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Twenty-five years after Tony Kushner’s Angels in America first hit Broadway — and won the Tony for best play in 1993 — its 2018 iteration starring Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane took home the award for best revival of a play on Sunday night at this year’s Tony Awards. The show beat out other formidable contenders, including Three Tall Women.
At the 72nd annual ceremony, held at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, playwright Kushner accepted the award on behalf of the show. In his speech, he stressed the importance of voting in this year’s midterm elections in November and gave a birthday shout-out to one of his favorite entertainers.
“[We have] 21 weeks to save our democracy to heal our country and heal our planet,” he said. “And then what kind of homosexual would I be if I didn’t say it’s June 10 — happy birthday, Judy Garland. Bye!”
Earlier in the night, Garfield — who plays Prior Walter, a gay man diagnosed with AIDS under President Ronald Reagan’s administration — won the Tony for best actor in a play. In his acceptance speech, he dedicated his victory to the LGBTQ community.
“At a moment in time where maybe the most important thing that we remember now is the sanctity of the human spirit, it is the profound privilege of my like to play Prior Walter in Angels in America, because he represents the purest spirit of humanity and especially that of the LGBTQ community,” Garfield said. “It is a spirit that says no to oppression. It is a spirit that says no to bigotry. No to shame. No to exclusion. It’s a spirit that says we are all made perfectly and we all belong. So I dedicate this award to the countless LGBTQ people who have fought and died to protect that spirit. To protect that message. For the right to live and love as we are created to.”
Garfield also alluded to the Supreme Court’s recent decision, narrowly ruling in favor a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Though the Court did not rule on the issue of whether a business can invoke religious objections to refuse service to gay and lesbian people, the actor concluded: “We are all sacred and we all belong. So let’s just bake a cake for everyone who wants a cake to be baked.”
Lane also took home the award for best actor in a featured role.
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