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Award Show Performance

7 Most Memorable Tony Awards Moments

Jazmine Harper-Davis

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Since its inception in 1947, the Tony Awards has been full of performances and appearances by some of Broadway’s biggest and brightest. Surely on a night that brings together the best of Broadways writers, directors, actors and designers there are bound to be plenty of O-M-G, tear-jerking moments. Well, in honor of the 69th Tony Award Ceremony, it’s only right that here, at Broadway Black, I give you my seven most memorable Tony moments from previous years.

7. Rap It Up (2013)

They’d done it before in 2011, but there was one thing missing–Audra McDonald. When host Neil Patrick Harris started to say there wouldn’t be enough time for a closing song, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Thomas Kail came to the rescue. Like in 2011, the two wrote the rap during the telecast to the beat of “Empire State Of Mind.” It was glorious and perfect all in one. Also, who could forget Audra’s epic mic drop at the end?

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6. Oh, Patti! (2008)

Remember that YouTube video that went around of Patti LuPone stopping in the middle of a performance of Gypsy to scold an audience member for recording? Didn’t think she could top that? Well she did at the 2008 Tony Awards when she won Best Actress in a Musical for Gypsy. Her first in 29 years, and she let us know that. Pulling out a two-page letter, Patti began to go through and thank every single person she could think of. Do you think the cue music slowed her down? Absolutely not, when the wrap-up music did play, LuPone yelled over the music “Shut up, it’s been 29 years!” Oh, Patti.

2008 Tony Awards Patti LuPone Acceptance Speech

David Hyde Pierce presents the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical to Patti LuPone for her role as Rose in “Gypsy.” This was her second Tony, her first since she won in 1980 for “Evita.” I own nothing, no copyright infringement intended.

5. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s improvised rap acceptance speech (2008)

I can’t help it when the rap world and Broadway world collide. I can’t help but to be excited. Lin-Manuel Miranda gets it right every time. So when In The Heights won for Best Original Score–Miranda’s first Tony Award–of course he raps his acceptance speech. Not only does it rap it, it’s completely from the top of his head. That is some serious skill!

Lin-Manuel Miranda Tony Acceptance Speech – In The Heights

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony acceptance speech – Sunday, June 15th, 2008. “In The Heights” winning Best Original Score. No pare, sigue sigue!

4. Pippin’s “Magic To Do” (1973)

Two words. Ben Vereen. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to go back in time to see the original production of Pippin. Don’t get me wrong, I saw the revival with Patina Miller three times because I thought it was so good. However, after seeing this chilling performance of “Magic To Do”, I’ve never wanted to see Mr. Vereen’s Leading Player more.

PIPPIN 1973 Tony Awards

Ben Vareen and Company perform “Magic to do” on the 1973 Tony Awards.

3. Billy Elliot Boys (2009)

The lead actors made us “aww” when the three boys made Tony history and gave the cutest speech ever. For the first time, David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish all were awarded Best Actor in A Musical. What makes it even sweeter? It was their Broadway debut. What a way to make an entrance, huh?

David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish win 2009 Tony Award

David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish win 2009 Tony Award for Best Lead Actor in a Musical for Billy Elliot the Musical They gave the cutest speech ever. This is the first time three actors shared the award at the Tony Awards. Congratulations!

2. Audra Made History (2014)

That time Audra McDonald made history and became the first person in Tony history to win a Tony Award in all four acting categories? Also when she became the first to win six Tony Awards for acting categories alone? Yes, you heard that right. The first. Not the first woman of color or the first black woman, the first person ever– period. I remember watching the Tony’s that year, bursting into tears while she gave her acceptance speech. She made history and I got to witness it.

2014 Tony Awards – Audra McDonald – Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Audra McDonald received a 2014 Tony Award for her performance in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” – Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play The 68th Annual Tony Awards, Sunday June 8th 8/7c on CBS. Broadway: Where Stars Align http://tonyawards.com/

1. Jennifer Holiday Told Us (1982)

I’d be foolish if I didn’t mention this tear-jerking, heartfelt performance by powerhouse Jennifer Holiday. At the time she was just 21 years old with a voice wise beyond her years. The song “And I’m Telling You, I’m Not Going” comes at the end of the first act of Dreamgirls, the character Effie singing it after getting kicked out of the group and being dumped by her producer boyfriend. While the song is meant for him, Holiday sings into the audience in a way that makes you feel every note and lyric. I dare you not to get chills.

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Sound off below with some of your own! What moments did you find most memorable?

