Filipinos take stage at the 71st Annual Tony Awards

NEW YORK CITY — Hosted by “House of Cards” TV President Kevin Spacey, the 71st Annual Tony Awards went to new Broadway shows like Dear Evan Hansen and Oslo, while paying special tribute to musical revivals such as Bette Midler’s “Hello Dolly!” and the Filipino-majority cast of Miss Saigon.

TV and movie stars like Cynthia Nixon, Kevin Kline, and Ben Platt each got a Tony, while Bette Midler took home this year’s best performance by a lead actress in a musical, beating Filipina co-nominee Eva Noblezada.

Hello Dolly also won best musical revival, beating Miss Saigon and Falsettos.

“This category for lead actress is very tough, because Bette Midler is such a force… when she steps on stage she doesn’t have to say anything, she consumes the energy of the entire theater,” commented Tony voter and three-time winner Jhett Tolentino.

Noblezada was nominated for her role as Kim in Miss Saigon. She is the second Filipino actress who has received a Tony nomination for the role of Kim — which Lea Salonga originated (and won a Tony for) in 1991.

“For the rest of her life, she will always be Tony nominee Eva Noblezada, for the rest of her life for every professional gig she does from here on out, that is going to be what will be attached to her in a press release, in a promotional b-roll, forever,” said Salonga. “I think just the nomination was a big career boost for her.”

Salonga went to the Tony’s with two goals: to present Miss Saigon’s live musical performance together with Jon Jon Briones, and to take lots of selfies with the stars.

With talks of a new Filipino musical coming to the Broadway stage soon, it won’t be a surprise to see more Filipinos attending next year’s Tony awards.


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