The 2016 Tony Awards Make History: People of Color Win All 4 Musical Acting Categories

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“Hamilton,” the hip-hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, took top honors at the 70th annual Tony Awards with its win for Best Musical. But that was hardly its only win.

The Lin-Manuel Miranda–created musical won 11 of the 16 awards it was nominated for, including Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role, Best Costume Design of a Musical, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Choreography, and Best Orchestrations. Despite this winning streak, it did not break any records. “The Producers,” which took home 12 Tonys in 2001, holds the distinction for the most wins at one Tonys Awards.

But there was a major watershed moment last night: All four Tonys for acting in musicals went to people of color. Those awards went to three “Hamilton” cast members Leslie Odom Jr. (Best Actor in a Leading Role), Daveed Diggs (Best Actor in a Featured Role), and Renée Elise Goldsberry (Best Actress in a Featured Role). Cynthia Erivo won Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for The Color Purple.


It was extra notable after the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag went viral earlier this year in response to the Academy Awards’ nominating only nomiated white actors for its top four acting categories. The Tony Awards celebrated the historic moment with a tweet that said, “For the first time in #TonyAwards history, all four musical acting awards have gone to people of color.”