Tony Awards kick off with win for Andrew Garfield

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Andrew Garfield has won the Tony Award for best leading actor in a play for his work in Angels In America, Tony Kushner’s monumental drama about life and love during the 1980s.

Garfield plays a young gay man living with Aids in the sprawling, seven-hour revival opposite Nathan Lane.

Garfield dedicated the win to the LGBTQ community, who he said fought and died for the right to love. He said the play is a rejection of bigotry, shame and oppression.

“We are all sacred and we all belong,” Garfield said.

He then referenced last week’s US Supreme Court decision which ruled in favour of a baker’s right to deny a gay couple a wedding cake based on his beliefs.

“(Let’s) just bake a cake for everyone who wants a cake to be baked,” he said to rousing applause.

Co-hosts Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles kicked the show off with a self-parodying duet on piano for all the losers out there — including them.

Neither Bareilles nor Groban have won a Grammy or a Tony despite selling millions of albums and appearing on Broadway. They turned that into a playful song.

“Let’s not forget that 90 per cent of us leave empty-handed tonight. So this is for the people who lose/Most of us have been in your shoes,” they sang in the upbeat opening number.

“This one’s for the loser inside of you.”

The 72nd Annual Tony Awards – Show
Andrew Garfield accepts the award for best leading actor in a play for Angels In America (Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

The revival of Angels In America has 11 and the two-part play Harry Potter And The Cursed Child has 10.

Many critics have tapped The Band’s Visit as their odds-on favourite to be crowned best new musical.

A selection of Mean Girls was near the top of the show, one of several productions that would be featured during the ceremony.

The 72nd Annual Tony Awards – Show
Co-hosts Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles perform during the 72nd annual Tony Awards (Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

Last year’s ceremony drew six million viewers, which represented a drop of approximately 31% in total viewers from the previous year.

The show will be a sort of victory lap for a Broadway season that saw grosses hit another record high by pulling in 1.7 billion US dollars (£1.2 billion) — up 17.1% over last season’s 1.45 billion US dollars.

Attendance was also up, coming in a 13.79 million, an increase of 3.9% at last season’s 13.27 million.

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