In a social media post ahead of the awards show, she said the first time was in 1991 when she was won Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for "Miss Saigon".
As for the Audra connection, Mendez has tried to keep the six-time Tony victor out of mind while crafting her own take on the role. The musical also won Best Revival, Best Choreography, and Best Leading Actress in a Musical, among others. Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens who said 'yes, ' for this producer who 20 years ago got their house seats for them. The not-quite Jewish co-hosts, Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles, were delightful, if aggressively wholesome.
But the biggest victor of the night was a musical about an Egyptian band visiting an Israeli desert town - The Band's Visit picked up an impressive 10 prizes, including best musical, best actress (Katrina Lenk) and best actor (Tony Shalhoub). The presentation of awards was also well-choreographed, with just two awkward missteps: The first was when Harry Potter and the Cursed Child playwright Jack Thorne was cut off before his acceptance speech for Best Play, a moment that was compounded by the orchestra playing the whole team offstage to Carole King's "Natural Woman". "It is an honor to be chosen to open up to the whole world the celebration of Broadway's magic and talent at the Tony Awards, the industry's most important event". Its major award was Best Revival, meaning that Tony Kushner got to speak, both urging voters to heal our democracy, and wishing a happy birthday to Judy Garland.
Angels in America a sprawling two-part drama about the AIDS crisis, was named this year's Best Play Revival.
Best Actress In A Play Winner, Glenda Jackson recognised for her work in Three Tall Women, praised the multi-cultural nature of the theatre business. She later encouraged many of her pupils to lead the nationwide movement for gun reform.
Springsteen also received a special Tony, presented by Billy Joel, for his successful and critically acclaimed show, Springsteen on Broadway. That primetime ceremony of a year ago also had the distinction of facing the deciding game of 2017 Stanley Cup Finals with the wining Pittsburgh Penguins Nashville Predators.
For most of the previous awards season, shows like the Oscars and Golden Globes have acknowledged the issue of sexual misconduct and abuse of power.
The expletive, known as the F-bomb, was bleeped by the CBS network for millions of television watchers at home, a CBS spokeswoman said. Viewership spiked in 2016 due to "Hamilton, " only to drop sharply previous year.
The show will be a sort of victory lap for a Broadway season that saw grosses hit another record high by pulling in US$1.7 billion - up 17.1 per cent over last season's US$1.45 billion.