Tonys: Audra McDonald, ‘The Inheritance’s’ Matthew Lopez, More Winners Push for Increased Broadway Inclusivity
'A Soldier's Play' winner Kenny Leon and Britton Smith from honoree the Broadway Advocacy Coalition were among those who called for live theater to feature greater diversity.
Just minutes earlier, best revival of a play winner Kenny Leon used his acceptance speech to reference Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, saying the names of the late Black people three times each.“We will never ever forget you,” Leon said, before telling the audience at home and within the Winter Garden Theatre that “we can do better,” arguing that the “table” of great artists should include such figures as the “late, great Melvin Van Peebles.”
“The land we’re standing on tonight is Native American land, so let’s hear all of the stories,” he said.In the press room, Leon spoke aboutA Soldier’s Play‘s relevance to today: “The play ends with a big image of an American flag with black men saluting the audience as we hear a Nipsey Hussle hip-hop tune. So I married 1940 to 2020 and its even more important now given what happened right after we opened the play with George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.”
He added, “I just think as artists, it’s our job is to really impact the world through our storytelling. And like I said on stage, the more stories we hear, the clearer we get to truth.”Earlier, during the first half of the four-hour extravaganza, airing exclusively on Paramount+, host Audra McDonald recalled, during her monologue, how the Winter Garden Theatre was home to the Tonys in 1975, where headtopics.com
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