"It’s like the Oscars if they were actually diverse," James Corden said at the opening of the 70th Annual Tony Awards.
While the Tonys are usually almost as #SoWhite as the Oscars, 2016 proved to be a year of exceptional diversity, driven in part by Hamilton, whose cast is almost entirely made up of people of color.
Thus, it was only right that Hamilton’s featured performance include the line that stops the show cold every night on Broadway, forcing the orchestra to vamp for three extra measures as the audience applauds: "Immigrants. We get the job done."
It’s a celebration of inclusivity and the rich history of immigration, and it’s fitting that a show so committed to diversity would use its most high-profile platform to deliver that message.
The line arrives in the show-stopping battle song "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)," in which Hamilton and his fellow immigrant Lafayette lead the scrappy underdog revolutionaries to victory against the British.
It’s a thrilling song with tons of the propulsive ensemble dancing that Hamilton uses so well, but there are a few aspects of the show that are conspicuous by their absence.
For one thing, the dancers opted to omit the rifles and bayonets they usually dance with, in honor of the victims of the Orlando shootings.
But even more strikingly: Where, one might ask, are the show's lead actresses? Where were Renée Elise Goldsberry as the brilliant and show-stealing Angelica Schuyler, who won a Tony for the role, or Phillipa Soo as the sweet and courageous Eliza, another Tony-nominated role?
And where, speaking of outrageous oversights, was Leslie Odom Jr., who defeated Lin-Manuel Miranda himself for the Tony for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, thanks to Odom's performance as the sneaky, slippery Aaron Burr?
It turns out the show was saving the best for last. In a surprise performance, right after Hamilton surprised absolutely no one by winning the Tony for Best Musical, the cast sang out the show with "The Schuyler Sisters," in which Goldsberry and Soo celebrate how lucky they are to be alive and in New York City. And the song started with Odom's solo, a moment of playful rapped banter in which Burr tries to woo Angelica and is rebuffed.
The actors are all so tired and emotional that their voices are shaking a little, but it gives the moment even more oomph. Watch the cast of Hamilton, giddy and gleeful, sing, "Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now," and just try not to grin.