Entertainment & Arts

Tony Awards: Donald Trump targeted at Kevin Spacey-hosted show

Kevin Spacey hosting the 2017 Tonys Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Spacey closed his opening number by tap dancing in top hat and tails

Kevin Spacey sang, danced and mimicked Bill Clinton at a Tony Awards ceremony where the policies of President Trump's administration were taken to task.

Best actor winner Kevin Kline summed up the mood by saluting the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts), which faces funding cuts under the Trump regime.

US talk show host Stephen Colbert also mocked Trump by suggesting his tenure as president "could close early".

Dear Evan Hansen was named best musical at the New York ceremony.

The show, about a teenager who fabricates a former friendship with a classmate who killed himself, also saw Pitch Perfect star Ben Platt named best actor in a musical.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Bette Midler was named best leading actress in a musical

Bette Midler received the female equivalent for her role in Hello, Dolly! and celebrated her second Tony win with a lengthy acceptance speech.

"Shut that crap off!" the veteran comedienne snapped at one point when the orchestra tried to play her off the stage.

Other awards went to Laurie Metcalf for her role in a newly written sequel to A Doll's House and to Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon for her supporting role in The Little Foxes.

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Media captionHighlights from the 2017 Tony Awards

There was also an award for Briton Nigel Hook, who won best scenic design for the Broadway transfer of British production The Play That Goes Wrong.

Yet other big names, among them Danny DeVito, Cate Blanchett and singer Josh Groban, left New York's Radio City Music Hall empty-handed.

Main Tony winners

  • Best play: Oslo
  • Best musical: Dear Evan Hansen
  • Best leading actor in a play: Kevin Kline, Present Laughter
  • Best leading actress in a play: Laurie Metcalf, A Doll's House, Part 2
  • Best leading actor in a musical: Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen
  • Best leading actress in a musical: Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!

Full list of 2017 winners

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Media captionBehind the scenes on Dear Evan Hansen

Spacey opened proceedings with a musical number that climaxed with him tap dancing in top hat and tails.

He also appeared in character as House of Cards' Frank Underwood, with his on-screen wife Robin Wright beside him.

But such comic flourishes went hand in hand with acceptance speeches that reflected America's politically charged climate.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Spacey impersonated Bill Clinton during Sunday's ceremony

Nixon's speech, in which she quoted directly from The Little Foxes playwright Lillian Hellman, was a case in point.

"Eighty years ago she wrote there are people who eat the earth and eat all the people on it, and other people who just stand around and watch them do it," she told the audience.

"My love, my gratitude and my undying respect go out to all the people in 2017 who are refusing to just stand and watch them do it."

Sunday's ceremony took place shortly after news that Delta Air Lines and Bank of America had withdrawn financial support for a New York production of Julius Caesar.

The contemporary staging of Shakespeare's play features an assassinated Caesar who resembles President Trump, a depiction Delta said had "crossed the line on the standards of good taste".

Last year's Tonys, hosted by Britain's James Corden, were dominated by hip-hop musical Hamilton. which won 11 awards.

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