Hamilton wins big in Tony Awards ceremony dedicated to Orlando shooting victims

The 2016 Tony Awards (Reuters)
The 2016 Tony Awards (Reuters)

The 2016 Tony Awards were dominated by one show: Hamilton, the musical about United States founding father Alexander Hamilton, which has been playing to sold-out houses since opening on Broadway in August last year.

However, American theatre's biggest awards night, held on Sunday (local time) in New York, began on a sombre note with host James Corden dedicating the ceremony to those affected by the mass shooting in Orlando.

"On behalf of the whole theatre community and every person in this room, our hearts go out to all of those affected by that atrocity," he said. "All we can say is you are not on your own right now. Your tragedy is our tragedy. Theatre is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, is embraced and is loved. 

Hamilton wins big in Tony Awards ceremony dedicated to Orlando shooting victims

Tony Awards host James Corden (C) (Reuters)

Diversity was a key feature of the ceremony, which had been billed as a counterpoint to '#OscarsSoWhite' -- criticism that the 2015 and 2016 Academy Awards lacked adequate representation across races.

For the first time in Tony Awards history, all four acting awards in the musical categories went to people of colour.

Hamilton, which tells the story of key political figures of the American Revolutionary War through hip-hop with an ethnically diverse cast, won 11 awards -- falling just short of the record 12 won by The Producers in 2001.

The show opted not to use imitation muskets in its performance at the ceremony, with creator Lin-Manuel Miranda saying "On a day where we've seen tragic gun violence, I don't think we want to see guns on screen today. I want the music to speak for itself and the music to be the loudest thing here tonight."

Hamilton wins big in Tony Awards ceremony dedicated to Orlando shooting victims

Hamilton's Leslie Odom Jr (Reuters)

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