Top Tony moments: Miranda's tearful sonnet, Corden's antics, Barbra's ovation

As presenter Barbra Streisand noted, 'tonight our joy is tinged with sorrow' — and she wasn't the only one making reference to the horrific Orlando shootings during the Tony Awards ceremony. But the night was also a celebration of the power of theatre to bring joy.

'Think of tonight as the Oscars, but with diversity,' host James Corden said

The cast of Hamilton, including creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, performs onstage during the 70th Annual Tony Awards. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

As presenter Barbra Streisand noted, "tonight our joy is tinged with sorrow" — and she wasn't the only one making reference to the horrific Orlando shootings during the Tony Awards ceremony. But the night was also a celebration of the power of theatre to bring joy. And there much joy for the cast and creators of the wildly popular Hamilton, which won a whopping 11 Tonys.

A look at some of the night's top moments, both onstage and off:

A searing sonnet

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, the eloquent hero of this Broadway season, is known for giving acceptance speeches in freestyling rap. But on this night, he told the crowd, he opted to write a sonnet instead.

His own tears over the Orlando tragedy were infectious, as he spoke of "when senseless acts of tragedy remind us that nothing is promised, not one day."

But, he added: "Hope and love last longer, and love is love is love is love."

The look of diversity

For all the talk about diversity and inclusiveness this season (absent at the Oscars, present at the Tonys), nothing could beat one powerful image: All four of the musical acting winners were black actors.

Musical acting Tony winners, from left, Daveed Diggs, Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom, Jr., and Renee Elise Goldsberry. (Charles Sykes/Invision/Associated Press)

"Think of tonight as the Oscars, but with diversity," host James Corden had said at the beginning of the show.

"It's so diverse that Donald Trump has threatened to build a wall around this theatre."

Corden's Broadway cred 

Speaking of Corden, after his own sombre opening referring to Orlando — a piece he pre-recorded to be sure to get it right — the late-night TV host delighted the crowd with an ode to what seemed like dozens of past Broadway shows, from Les Misérables to Phantom of the Opera to Sweeney Todd to Grease

And there's no easier way to win over a theatre-loving audience than to sing a few bars from Rose's Turn in Gypsy.

What you didn't see 

James Corden, left, and Jeff Daniels sing The Sound of Music at the Tony Awards on Sunday. (Evan Agostini/Invision/Associated Press)

During commercial breaks, Corden worked the crowd a bit, and this included enlisting prominent audience members for impromptu singalongs.

He got Jeff Daniels to sing from The Sound of Music, and he got Jake Gyllenhaal and Sean Hayes to sing from Aladdin. When he saw that Gyllenhaal was chewing gum, he simply took it and put it in his own mouth.

Outside antics 

Speaking of singalongs, Corden adopted the Hamilton practice of performing for a streetside crowd, actual putting on brief shows outside the Beacon Theater.

James Corden performed onstage and off during the Tony Awards. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

This made for some odd combinations, like Miranda and Andrew Lloyd Webber joining Steve Martin and Edie Brickell in singing Tomorrow from Annie — or the cast of Fiddler on the Roof singing There's No Business Like Show Business from Annie Get Your Gun.

A blast from the past for Groban

Speaking of Fiddler, Corden had a surprise for presenter Josh Groban: He unearthed, and played, a clip of the singer performing Tevye as a high school student. Groban seemed to have a good sense of humour about it.

Giving thanks 

Many people thank their parents or their kids in their speeches, but Renee Elise Goldsberry, who plays Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton, had an especially poignant moment speaking about her years-long struggle to become a mother.

"If you know anything about me you know I've spent the last 10 years just trying to have children," she said. "God gave me Benjamin, he gave me Brielle — and he still gave me this," she said, gesturing to her Tony.

A View from the Bridge director Ivo Van Hove won the Tony for best direction of a play. (Charles Sykes/Invision/Associated Press)

You never know

Ivo Van Hove, who won for best direction of a play (Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge,) told the story of how when he first came to New York at age 20, he met a woman on a park bench, and told her he was an aspiring theatre director.

She asked for his autograph — because, she said, "you never know." So, the director surmised in his Tony speech: "She's watching now and thinking, 'See? I was right."'

Partying like there's no (performance) tomorrow

If you were the Hamilton cast, wouldn't YOU be partying? The Hamilton bunch had a day off on Monday, and it's a good thing: their after-party Sunday night was way cooler than the official post-Tony gala.

The cast of Hamilton took the top award for best musical at the Tony Awards and closed out the show with a second performance. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

The show took over the Tavern on the Green restaurant in Central Park, and danced to a DJ until the early hours. Rapper Common, who introduced Hamilton at the ceremony, was among the guests. Besides eating, drinking and dancing, one could pose against a green screen and be inserted into a famous Hamilton photograph.

Barbra dresses just right 

Introducing Streisand, Corden warned that medical personnel were standing by, just in case her return was too exciting for some.

Singer Barbra Streisand presented the night's biggest award at the American Theatre Wing's 70th annual Tony Awards on Sunday. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

She was appearing on the Tony stage for the first time since 1970 to present the award for Best Musical — to Hamilton, of course.

"You're making me verklempt!" she called out when the crowd gave her an ovation. Dressed in a ruffled, high-collared white blouse and black vest, she quipped when she opened the envelope: "Thank God I picked the right outfit."

A little self-esteem can't hurt 

Sheldon Harnick, the 92-year-old lyricist, wasn't above a little healthy self-promotion when he received his Lifetime Achievement Award.

Responding to the accolades that had just been showered upon him, he replied: "Thank you. If I didn't deserve it, this would be embarrassing."

The cast of The Colour Purple accepts the award for Best Revival of a Musical onstage. (Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)


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