The award for Leon was a surprise: Many had expected Tim Carroll to win for his acclaimed production of "Twelfth Night."
"That was shocking and stunning and surprising. But I felt the production was well deserving of a Tony Award," Leon said backstage.
"Whenever a young person sees someone who's accomplished something, it says it's possible for them," he said.
"He believed I could come here and make this leap into being an American on the south side of Chicago," she said, tearing up. "He just really wants to tell the truth, he didn't want any showy kind of acting or any tricks. He wanted it to be simple and true."
About her own Tony, she said she didn't expect a win, and didn't have a speech prepared.