The 72nd Tony Awards are honoring the survivors of the tragic school shooting that took place in Florida last February.
On Sunday, June 10, students of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took the stage to perform "Seasons of Love," from the popular musical Rent.
In Honor Of The Victims
The survivors of one of the deadliest school shootings in the history of the United States received a standing ovation for their performance and left the audience in tears. Their teacher, Melody Herzfeld, was handed with the award for excellence in theater education during the ceremony.
Herzfeld, a drama teacher at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was honored for encouraging students to use theater and music to express how the traumatic school shooting has affected their lives.
He recounted that one of the students, Tanzil Phillip, asked him personally to attend the awards ceremony and thank the community for the continuous support.
"Rather than inviting you onto this stage to say thanks to us, our Broadway family wants to give and say thanks to you by sharing the stage with you and your classmates," he stated, addressing the students.
Herzfeld has been responsible for over 50 productions at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School since she headed the theater program in 2003. She will receive a $10,000 cash prize for the school's theater program from theater industry leaders.
The entire event was in a somber mood to commemorate one of the deadliest school shootings in the history of the United States. Broadway stars who attended the event wore silver ribbons to remember victims of mass shootings.
Acceptance speeches also honored victims and survivors.
Here's some video: https://t.co/2wH5H8fEBv pic.twitter.com/EBZ6JqJCqW h/t @donnabrazile #Parkland #TonyAwards — David Beard (@dabeard) June 11, 2018
Congratulations to Melody Herzfeld, the recipient of the 2018 Excellence in Theatre Education Award, presented by @CarnegieMellon. #ApplaudMyTeacher #TonyAwards #ThisIsBroadway Photo: Ian Witlen @theCameraClicks pic.twitter.com/yTDMHzXFE0— The Tony Awards (@TheTonyAwards) June 11, 2018
The Feb. 14 Parkland School Shooting
On Feb. 14, a 19-year-old walked into a building in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida and opened fired using a semi-automatic rifle. He killed 17 people including students and teachers and injured more than a dozen more.
That day, Herzfeld hid about 60 students inside the school's drama room for over two hours.
The tragic event led survivors and their supporters to rally in support of gun control in the United States. In March, they held a nationwide rally called "March For Our Lives," which was attended by several celebrities including Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato.
In support of the rally, theater stars Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt released "Found/Tonight," a mash-up of songs from Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen.