Parkland shooting survivors get standing ovation at Tony Awards

NEW YORK, June 10 (Reuters) - Student survivors of a Florida school shooting in February gave an emotional performance at the annual Tony Awards on Sunday, bringing the audience of Broadway stars to their feet.

There was scarcely a dry eye in the house at Radio City Music Hall in New York as members of the drama department at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sang "Seasons of Love" from the popular musical "Rent" at the annual ceremony celebrating the best in Broadway theater.

Some 17 students and educators were shot dead when a former student opened fire on February 14 at the school in Parkland, Florida.

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Parkland shooting survivors deliver emotional performance at 2018 Tony Awards
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Parkland shooting survivors deliver emotional performance at 2018 Tony Awards
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama students perform onstage during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama students perform onstage during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama students perform onstage during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama students perform onstage during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama students perform onstage during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama students perform onstage during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama students perform onstage during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama students perform onstage during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama students perform onstage during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama students perform onstage during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama students perform onstage during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama students perform onstage during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
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"What a thrill to be in the same house as those amazing children. Weren't they marvelous?" said British actress Glenda Jackson, 82, accepting a best actress Tony award moments later.

Several of the surviving students, most of them from the school's drama department, later spearheaded a national movement to end gun violence, including a "March for our Lives" nationwide event in March that attracted tens of thousands of people.

Drama teacher Melody Herzfeld, who sheltered scores of students in the school's drama room for more than two hours during the February shooting, was also in the audience on Sunday to accept a special Tony award for educators.

"Theater is transformative — it has the power to celebrate the best of times, and it has the power to help heal us and comfort us in the worst of times," Broadway League president Charlotte St. Martin and American Theatre Wing president Heather Hitchens, who organize the Tony awards, said in a statement recognizing Herzfeld's efforts. (Reporting by Chris Michaud and Jill Serjeant)

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Parkland shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez
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Parkland shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez
Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, sits for a portrait after calling for more gun control at a rally three days after the shooting at her school, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 17, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez speaks at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on February 17, 2018. A former student, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire at the high school leaving 17 people dead and 15 injured on February 14. / AFP PHOTO / RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez wipes away tears during a CNN town hall meeting, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 17: Emma Gonzalez hugs her father Jose Gonzalez as they join other people after a school shooting that killed 17 to protest against guns on the steps of the Broward County Federal courthouse on February 17, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Earlier this week former student Nikolas Cruz opened fire with a AR-15 rifle at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killing 17 people. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, gathers with people at North Community Park in Parkland, Fla. for a protest on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. Gonzalez is one of many survivors of a mass shooting that took place at the school on Feb. 14, that left 17 people dead. (John McCall/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez reacts during her speech at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on February 17, 2018. A student survivor of the Parkland school shooting called out US President Donald Trump on Saturday over his ties to the powerful National Rifle Association, in a poignant address to an anti-gun rally in Florida. 'To every politician taking donations from the NRA, shame on you!' said Emma Gonzalez, assailing Trump over the multi-million-dollar support his campaign received from the gun lobby -- and prompting the crowd to chant in turn: 'Shame on you!' / AFP PHOTO / RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez is hugged by a friend following her speech at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on February 17, 2018. A former student, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire at the high school leaving 17 people dead and 15 injured on February 14. / AFP PHOTO / RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez comforts a classmate during a CNN town hall meeting, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, speaks to the media after calling for more gun control at a rally three days after the shooting at her school, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 17, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez speaks at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on February 17, 2018. Seventeen perished and more than a dozen were wounded in the hail of bullets at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland,Florida the latest mass shooting to devastate a small US community and renew calls for gun control. / AFP PHOTO / RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez is hugged by a friend following her speech at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on February 17, 2018. A former student, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire at the high school leaving 17 people dead and 15 injured on February 14. / AFP PHOTO / RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
PARKLAND, FL - FEBRUARY 25: Emma Gonzalez (L), a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and others walk to campus on February 25, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Today, students and parents were allowed on campus for the first time since the shooting that killed 17 people on February 14. Police arrested 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz for the 17 murders. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez speaks at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on February 17, 2018. A former student, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire at the high school leaving 17 people dead and 15 injured on February 14. / AFP PHOTO / RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, gathers with people at North Community Park in Parkland, Fla. for a protest on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. Gonzalez is one of many survivors of a mass shooting that took place at the school on Feb. 14, that left 17 people dead. (John McCall/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
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