Given the timing of the tragic Orlando nightclub shooting and the role the LGBT community plays in the world of theater, it was to be expected that tonight's Tony Awards would become a somber acknowledgment of one of the deadliest shootings in United States history. I tuned in anticipating a ton of emotional moments, but I was in no way prepared for the touching speech offered up by Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda.
As expected, Miranda's speech was inspired by this weekend's horrific events. But it wasn't your average Tonys speech, with a heartfelt tribute here, an inspirational quote there and plenty of lengthy pauses for applause. Rather, Miranda — who joked that he was too old for freestyle — wrote an entire sonnet dedicated to his wife and to the millions of other amazing individuals who, in the face of tragedy, continue to make America a wonderful place.
The short sonnet included everything grieving Americans needed to hear during this difficult time. Miranda began by praising his wife, claiming that she is the force behind all of his accomplishments and that she "nudges [him] towards promise by degrees." He quickly transitioned into discussing the tragedy that has had the entire nation glued to their #PrayForOrlando Twitter feeds all day, admitting that on weekends like these, "senseless acts of tragedy remind us that nothing here is promised."
Although the speech was quite somber at times, it gave us reason to hope for a brighter tomorrow. The best and most emotional part of the sonnet was particularly simple, but that didn't take away from its powerful message: "Love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside."
I'm certainly not the only one blown away by Miranda's sonnet. Twitter blew up after he left the stage.
I'm honestly never gonna stop pointing people to that sonnet. It is a fave, fixture of my life now. #TonyAwards— Sandra Mills (@SandraMG) June 13, 2016
Like everyone else, I am in complete shock, to the point that I find it difficult to focus on the cheeriness of the Tony Awards. When a senseless tragedy like this occurs, it all just feels so hopeless — and I'm not even a victim, a loved one of a victim or an Orlando resident. I'm removed from the situation, and yet, it really hits home. Things look mighty grim right now, but people like Miranda remind me that there is still a whole lot of good in the United States of America.
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