TONY AWARDS

All Of the Gossip From the 2017 Tony Awards, Where Bette Midler Ruled Supreme

At the annual awards, Bette Midler and Dear Evan Hansen were among the night’s biggest winners.


Kevin Mazur

She may not have performed, but she managed to steal the show anyway.

If there’s anything to be learned from the 71st Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall, it’s that Bette Midler will have the last word; she will get off the stage when she’s good and ready and there is nothing anyone can do about it. The 71-year-old actress and Twitter champion effectively talked—and then talked some more —over the exit music while accepting her very first Tony for Lead Actress in a Musical for “Hello, Dolly!” which picked up four total awards, including Best Revival of a Musical. Orchestra, be damned.

“I just want to say that revival is an interesting word…it means that something was near death and was brought back to life,” Midler said in her acceptance speech, which ran well over four minutes. “But Hello, Dolly! has never been away. It has been here all along. It’s in our DNA. It’s optimism, it’s democracy, it’s color, it’s hilarity, it’s love of life…It has the ability to lift your spirits in these terrible, terrible times.”

Tony Awards 2017: See What Scarlett Johansson, Chrissy Teigen, and More Wore On the Red Carpet

Scarlett Johansson, in Michael Kors Collection, attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Chrissy Teigen, in Pamella Roland, attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Bette Midler, in Michael Kors Collection, attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

Bruce Glikas

Liu Wen and Zac Posen attend the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Olivia Wilde, in Michael Kors Collection, attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Sarah Paulson, in Rodarte, attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Jenna Lyons, in a Voutsa robe, attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Sylvain Gaboury

Alek Wek, in Oscar de la Renta, attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Anna Kendrick, in Miu Miu, attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Cynthia Nixon, in Rosie Assoulin, attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Glenn Close, in Giorgio Armani, attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Sara Bareilles, in Naeem Khan, attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Cynthia Erivo, in Chris Gelinas, attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Carolyn Murphy, in Michael Kors Collection, attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Cobie Smulders, in Schiaparelli Haute Couture, attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Laura Linney, in Derek Lam, attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Sally Field attends the 71st Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Eva Noblezada, in Jonathan Simkhai, attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

Dimitrios Kambouris

Uma Thurman attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Condola Rashad, in Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood, attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Mimi Lien attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Tina Fey, in Sally LaPointe, and Jeff Richmond attend the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Allison Janney attends the 71st Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Candice Swanepoel, in Prabal Gurung, attends the 71st Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.

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Seeing as the Trump administration’s 2018 federal budget has proposed eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts—which has nurtured arts and culture in the U.S. for over 50 years, shaping the theater landscape as we know it—the evening was not without political jabs. Host Kevin Spacey and presenter Stephen Colbert pulled no punches, while Kevin Kline, Cynthia Nixon and Sally Field, who sported a Planned Parenthood pin on her gown, threw subtler varieties of shade in their rousing speeches. Former Second Lady Jill Biden, meanwhile, received a standing ovation when she introduced a performance from Bandstand.

“Anytime a society is in a state of anxiety, the arts are more intense and vivid than ever because you see everything through the stories that are being told,” John Lithgow told W before the ceremony. Plugging his latest film, the politically-charged _Beatriz at Dinne_r, in which he stars across Salma Hayek, the 71-year-old actor is no stranger to the Tonys, himself a two-time winner and four-time nominee. “It’s a film thats uncannily of the moment,” he said. “We made it before November 8th, but I’ve never been in anything that’s ever been so coincidentally to the point.”

Elsewhere on the red carpet, Miss Saigon star Eva Noblezada radiated in a curve-hugging Jonathan Simkhai dress, doing her best exaggerated catwalk strut for an Instagram video. Supermodel trio Alek Wek, Candice Swanepoel, and Caroline Murphy turned up the glamour in looks by Oscar de la Renta, Prabal Gurung and Michael Kors, respectively, while Zac Posen and Liu Wen strutted arm-in-arm. “Liu got off the plane from China today, so that’s serious supermodel commitment,” Posen said.

With its themes of depression, bullying and belonging, the much-buzzed about Dear Evan Hansen edged out Come Here Away in the prestigious Best Musical category, taking home six total awards by the end of the night.. “I think a lot of people feel very isolated and alone, and they feel alone in their aloneness,” playwright Steven Levenson, who scooped the Tony for Best Book of a Musical, said “And there’s something about all art, and especially theater, where we see ourselves on stage and we think, ‘Oh, there are other people like me. I’m not the only one.’ That’s a really powerful thing.”

Getting Ready With Liu Wen and Zac Posen Before the 2017 Tony Awards

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.

Getting ready with model Liu Wen and designer Zac Posen before the 71st Annual Tony Awards in New York City.

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee for W Magazine.
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Broadway’s breakout star Ben Platt, who plays the title character, echoed the sentiment in his tearjerker of an acceptance speech for Best Actor in a Musical: “Don’t waste any time being anyone but yourself because the things that you make you strange are the things that make you powerful.”

Brandon Uranowitz, who was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for his role in Falsettos, walked the red carpet in an ACLU ribbon and Christian Louboutin loafers that spelled out the word L-O-V-E. “I think people take for granted how important the arts are and how much of an effect the arts have had on their lives,” he said. “But that’s the great thing about art: it happens to you subconsciously and consciously. It shapes who you are as a person whether you know it or not. And it’s not all about money. For me, tonight is about loving each other, loving what we do and acknowledging the necessity for it.”

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