The 70th Tony Awards in New York opened with a sombre tribute to the Orlando attacks

The hip-hop musical 'Hamilton' swept the boards, taking home 11 awards on the night

Tony Awards, Orlando, Florida, Attack, Shooting, Hamilton, James Corden, Lin-Manuel Miranda

James Corden performs at the Tony Awards at the Beacon Theatre on Sunday, June 12, 2016, in New York. [Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP]

Last night in New York, the vibrant Broadway theatre scene was the toast of the town, as the  70th Tony Awards ceremony took place. Unsurprisingly, Hamilton, the hip-hop musical sensation based on the life of US founding father Alexander Hamilton, swept the boards, winning 11 different categories - just shy of the record 12 - and wowing the theatre and home-viewing audience with a musical number. But it was first-time host James Corden who struck all the right notes, starting the show with a sombre and fitting tribute to the Orlando attack victims.

Dedicating the evening’s telecast to the victims of the shooting, Corden spoke frankly about dealing with the aftermath and how the theatre community has always been a haven for the LGBTI community.

“All we can say is you are not on your own right now,” Cordon said in a muted and sombre tone between the all-kicking and all-dancing show tunes that usually punctuate the Tony Awards ceremony. “Your tragedy is our tragedy. Theatre is a place where every race, creed, sexuality, and gender is equal, is embraced, and is loved. Hate will never win.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Puerto Rican composer and star of Hamilton, also paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the Florida gay bar when he took to the stage to accept his award for ‘Best Original Score’, reading a pre-prepared sonnet in which he noted that “senseless acts of tragedy remind us that nothing here is promised” and “we live through times when hate and fear seem stronger.” Miranda, who will soon start filming the sequel to Mary Poppins with Emily Blunt, finishing with the upbeat message that “love last longer - and love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love… [and] cannot be killed or swept aside.”

Receiving his fourth Tony in 40 years, actor Frank Langella, winner of ‘Best Actor in a Play’ for The Father, also acknowledged the tragedy. “When something bad happens we have three choices: we let it define us, we let it destroy us, or we let it strengthen us,” Langella said, before adding: “Today in Orlando we had a hideous dose of reality, and I urge you Orlando to remain strong.”

The organisers of the Tony Awards announced earlier in the evening that a sheer silver ribbon had been commissioned to commemorate all those killed and affected by the attacks. The wearing of themed ribbons has long been associated with the theatre awards ceremony, with the red AIDS ribbon making its debut at the 1991 show.

You can read the full list of winners from last night’s Tony Awards below:

  • Musical - Hamilton
  • Lead actress in a musical - Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple
  • Lead actor in a musical - Leslie Odom Jr., Hamilton
  • Revival of a musical -The Color Purple
  • Play - The Humans
  • Revival of a Play - Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge
  • Lead actor in a play - Frank Langella, The Father
  • Choreography - Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton
  • Lead actress in a play - Jessica Lange, Long Day's Journey Into Night
  • Book of a musical - Hamilton
  • Orchestrations - Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton
  • Featured actor in a play - Reed Birney, The Humans
  • Direction of a musical - Thomas Kail, Hamilton
  • Direction of a play - Ivo Van Hove, Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge
  • Original score (music and/or lyrics) - Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
  • Featured actor in a musical - Daveed Diggs, Hamilton
  • Featured actress in a play - Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans
  • Featured actress in a musical - Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton
  • Scenic design of a play - David Zinn, The Humans
  • Scenic design of a musical - David Rockwell, She Loves Me
  • Costume design of a play - Clint Ramos, Eclipsed
  • Costume design of a musical - Paul Tazewell, Hamilton
  • Lighting design of a play - Natasha Katz, Long Day's Journey Into Night
  • Lighting design of a musical - Howell Binkley, Hamilton

For more entertainment news on Newstalk.com, please click here.