“Both my parents are here tonight. I have avoided so many events with them because for so many years of my life I pretended I was not a Middle Eastern person. And after 9/11 it was very, very difficult for me and so I concealed and I missed so many special events with them. And they're looking at me right now and I can't believe it.
“I'm just so thankful to Orin Wolf, ... for telling a small story about Arabs and Israelis getting along at a time where we need that more than ever.
“I am part of a cast of actors who never believed that they'd be able to portray their own races and we are doing that. And not only that but we're getting messages from kids all over the Middle East thanking us and telling us how transformative our representation is for them. And so I just want to thank the whole team, David Cromer, Yazbek for writing an amazing song. I'm so proud of you, my cast, this is the craziest moment of my life, I never thought I'd be there.
With members of the audience wiping away tears, drama students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., delivered a devastatingly poignant moment at the Tony Awards on Sunday, filling Radio City Music Hall with “Seasons of Love” from “Rent.”
The performance followed the announcement that the American Theatre Wing and Carnegie Mellon University had honored Melody Herzfeld, a drama teacher at the school, with the 2018 Excellence in Theatre Education Award. During the Feb. 14 shooting that killed 17 students, more than 60 of Herzfeld’s kids took refuge in her office. She later helped her students come to terms with their trauma and grief by steering them in a performance, a week later, of the song “Shine” at a CNN Town Hall.
“Next to the passing of my dear parents, the birth of my sons and the reunifying of my theater students on Feb. 14, there has never been a more defining moment in my life,” Herzfeld said Sunday.
Fresh on the heels of her Tony win as actress in a musical for "Carousel," Lindsay Mendez shared the career advice she's glad she didn't take:
"I just want to say when I moved to New York, I was told to change my last name from ‘Mendez’ to ‘Matthews,’ or I wouldn't work," she said in her acceptance speech. "And I just want to say how proud I am to be part of a community that celebrates diversity and individuality. And to all of you artists out there, just be your true self and the world will take note."
Backstage, Mendez revealed that she'd briefly considered making the name change but the thought of how her family might react made her reconsider.
Laurie Metcalf was anything but a shoo-in for a Tony Award, so her win Sunday for featured actress in “Three Tall Women” naturally raises the question: Did “Roseanne” controversy play a part in her victory?