The Tony Awards Celebrate The Normal Heart and Other Inclusive Winners

There was a lot for LGBT viewers to appreciate about the 65th Annual Tony Awards, which took place Sunday night in New York City and aired live (EST) on CBS. 

Host Neil Patrick Harris poked fun at Broadway's popularity with the gay community, and Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart took home several awards, as did the inclusive musical The Book of Mormon.

Harris kicked off the night with a musical number entitled "Not Just for Gays Anymore," in which he ran through the crowd pointing out all the straight actors.  This included Brooke Shields, who Harris joked "made me think I was straight for like 23 years."  That wasn't the night's only LGBT-related song and dance number, however.  Later in the evening, singer Martha Walsh performed her hit "It's Raining Men" with the cast of the musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which follows three colorfully frocked drag queens on a life changing excursion through the bleak Australian desert.  Priscilla won a Tony for costume design off camera.

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone took home the Tony for Best Musical for their satirical look at the missionary life in The Book of Mormon.  One of the musical's characters is Elder McKinley (played by out actor Rory O'Malley), a closeted man who expresses his desire to suppress his sexual orientation through a song called "Turn it Off."  The musical ended up winning a total of nine awards, including one for co-director Casey Nicholaw who thanked his partner, Josh.

The Normal Heart won the Tony for Best Revival of a Play, while actors Ellen Barkin and John Benjamin Hickey each won for their featured roles in the production examining the earliest day of the AIDS epidemic. The out Benjamin Hickey thanked his “wise, wonderful” partner onstage, and Barkin described the role as “the proudest moment in my career.”  Playwright Kramer - who is also the subject of this month's Iconography on Sirius XM's LGBT channel OutQ - took the opportunity to dedicate the play to “gay people everywhere who I love so,” and added “Our day will come."

As they so often do, the Tony Awards showcased a range of talented LGBT people who have no qualms about being matter-of-factly out in their professional lives and celebrated numerous works that highlighted diverse LGBT stories.  As Robin Williams joked onstage, "the only beard here is on my face."

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