Tonys Makes History When Actors Of Color Sweep Musical Categories

For the first time in 70 years, all four musical acting awards went to people of color.

13/06/2016 2:12 PM AEST | Updated 14/06/2016 1:39 AM AEST
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Tonight, the 70th Annual Tony Awards made history when all four musical acting awards went to people of color. The winners include Leslie Odom Jr. for "Hamilton," Cynthia Erivo for "The Color Purple," Daveed Diggs for "Hamilton," and Renée Elise Goldsberry for "Hamilton."

Tonys host James Corden opened the night by describing the award show as "the Oscars, but with diversity." Even a look at the nomination list teased a night to remember -- the selected shows feature actors of color in lead roles and highlight the experiences of women and minorities in the U.S. and beyond, a distinct contrast to #OscarsSoWhite.

The history-making winners of the musical acting categories help prove that, as we previously wrote, this year was a different kind of year for the Great White Way.

Mic reported that the Tonys were close to making history in 1982, when the stars of "Dreamgirls" won the Lead Actor, Lead Actress and Featured Actor categories. In 1985, actors of color technically swept the musical categories; however, lead actor and actress in a musical categories weren't given out that year.

Beyond these four acting categories, "The Color Purple" won the award for Best Revival of a Musical and "Hamilton" won for Best Musical. ("Hamilton" won 11 awards total. Lin-Manuel Miranda himself took home trophies for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score.) Overall, 14 individual nominees were actors of color, including Miranda, Sophie Okonedo and Lupita Nyong'o, the latter of whom starred in "Eclipsed," the first play to be written and performed by a cast of all black women.

This year was a landmark for the Broadway community, but only time will tell if the 2017 season will continue to make inclusivity a priority. Here's to more musicals like "Hamilton," and more hashtags like #TonysSoDiverse. 

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