The Tony Awards is the show about the shows, and every year the pressure is on to deliver an entertaining three-hour-long broadcast on national TV… while keeping in mind that many of the people watching at home have seen exactly zero of the nominated shows. This year, James Corden did a pretty flawless job (IMHO) keeping things humming along, though there were plenty of standout moments that didn’t include the host — though some of them did. Broadway Spin rounded up six of our favorite highlights from the 73rd annual Tony Awards.
1. Rachel Chavkin’s Acceptance Speech
Hadestown director Rachel Chavkin gave a powerful speech while accepting the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical. “My folks raised me with the understanding that life is a team sport, and so is walking out of hell. That’s what is at the heart of this show. It’s about whether you can keep faith when you are made to feel alone.” Chavkin continued, “It reminds us that that’s how power structures try to maintain power, by making you feel like you’re walking alone in the darkness, even when your partner is right at your back. And this is why I wish I wasn’t the only woman directing a woman on Broadway this season. There are so many women who are ready to go. There are so many artists of color who are ready to go and we need to see that racial diversity and gender diversity reflected in our critical establishment too. This is not a pipeline issue. It is a failure of imagination by a field whose job is to imagine how the world could be.”
2. Seeing Jeremy Pope Perform. Twice.
The insanely talented Jeremy Pope hit the Radio City Music Hall stage not once, but twice on Sunday night. First, he belted out some of the greatest hits of The Temptations in the Ain’t Too Proud mashup. Later, he returned for a stunning a cappella performance from Choir Boy (which, as a reminder, is a play with music; not a musical). The 26-year-old star took Broadway by storm this season, earning nominations for both shows, making him only the sixth Broadway performers to nab two noms for two different productions during a single season ever.
3. James Corden’s Tribute to Be More Chill
James Corden gave an on-point rendition of “Michael James in the Bathroom” (from the teen-driven musical Be More Chill) with accompaniment by former hosts Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban. Oh, and Neil Patrick Harris, who apparently has grown a mustache.
4. The Cher Show’s Dance Number
Love it or hate it, there was a whole lot of Cher up there during The Cher Show‘s performance, led by Stephanie J. Block. There was also a bevy of open-shirted dancing men. Let’s be honest, there is no hating this.
5. Bryan Cranston’s Message to the Media
Bryan Cranston picked up his second Tony award on Sunday night, this time for his role in Network. The actor dedicated his award “to all of the real journalists around the world in both print media and broadcast media who actually are in the line of fire in pursuit of truth.” Cranston continued, “The media is not the enemy of the people. Demagoguery is the enemy of the people.” Whether you agree or disagree, it was clear that Cranston spoke from his heart and it’s hard not to appreciate that.
6. Stephanie J. Block Thanks God for Cher
During her acceptance speech for best leading actress in a musical for her portrayal of Cher. She said other stuff too… but mostly we will remember that God gave us Cher.
What were your favorite moments?
PS: Tickets to every Tony-winning show are in play at Broadway Roulette!