schuyler Sisters.” The year of Hamilton indeed.

For the full list of winners of 2016 Tony Award winners, check out the list below!

Best Musical


Best Play

The Humans

Best Revival of a Musical

The Color Purple

Best Revival of a Play

Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge

Best Leading Actor in a Musical

Leslie Odom Jr., Hamilton

Best Leading Actress in a Musical

Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple

Best Featured Actor in a Musical

Daveed Diggs, Hamilton

Best Featured Actress in a Musical

Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton

Best Director of a Musical

Thomas Kail, Hamilton

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics)

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

Best Book of  a Musical

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

Best Choreography

Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton

Best Leading Actor in a Play

Frank Langella, The Father

Best Leading Actress in a Play

Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Best Featured Actor in a Play

Reed Birney, The Humans

Best Featured Actress in a Play

Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans

Best Director of a Play

Ivo van Hove, A View From the Bridge

Best Orchestrations

Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

David Rockwell, She Loves Me

Best Scenic Design of a Play

David Zinn, The Humans

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Paul Tazewell, Hamilton

Best Costume Design of a Play

Clint Ramos, Eclipsed

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Howell Binkley, Hamilton

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Natasha Katz, Long Day’s Journey Into Night


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