"Theater doesn't exist without the LGBT community. It is the cornerstone of our industry," Lin-Manuel Miranda said of why he wanted to address the Orlando shooting in his speech

By Jodi Guglielmi
June 13, 2016 12:35 PM
Theo Wargo/Getty

Lin-Manuel Miranda is opening up about his tearful Tonys acceptance speech.

The Hamilton creator acknowledged the victims of Sunday morning’s gay nightclub massacre in Orlando with a heartfelt sonnet he read while accepting the award for best score. Miranda said that after hearing of the tragedy, he knew he had to address it on stage.

“I hadn’t heard about today’s events until after our Tony rehearsal. I had always had this time between rehearsal and tonight to sit and think about what I would say if I would be lucky enough to be called up,” he told reporters following the Tony Awards. ” And it sort of informed all of it obviously. We live in this world where beautiful and horrible things exist at the same time.”

Miranda said he felt it was especially important to speak about the tragedy in front of the theater community, and its LGBT members.

“Theater doesn’t exist without the LGBT community. It is the cornerstone of our industry,” he explained. “And so it’s heavy on my heart today.”

Miranda accepted the award less than 24 hours after at least 50 people were killed and 53 injured in a shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando.

“We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer and love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside,” he said in his speech.

Leslie Odom Jr., who took home the award for best lead actor for his performance in Hamilton, also spoke about the Orlando shooting, admitting that he questioned if the Tonys should go on as planned given the circumstances.

“All of this seems silly. We were in rehearsal when we found out and it feels so futile, maybe we should pack it up. What are we doing. What is this all about,” he told reporters. “But then, we had a show today. We had a 2 p.m. show, and there are people in that room who spent every dime they had to be there. There are people in that room who have been waiting nine months.”

Odom Jr. said he wanted the Tonys to serve as a beacon of hope amid the tragedy.

“That is a bastion of hope for somebody. So that’s what we were today. I believe that even if people couldn’t watch the show today because they weren’t in a place today, they’ll watch it a week from now, two weeks from now,” he continued. “And it will make them feel better. It will bolster them.”

Including both Miranda and Odom Jr.’s wins, Hamilton took home an impressive 11 awards on Sunday night. And while it’s been reported that Miranda would be leaving the show to explore other projects, the actor revealed that he’s far from done with the smash hit musical.

“This is not the end of anything,” Miranda told Entertainment Tonight. “I don’t know when I’m leaving yet, but I think that I built a house I can come back to any time I want, so I’m really excited about that.”

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