Glee actress makes history with incredible achievement at the 2019 Tony Awards

Posted on in MUSIC VIDEOS
John Paul Filo/CBS Getty Images

Glee star Ali Stroker made history at the Tony Awards on Sunday night (June 9), as she became the first person in a wheelchair to be nominated for and win a Tony Award.

The annual celebration of Broadway’s finest, hosted by James Corden at Radio City Music Hall in New York, saw Stroker take home the trophy for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Ado Annie in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

The 31-year-old, who was a finalist on the second season of The Glee Project and later appeared as a guest star on Glee as Betty Pillsbury in 2013, dedicated her award to children with disabilities.

“This award is for every kid who is watching tonight who has a disability, who has a limitation or a challenge, who has been waiting to see themselves represented in this arena,” she said during her emotional acceptance speech.

Stroker also performed a rendition of her musical number ‘I Cain’t Say No’, while Oklahoma! also won the trophy for Best Revival of a Musical.

Meanwhile, Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston picked up the second Tony of his career, winning Best Leading Actor in a Play for his role as newsman Howard Beale in Network. He collected the same award in 2014 for his portrayal of Lyndon B. Johnson in All the Way.

Glee actress makes history with incredible achievement at the 2019 Tony Awards

John Paul Filo/CBS Getty Images

He had some tough competition in the category, beating Adam Driver (Burn This), Jeff Daniels (To Kill a Mockingbird), Paddy Considine (The Ferryman) and Jeremy Pope (Choir Boy).

Cranston also got political in his acceptance speech, referencing US President Donald Trump’s frequent tweets about “fake news” and dedicating his win to the press.

“The media is not the enemy of the people,” he said. “Demagoguery is the enemy of the people.

“I would like to dedicate this to all the real journalists around the world, both in the press and the print media and also broadcast media, who actually are in the line of fire with their pursuit of the truth.”

He added backstage: “It’s absurd to think the media is the enemy of the people. The perception of the truth is often more important than the truth because if people believe it, it doesn’t matter really if it’s true or not – people believe it.”

Cranston also maintained that it’s vital we don’t try to “make enemies from people who have a different opinion”.

Corden was hosting the event for the second time and kicked things off with a nine-minute opening number poking fun at the battle between live TV and streaming.

Meanwhile, the coveted Best Musical award went to Hadestown and the Sam Mendes-directed The Ferryman won Best Play.

Here are the Tony Awards 2019 major category winners in full:

Best Musical

Ain’t Too Proud to Beg

Beetlejuice

Hadestown – WINNER

The Prom

Tootsie

Best Play

Choir Boy by Tarell Alvin McCraney

The Ferryman by Jez Butterworth – WINNER

Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus by Taylor Mac

Ink by James Graham

What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck

Best Leading Actor in a Musical

Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom

Derrick Baskin, Ain’t Too Proud

Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice

Damon Daunno, Oklahoma!

Santino Fontana, Tootsie – WINNER

Best Leading Actress in a Musical

Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show – WINNER

Caitlin Kinnunen, The Prom

Beth Leavel, The Prom

Eva Noblezada, Hadestown

Kelli O’Hara, Kiss Me, Kate

Best Leading Actor in a Play

Paddy Considine, The Ferryman

Bryan Cranston, Network – WINNER

Jeff Daniels, To Kill a Mockingbird

Adam Driver, Burn This

Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy

Best Leading Actress in a Play

Annette Bening, All My Sons

Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman

Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery – WINNER

Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet

Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton

Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me

Best Direction of a Musical

Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown – WINNER

Scott Ellis, Tootsie

Daniel Fish, Oklahoma!

Des McAnuff, Ain’t Too Proud

Casey Nicholaw, The Prom

Best Direction of a Play

Rupert Goold, Ink

Sam Mendes, The Ferryman – WINNER

Bartlett Sher, To Kill a Mockingbird

Ivo van Hove, Network

George C. Wolfe, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater

‘Be More Chill’, Joe Iconis

‘Beetlejuice’, Eddie Perfect

‘Hadestown’, Anaïs Mitchell – WINNER

‘The Prom’, Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, Adam Guettel

‘Tootsie’, David Yazbek


Want up-to-the-minute entertainment news and features? Just hit ‘Like’ on our Digital Spy Facebook page and ‘Follow’ on our @digitalspy Instagram and Twitter account.