And Robert De Niro, while introducing living legend Bruce Springsteen, was bleeped on the TV broadcast - but also nabbed a standing ovation - when he, according to reports from the room, said, "I just want to say one thing: fuck Trump".
"I avoided so many events with them (his parents) in the past because I pretended that I was not Middle Eastern", said Stachel, whose father is of Yemeni and Israeli heritage.
Kushner told viewers they have "21 weeks to save our democracy and heal our planet".
Shalhoub, who won for his portrayal of Tewfiq, the leader of an Egyptian band, used his minute in the spotlight to speak about his father's arrival at Ellis Island from Lebanon almost a century ago. "It is a spirit that says we are all made perfectly". The night's first big victor, Andrew Garfield, best actor in a play for "Angels in America", earned hearty cheers when he declared, "Let's just bake a cake for everyone who wants a cake to be baked".
Garfield won best actor in a play for his acclaimed performance in the Angels In America revival, a monumental two-part drama about AIDS during the Reagan years. But there were still plenty of musicals represented on-stage, and thanks to the musical talents of co-hosts Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles, there was still plenty of singing on stage Sunday night.
Another work by a major American playwright - Edward Albee's "Three Tall Women" - also held a share of the spotlight as two of its three stars, Glenda Jackson and Laurie Metcalf, were honored as best lead actress and best featured actress in a play.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: Nathan Lane, "Angels in America".
Andrew Lloyd Webber was honoured with a lifetime achievement award. "And for those of us who are fortunate enough not to be suffering so deeply, let's make sure we answer them". Yet another former Yale student working on "The Band's Visit" - Kai Harada - took home the award for Best Sound Design of a Musical.
Sunday night's ceremony was a refreshing antidote to eyerolls that may have greeted the nominations, led by splashy commercial titles like Mean Girls and SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical. He's a graduate of New York University's Tish drama department. To all artists out there, she said: "Just be your true self and the world will take note". Onstage guests were volunteers and staffers from three organizations that bring relief to areas impacted by natural disasters. The stage adaptations of the Lindsay Lohan film and the Nickelodeon cartoon are both up for 12 prizes, including the coveted Best Musical.