Kevin Kline, Cynthia Nixon win early Tony Awards honoring Broadway's best

Bette Midler, star of the Broadway revival of "Hello, Dolly!", won her first competitive Tony award on Sunday night, taking home the statuette for Best Actress in a Musical.

Bette Midler accepts the award for best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical for "Hello, Dolly!" at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in NY. Best performance by an actress in a featured role in a musical: Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan HansenBest book of a musical: Dear Evan Hansen, Steven LevensonBest original score (music and/or lyrics) written for the theater: Dear Evan Hansen, Benj Pasek & Justin PaulBest scenic design of a play: Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes WrongBest scenic design of a musical: Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812Best costume design of a play: Jane Greenwood, Lillian Hellman's The Little FoxesBest costume design of a musical: Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!

Last night, the pair achieved the top Broadway honor for the music for "Dear Evan Hansen".

Midler previously won a Tony Award in 1974, but she had never won in an acting category before this year.

The actress lauded Hellman for her "eerily prescient play".

Kline won the lead actor Tony for his turn as an egocentric actor in Noel Coward's "Present Laughter".

Noting one of its lines about people who "eat the Earth" and others who "watch them do it", Nixon praised present-day activists as "the people who in 2017 are refusing to just stand around and watch them do it". She won three Emmy Awards for her role as Jackie Harris on "Roseanne".

"Revival is an interesting word", she continued about the show, which also won for Best Revival of a Musical.

"The arts are a source of revenue for the city and a great source of revenue for the United States, if only they weren't so narrow-minded and perverse about helping with the NEA and helping the arts out in our world", she said.

The show's comedy had zings for Democrats and Republicans alike, with Colbert mocking President Trump as if he were a show from Washington with bad hair and makeup that will be "closing early" because of poor reviews.

In an attempt to shake up the show, producers asked the Rockettes back on a Tony stage after 13 years.

Bette Midler at the 2017 Tony Awards.

Kevin Spacey, from left, Michael Kelly and Robin Wright appear as their characters from "House of Cards" as they present Lin-Manuel Miranda with the envelope for best musical at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in NY.

  • Salvatore Jensen