Tony Awards 2017: 'Hello Dolly!,' 'Dear Evan Hansen' Up for Top Honors

Midler, 71, was considered a shoo-in to win in her category for playing the brassy, flamboyant Dolly Gallagher Levi, a socialite-turned-matchmaker set on snagging a rich husband in 1890s NY. But she said the experience had been "life-affirming and life-changing", telling reporters between tears, "It's more than I deserve". I hope I don't cry. Songwriter Pasek made a statement following the Tony Awards ceremony, saying, "The show is about how lonely we all can feel and I think we want kids to know that loneliness or that sense of isolation is a temporary thing", reports Billboard.

During the 11-minute opening number, he donned tap shoes and numerous costumes as he parodied the Broadway shows nominated for awards on Sunday night.

Taking to the stage, Bette began a long, riotous acceptance speech in which she thanked Tony voters - "many of whom I have dated" - and flat-out refused to let the orchestra play her off at the end of her allotted time.

Another production that was celebrated last night was the revival of Hello Dolly! which starred the phenomenal actress, Bette Midler. Watch Midler's speech and play-off dodge, below.

"The people who extended their hearts and their homes and were generous and kind at the very worst moments, to all of you, thank you". "And then to be representing my show and performing tonight - I just had the best time". She'd previously won a special (non-competitive) award in 1974 for "adding lustre to the Broadway season", but, at 71, she finally nabbed the recognition she deserved. Spacey said that he "just wanted to do a joke nobody would ever think I'd do". "It means 'near death'".

Soon after, cast members from "Come From Away" went onstage linked arm-in-arm with dancers and performed a snippet of "Welcome to the Rock" from the hit musical.

The classic "Hello, Dolly!" came back to Broadway to thunderous applause. She said, "This stage has the ability to lift your spirits in this awful, bad times-go see it". When they attempted to play her off, she told the sound crew to "turn that crap off!"

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.

Midler is the sparkly rhinestone centerpiece in the feathery headdress that is this show - the glue that holds it all together. The actor was poking fun at Midler who, after winning Best Actress in a Musical, disregarded her playoff music and kept right on talking.

  • Salvatore Jensen