The 71-year-old won her first Tony for Best Actress in a Musical for Hello, Dolly! “I’m so, so privileged, so honored to receive this from you all tonight. I really am. I hope I don’t cry. I have so many people to thank. I would like to thank the American Theatre Wing to begin with, and all the Tony voters, many of whom I have actually dated,” she joked. “This has been one of the greatest professional experiences of my entire life. I am so grateful for the outpouring of love and affection that have greeted me and this production. It has been absolutely extraordinary.”
Midler went on to go through a long list of thank yous. The orchestra tried to play her off the stage after her allotted time was up, but the acting legend didn’t let that stop her. “Shut that crap off,” she quipped — and musicians listened!
Once the music stopped, the Beaches actress continued her four-minute speech. “I just want to say that revival is an interesting word. It means that something is near death, and it was brought back to life,” she said. “Hello, Dolly! never really went away — it has been here all along. … This thing has the ability to lift your spirit in these terrible, terrible times. Come and see it.”
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