An ebullient Sergio Trujillo received the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography in a Musical, for the show "Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations."
"I'm so lucky, so much love in my life, so many people out here who I love and adore and have supported me throughout my career," he said Sunday night from the stage at Radio City Music Hall. He thanked the "Ain't Too Proud" cast, his colleagues, his husband Jack Noseworthy, and his Colombian family, "who taught me to love music and dance since I was a little boy."
The audience gave him a standing ovation as he continued: "I arrived in New York City over thirty years ago as an illegal immigrant. And I stand here as proof for all those Dreamers... as proof that that the American dream is still alive, you just have to keep on fighting, because change will come!"
In Spanish, he told young people watching that if he (Trujillo) could have such a moment, then they could, too.
This was Trujillo's second Tony nomination. The award was presented during the Creative Arts portion of the 73rd annual Tony Awards ceremony. He was previously nominated for his choreography of "On Your Feet!", based on the music and lives of Emilio and Gloria Estefan.
Born in Cali, Colombia and raised in Canada, Trujillo is an internationally-renowned choreographer. In 2012, he was represented by four shows running simultaneously on Broadway. He began his career as a dancer at age 19, before transitioning to choreographing shows like "Jersey Boys" and "Summer: The Donna Summer Musical."
Trujillo told NBC Latino tha he had never felt limited, professionally, by his heritage. "I've thought of myself equally to everyone. I've never used my ethnicity as a handicap. If I didn't get something, I told myself that I just needed to work harder." In his career, he noted, he has only done one Latino-specific show ("On Your Feet!").
"I've had great, great incredible people in my life," Trujillo told NBC in an interview ahead of the awards, "who have blessed me with their love and support."
Robin De Jesús, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, was nominated for "The Boys in the Band," as Best Featured Actor in a Play. Bertie Carvel won in that category, for the play "Ink."