hamilton, tony awards.jpg
(L-R) US actor Daveed Diggs of 'Hamilton', British actress Cynthia Erivo of 'The Color Purple', US actor Leslie Odom Jr. of 'Hamilton', and US actress Renee Elise Goldsberry of 'Hamilton' pose with their Tony Awards in the press room in New York, New York, USA, 12 June 2016.
Photograph: EPA/JASON SZENES

New York (dpa) - The Broadway hit musical Hamilton won big at the 70th Tony Awards on Sunday, sweeping in the highest distinction for achievements in US live theatre in 11 categories.

The musical, which had received a record 16 nominations, won in several major categories including best musical, best performance by a lead actor and best original score, but it fell short of breaking the record of 12 Tony wins, which is held by the 2001 musical Producers.

Hamilton, which tells the story of US founding father Alexander Hamilton with a score featuring rap, jazz and hip-hop, took Broadway by storm last year, creating such a buzz that tickets are sold out until January.

The show's creator and lead actor, Lin-Manuel Miranda, who had already won the Pulitzer Prize for drama this year, scooped up two Tony Awards for best book of a musical and best original score.

Other big winners of the night were The Humans, which was awarded the distinction in four categories including best play, and Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge, which won best revival of a play and best direction of a play.

The awards show was overshadowed by the terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday that killed 50 people.

Host James Corden paid tribute to victims at the opening of the gala, saying "hate will never win."

"Theatre is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, is embraced and is loved," Corden said. "You are not on your own right now - your tragedy is our tragedy."​

In a sonnet Miranda wrote and read as his acceptance speech, he reflected on the importance of love and family "when senseless acts of tragedy remind us that nothing here is promised."

"Love cannot be killed or swept aside," he said. "Now fill the world with music, love and pride."

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