Bette Midler, a sentimental favorite, won the Tony Award for lead actress in a musical for her role in a revival of ‘Hello Dolly.’ (Photo: Bette Midler/Instagram)

Bette Midler scored a surprise Tony as Leading Actress in a Musical for her role as Dolly Gallagher in the hit Broadway staple Hello Dolly at the 71st Tony Awards. She called the award “cherry on the cake.”

The role marked Midler’s first Broadway role since her 2013 turn in I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers and her breakout role in the 1967 production of Fiddler on the Roof.

Hello Dolly won Tonys for best Musical Revival and the Best Costume Design in a Musical.

Gavin Creel won the Best Featured Actor in a Musical award for his role as Cornelius Hackl in Hello Dolly.

Dear Evan Hansen, a musical by Steven Levenson won six awards, including Best Musical, Original Score and Orchestration.

Oslo, a play about the 1990s Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, won for Best Play.

Among other notable winners, Hollywood actor Kevin Kline won best Leading actor, play for his role in Present Laughter.

Laurie Metcalf won leading Actress, Play for her role in A Doll’s House, Part 2, which has won critical raves.


Former “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon won the Featured Actress, Play award for her role in The Little Foxes.

But all eyes were on Midler.

The 71-year-old actress called the role “one of the greatest professional experiences” of her “entire life”.

“I hope I don’t cry,” she said during her acceptance speech.

“I’m so grateful for the outpouring of love, it has been absolutely extraordinary. That said, I can’t remember the last time I had more smoke blown up my ass, but there’s no more room,” she said, flashing her acerbic wit.

“This is the cherry on the cake … This has given me the ride of my life,” she added.

Midler won a special Tony Award in 1974 for her musical production Clams on the Half Shell Revue.

This year, James earl Jones picked up the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theatre during last night’s bash.

Check out full list of winners from this year’s Tony Awards below. Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest theater news.

Full List of 2017 Tony Award Winners
Musical: ‘Dear Evan Hansen’

Play: ‘Oslo’

Musical revival: ‘Hello, Dolly!’

Play revival: ‘Jitney’

Leading actor, play: Kevin Kline, ‘Present Laughter”‘

Leading actress, play: Laurie Metcalf, ‘A Doll’s House, Part 2’

Leading actor, musical: Ben Platt, ‘Dear Evan Hansen’

Leading actress, musical: Bette Midler, ‘Hello, Dolly!’

Featured actor, play: Michael Aronov, ‘Oslo’

Featured actress, play: Cynthia Nixon, ‘The Little Foxes’

Featured actor, musical: Gavin Creel, ‘Hello, Dolly!’

Featured actress, musical: Rachel Bay Jones, ‘Dear Evan Hansen’

Book, musical: ‘Dear Evan Hansen,’ Steven Levenson

Original score: ‘Dear Evan Hansen,’ music and lyrics, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Scenic design, play: Nigel Hook, ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’

Scenic design, musical: Mimi Lien, ‘Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812’

Costume design, play: Jane Greenwood, ‘The Little Foxes’

Costume design, musical: Santo Loquasto, ‘Hello, Dolly!’

Lighting design, play: Christopher Akerlind, ‘Indecent’

Lighting design, musical: Bradley King, ‘Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812’

Direction, play: Rebecca Taichman, ‘Indecent’

Direction, musical: Christopher Ashley, ‘Come From Away’

Choreography: Andy Blankenbuehler, ‘Bandstand’

Orchestrations: Alex Lacamoire, ‘Dear Evan Hansen’

Special Tony Award (lifetime achievement): James Earl Jones

Special Tony Award: Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin, sound designers for ‘The Encounter’

Regional Theater Tony Award: Dallas Theater Center, Dallas

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award: Baayork Lee

Excellence in theater: Nina Lannan, Alan Wasser