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tony-awards-cbs-roses-billboard-1548The 71st annual Tony Awards aired live from Radio City Music Hall in New York last night to celebrate this year’s elite class of Broadway talent. The night was full of musical performances and a huge range of celebrities, both accepting and presenting awards.

This year’s host was “House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey. His opening number was a hit with audiences, paying respects to many of the nominated musicals. Spacey started by singing onstage, impersonating Ben Platt in the nominated musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” before being joined by Stephen Colbert who was disguised as a groundhog to pay homage to the nominated musical “Groundhog Day The Musical.” Other stars joined in to surprise the audience, including Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, and the Radio City Rocketts.

The cast of “Bandstand” took the stage to perform “Nobody.” Jill Biden, who received a standing ovation from the audience, introduced the the musical performance. The musical earned a Tony for best choreography on Sunday night and also was nominated for best orchestrations.

One musical though, took over the Tony Awards. “Dear Evan Hansen” won the most awards of the evening, taking home six Tonys total, including best musical. Ben Platt who stars in the show, performed “Waving Through a Window” and later in the night happily accepted the Tony for best lead actor in a musical.

Another star from “Dear Evan Hansen” was Rachel Bay Jones, who took home the award for best performance by an actress in a featured role. This was her first Tony. Jones gave a heartfelt acceptance speech where she thanked her daughter for sacrificing many bedtime stories so that she could star in the musical. Jones also thanked her grandmother for selling her engagement ring so she could start her career as an actress.

The Tony Awards also featured a performance of “Welcome to the Rock” from the cast of “Come From Away.” The musical had been in a tight battle with “Dear Evan Hansen,” but came up short. The musical was nominated for seven Tonys, and Christopher Ashley took one home for directing the musical.

Bette Midler, to the surprise of absolutely no one, won the Tony for her performance in the smash revival of “Hello, Dolly!” In a hilarious moment, Midler shouted down to the orchestra when it tried to curtail her acceptance speech. “Shut that crap off,” Midler snapped. The orchestra went silent as she went on to acknowledge everyone who had something to do with “Hello, Dolly!” — from composer Jerry Herman to Carol Channing, the original Dolly, to Pearl Bailey, who famously led an all-black cast in 1967.

Scott Rudin, the producer of “Hello, Dolly!,” also broke the rules. A recent Tony rule said that no more than six producers of a show could appear on stage to accept an award. When “Dolly!” won for Best Revival of Musical, Rudin brought the entire “Dolly” team onstage.

Shut out completely was “Groundhog Day The Musical,” which didn’t take home a single award. The show struggled at the box office, so the fate of the musical remains up in the air.

Overall, the night featured many great performances and entertained audiences. Many of the stars who won had never taken a Tony home before, which showcased the great amount of young talent that is currently in theater.

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