Andrew Garfield has won the Tony Award for best leading actor in a play for his work in Angels In America, Tony Kushner’s monumental drama about life and love during the 1980s.
Garfield plays a young gay man living with Aids in the sprawling, seven-hour revival opposite Nathan Lane.
Garfield dedicated the win to the LGBTQ community, who he said fought and died for the right to love. He said the play is a rejection of bigotry, shame and oppression.
“We are all sacred and we all belong,” Garfield said.
He then referenced last week’s US Supreme Court decision which ruled in favour of a baker’s right to deny a gay couple a wedding cake based on his beliefs.
“(Let’s) just bake a cake for everyone who wants a cake to be baked,” he said to rousing applause.
Co-hosts Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles kicked the show off with a self-parodying duet on piano for all the losers out there — including them.
Neither Bareilles nor Groban have won a Grammy or a Tony despite selling millions of albums and appearing on Broadway. They turned that into a playful song.
“Let’s not forget that 90 per cent of us leave empty-handed tonight. So this is for the people who lose/Most of us have been in your shoes,” they sang in the upbeat opening number.
“This one’s for the loser inside of you.”
Two new musicals lead the nominations for the top Tony Award crown, with Tina Fey’s Mean Girls and SpongeBob SquarePants receiving 12 nods each.
The revival of Angels In America has 11 and the two-part play Harry Potter And The Cursed Child has 10.
Many critics have tapped The Band’s Visit as their odds-on favourite to be crowned best new musical.
A selection of Mean Girls was near the top of the show, one of several productions that would be featured during the ceremony.
Getting buzz from appearing on the telecast can dictate a show’s future, both on Broadway and on tour, while Bareilles and Groban will also hope to end a ratings slide following the 2016 edition that was led by Hamilton, which drew 8.73 million viewers.
Last year’s ceremony drew six million viewers, which represented a drop of approximately 31% in total viewers from the previous year.
The show will be a sort of victory lap for a Broadway season that saw grosses hit another record high by pulling in 1.7 billion US dollars (£1.2 billion) — up 17.1% over last season’s 1.45 billion US dollars.
Attendance was also up, coming in a 13.79 million, an increase of 3.9% at last season’s 13.27 million.