Cynthia Erivo took home the honor of Best Actress in a Musical at last night’s Tony. Erivo portrayed Selle in the Broadway reprise of The Color Purple. Also taking home a top acting award was Leslie Odom, Jr. Who plays Burr in the musical Hamilton. Odom won the honor over Lin-Manuel Miranda, who plays Hamilton and has gained a wider audience from his freestyle rapping video with President Barrack Obama.
The role was Erivo’s debut on Broadway. For Odom, it was his first leading role.
Erivo was gratitude personified in her acceptance speech. “Hi Mommy, look,” the actress said as tears filled her eyes. She thanked the show’s producers, including everyone’s fairy godmother, Oprah. She also thanked Alice Walker for her novel that stood the test of time.
“To every single person in my cast, you are magnificent. Thank you so much for lifting me up when I’m tired, for holding my hand when I’m happy, for kissing me on my forehead when you know I just need some love.”
Odom, who plays Aaron Burr in the play, seemed genuinely surprised taking the stage after his Tony win for lead actor in a musical for “Hamilton.” “Thank you so much,” he said, looking around the room, which was erupting with applause.
“Lin-Manuel, God bless you, man,” he said to the production’s creator. (Just like the history books, Burr bested Hamilton.) “You’ve given us a new vision of what’s possible. I thank God for your mission, for your calling in life.”
It’s been a ground breaking week for Odom who release his first solo album on June 10. The self-titled Leslie Odom Jr. includes show tunes and jazz classics, from Jerome Kern’s ”Look for the Silver Lining” to Jule Styne’s “The Party’s Over.”
The Broadway smash won 11 awards at Sunday’s Tony Awards coming up one short of the record for the most Tony awards, which was set by “The Producers” in 2001.
“Hamilton,” a hip hop musical, won the big prize of the night: Best Musical and a total of 10 awards.