Cyndi Lauper, Cicely Tyson, and more dish backstage about historic Tony Awards

Basking in the glow of their victories, this year’s freshly-minted Tony Award winners dished with the press about their honored work on Sunday night.

What the best part about starring in “The Trip to Bountiful“? “Working,” answered Cicely Tyson, who won Best Actress in a Play. “That for me is the joy of this whole business: the work, itself.”

She also addressed an especially strong year for black actors; eight were nominated and four won, of which she said, “Well, that means there’s hope for us still.” Tyson is only the third black woman to win Best Actress in a Play, following Phylicia Rashad (“A Raisin in the Sun,” 2004) and Viola Davis (“Fences,” 2010).

It was also a historic year for women: for only the second time in Tony history, two women won awards for directing: Pam MacKinnon for the play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and Diane Paulus for the musical “Pippin.” Paulus was especially excited and encouraged about the milestone: “I remember watching at home the year Julie Taymor and Garry [Hines] won,” she explained, “and I remember thinking, ‘That’s incredible!’ … I’m hoping that after tonight, we’ll stop counting, and women will be given the opportunity to be leaders.”

Cyndi Lauper also made history. She was the first solo female composer to win Best Original Score, and she discussed the special significance of writing the music for “Kinky Boots“: “I thought that this story was really bigger than me. You want to be involved in something that’s bigger. Maybe it’s like Dorothy: I click my ruby boots three times and say … ‘There’s no place like home,’ Broadway, New York City, where diversity and acceptance have always made this city thrive, and that’s what makes ‘Kinky Boots’ thrive.”

Watch those and other Tony champs discuss their victories below:

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