Tony Awards Ceremony Dedicated to Victims of Orlando Nightclub Shooting Tragedy
The show will go on.
Broadway is honoring the victims of the tragic shooting in Orlando, Florida, that took the lives of at least 50 people and injured at least 53 more by devoting the Tony Awards broadcast to them on Sunday night.
“Our hearts are heavy for the unimaginable tragedy that happened last night in Orlando. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected,” an update on the Tonys website reads. “The Tony Awards dedicate tonight’s ceremony to them.”
Later, organizers reiterated that the show would go on.
“The Tony Awards is about celebrating live theater, illuminating the human condition in all its diverse forms. We walk into the Beacon Theater tonight with thoughts of our brothers and sisters in Orlando clearly in our hearts,” they said, per The New York Times.
Many Broadway actors including Lin-Manuel Miranda and Audra McDonald took to social media to weigh in on the tragedy.
The cast of Hamilton will also set aside its usual prop muskets during Sunday’s performance on the telecast, a spokesman said, per CNN.
President Barack Obama ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff in the wake of the shooting, and the Orlando Eye will be lit up in rainbow colors tonight. In addition, Sunday night vigils are being organized throughout the country, including outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City, the site of historic demonstrations by members of the LGBT community against a police raid in June 1969.
According to police, a single gunman opened fire just after 2 a.m. local time at Pulse, a popular gay club south of downtown Orlando. An officer working at the club initially responded to the shooter, “engaging in the gun battle with the suspect” before the suspect went back into the club, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said at a Sunday morning news conference.
The shooter held several people hostage for several hours. At 5 a.m., police moved in to rescue the hostages. More gunshots followed, and police also used explosives in an attempt to distract the suspect. Eventually, the gunman was shot and killed.
• With reporting by MICHELLE TAUBER