Responding to what is being called the worst mass slaughter in U.S. history, the shooting deaths last night of 50 patrons at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida frequented by members of the LGBTQ community, the producers of tonight’s Tony Awards telecast have issued the following statement:
“Our hearts are heavy for the unimaginable tragedy that happened last night in Orlando. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected. The Tony Awards dedicate tonight’s ceremony to them. “
A gunman identified by police as Omar Mateen, an American citizen living in Port St. Lucie, Florida, entered the Pulse nightclub armed with an assault rifle and a handgun, where he killed 50 patrons of the club and wounded 53 more, according to reports, and was also found dead at the scene. Police have classified the attack as a “terror incident” but have not released any more details as the investigation is underway. The shooting occurred at around 2 AM Eastern time.
CBS will broadcast tonight’s Tony Awards live from the Beacon Theatre beginning at 8 PM New York time. Deadline will have live coverage.
Laura Benanti, nominated for the Best Leading Actress in a Musical Tony for her role in She Loves Me, tweeted: