The atmosphere of intolerance in the US under President Donald Trump found mention in the politically-charged speeches of stars like Cynthia Nixon, Kevin Kline and Stephen Colbert at the 2017 Tony Awards. Held at Radio City Music Hall, various celebrities, who were honoured for their outstanding performances in the field of theatre, emphasised on how art can make a difference, reported Variety. Nixon, who won featured actress in a play for Lillian Hellman’s “The Little Foxes”, said she was grateful to have had the chance to perform in the groundbreaking 1939 play about lesbian relationships at “this specific moment in history.” She called it “eerily prescient”.
Kline, who won the Tony for leading actor in a play for “Present Laughter”, thanked the federally-funded organization National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which is feared to be on the chopping block for Trump’s new federal budget. The actor cited the NEA as an organisation “without which half the people in this room would not be here”. Winner of the lead actress in a musical, Bette Milder for “Hello, Dolly!”, slammed Trump but not without doing a plug for her show, by saying, “This thing has the ability to lift your spirits in these terrible, terrible times”. Colbert also took an aim at Trump. He joked about the revival in Washington, DC of a show that started off-Broadway in the 1980s.
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“This revival is supposed to have a four-year run but reviews have not been kind. It could close early — we don’t know,” Colbert quipped to a wild applause. Lynne Meadow, artistic director of the Manhattan Theater Club and actress Sally Field, who was nominated for “The Glass Menagerie”, were also among other celebrities, who made politically-charged addresses.