After a golden night with 11 trips to the winners' stage, the "Hamilton" cast and behind-the-scenes team spoke backstage about the show's amazing run, the tragedy Florida and more.
Producer Jeffrey Seller on the show's origins: "We told Lin-Manuel [Miranda], if you’re going down that road, we’re going with you. As he started to write songs and formulate what he thought was going to originally be a concept album, we were getting more and more excited. ’This will be a pretty good show.' Every passing week, we were astounded by the way 'Hamilton' has reached out its tentacles and roots and affected so many people in America."
Seller on the shooting in Orlando: “I think we all have dealt with tragedy in a personal way — as a gay man, as a part of that community, as a citizen of this country. It has reminded me yet again of how all of our lives are intersections of joy, and tragedy. The tragedy has dampened [the Tonys] a little bit, made it tougher. I’ve lost my good friend [composer] Jonathan Larson on the day of our first preview of 'Rent.' [Seller chokes up and then goes on.] And the only way to honor Jonathan was to go, and the only way to honor what has transpired is to go on.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda on Orlando: “I hadn’t learned of today’s events until after the Tony rehearsal. We live in a world where beautiful and horrible things exist and sometimes happen on the same day. You can’t let that moment go by. Theater is a cornerstone of the LBGT community. Theater doesn’t exist without it.” Speaking in Spanish, he continued: “This lies heavily in my heart. This is a day of sadness, and we mourn the victims. But at the same time, it also a day of celebration, not only for me but for creative partners and my family.”
Leslie Odom Jr., Tony winner for his role as Aaron Burr in "Hamilton": “When Phylicia Rashad won [in 2004], she said she wondered “What would it take?” [to win a Tony]. I wondered the same thing. And the most interesting thing was because only one person gets up to accept, I thought you get it for a solo effort. You were so fabulous on your own. I didn’t realize what a team of people it would take and all the people that I’m leaning on.”
Odom on giving up hope on his career: “You need to put your head down and ... try not to lose hope. Somewhere I lost the way, I lost this vision. Meeting this material awakened me again. This show has so helped me find some direction and some purpose. And this is what I always felt that I was meant to be doing and waiting for Lin to write it. That’s the gift.”
Daveed Diggs, winner for featured actor, about all the acting awards in musical categories going to actors of color: "Growing up I felt that there was no place for me here. But this place is so inclusive. Not just culturally but in terms of ability, and in terms of age. There is so much diversity on Broadway now. I’m so proud to be a part of it, so happy to see so many kids around. ... Theater feels more mainstream and lot more inclusive that it did when I was a kid. And that’s because 'Hamilton' allows us to put so much of ourselves into the show."
Diggs on the celebrity attention "Hamilton" is getting: "People often ask me, 'What is the most surreal moment?' And I say, 'Meeting Barack for the second time.' The day we spent at the White House with them, the day they opened the White House to us. We were teaching workshops for kids. This president — it’s not going to happen again. ... Wherever you stand politically, they represent a kind of heart we need very badly right now. They manage to see themselves in what we’re doing."
— Patrick Pacheco