'Dear Evan Hansen' big winner at 2017 Tony Awards

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Sandy Kenyon recaps the 2017 Tony Awards.

No clear favorite this year meant more excitement, and the race for the top prize of "Best Musical" was too close to call going at last night's Tony Awards.

Host Kevin Spacey's opening medley "I'm Broadway bound" featured music from the nominated shows with lyrics altered to fit his persona.

The melody came from the night's big winner "Dear Evan Hansen," the musical about adolescent angst, the aftermath of suicide and power of social media captured the imagination of Tony voters.

"Dear Evan Hansen" was called the year's best musical and earned a total of half a dozen Tony awards including a trophy for Rachel Bay Jones, who plays Evan's mom and Ben Platt, who stars as her son.

"Don't waste any time trying to be anyone but yourself because the things that make you strange are what make you powerful...thank you," Platt said in his acceptance speech, speaking directly to the young people.

This year the Tony voters spread the wealth around, calling "Hello Dolly" the best musical revival, and honoring its star Bette Midler.

She was the "Divine Miss M." When Midler last took home a special Tony here, more than 40 years ago, she was determined to make the most of her moment by getting bleeped and refusing to be played off the stage.

Midler wasn't the only household name to win; Kevin Kline, Cynthia Nixon and Laurie Metcalfe were recognized.

Also recognized was the late August Wilson, whose "Jitney" was called the Best Revival of a Play.

That provided one of the few examples of diversity in the winner's circle last night, all the more notable because it came just a year after "Hamilton" broke new ground at the Tony awards.

However, looking at the cast and creatives involved with the 40 eligible shows, it's clear a move towards greater diversity does continue on what used to be called "the great white way."

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entertainmenttony awardsbroadway
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