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Award Show Performance

Hamilton, The Color Purple & More Light Up the 2016 Tony Awards

Broadway Black

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On Broadway’s biggest, and now most historic night, ten of the 14 Tony-nominated musicals of the 2015-2016 season brought light and life to the CBS telecast held at the Beacon Theatre.

Watch the triumphant performances below:

Opening

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This year’s Tony-winning host James Corden opened the show with help from Tony-winner Leslie Odom, Jr., and the cast of Hamilton, proving he’s a chameleon when it comes to iconic roles such as Grizabella, The Phantom of the Opera, Mama Rose, and Effie White.

School of Rock

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This summer, school is back in session as nominee Alex Brightman led the kids of School of Rock, based on the film, in their performance of “You’re in the Band,” a number written for the show by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Hamilton

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The biggest Hamilton fans in the country, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, prefaced the performance with a video message. In light of the tragedy that occurred in Orlando, FL, Tony-winners Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daveed Diggs, and Tony-nominee Christopher Jackson (who sang “History Has Its Eyes On You”), and cast decided to forgo their musket props during their performance of “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down).” Turns out the award-winning choreography is just fine without them.

Waitress

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Sweet as pie! The cast of Waitress began their act with the opening number, “Opening Up,” followed by recording artist Sara Bareilles, who wrote the score, performing a gorgeous rendition of “She Used to Be Mine” on the piano. Jessie Mueller returned to the stage and left us edge-less.

Spring Awakening

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Despite the Kickstarter controversy surrounding Ken Davenport’s Broadway revival of Deaf West’s Spring Awakening, the cast returned to remind us what was so special about this electrifying production, as both hearing and deaf actors performed “Mama Who Bore Me” and “The Bitch of Living.”

On Your Feet!

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Grammy-winner Gloria Estefan performed a medley of her hits alongside Ana Villafane, Josh Segarra, and the cast of On Your Feet!, the musical based on the lives of her and her husband, Emilio.

The Color Purple

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We don’t have any words for this either. But Danielle Brooks, Heather Headley, and the cast of The Color Purple revival snatchT us bald with “Mysterious Ways” — merely moments before the woman of the hour, TONY-WINNER MOTHER F***ING CYNTHIA ERIVO, bodied us all with her show-stopping solo “I’m Here.” Naturally, everyone gave her a standing ovation, which is required any time this goddess opens her mouth.

Bright Star

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The charming new musical Bright Star opened their performance with an appearance by composer Steve Martin on the banjo. With a first appearance on the Tonys, Carmen Cusack pretty much sang us her life story, performing “If You Knew My Story.”

Shuffle Along

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Led by Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, and Audra McDonald, the cast of Shuffle Along performed their opening number, “Broadway Blues,” featuring an expecting McDonald dancing her ass off. The woman can do no wrong.

Chicago, 20th Anniversary

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To help celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Chicago, now the longest-running American musical on Broadway, Bebe Neuwirth, Velma Kelly in the original revival cast, took the stage to perform the hit opening number, “All That Jazz,” which helped score her a Tony for the role. To date, Neuwirth is the only actress to perform as every female principle in the show.

In Memoriam

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Broadway legend Chita Rivera helped pay tribute to her friend and colleague, the late Roger Rees, and others we’ve lost in the past year, including Broadway’s first Black and youngest Jean Valjean, Kyle Jean-Baptiste.

She Loves Me

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This eye-popping revival of She Loves Me performed a medley of songs with Gavin Creel and Jane Krakowski recreating that iconic split/drag-across-the-stage piece of choreography, followed by Zachary Levi singing the title song, and ending with Laura Benanti’s power vocals in “Ice Cream.”

Fiddler On the Roof

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Bartlett Sher’s streak of lush revivals continues as the cast of his latest work, the Fiddler on the Roof performed “Sunrise, Sunset,” led by six-time Tony nominee Danny Burstein, followed by the “Bottle Dance.”

Closing — What Else? Hamilton

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Because they weren’t going anywhere, fresh after winning their 11th Tony for Best Musical, without doing an encore, the lovely ladies of Hamilton — Renée Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, and Jasmine Cephas Jones — put their glorious harmonies to “work, work” with their number “The Schuyler Sisters.”

What a night. What a year.

Videos courtesy of CBS.

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2013 Tonys

Hamilton Cast Performs Opening Number At Grammys

Broadway Black

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If you were ever in doubt as to whether Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton has taken over the pop culture consciousness, tune into the Grammys this Sunday. The smash Broadway musical will be featured during the show.

The cast is set to perform their opening number aptly titled “Alexander Hamilton.” It’s the rolling, riveting number that gives the premise of the show complete with harmonies, hip-hop crecendos and a decent bit of dancing.

If you did not know. Hamilton is a steamroller of a show outpacing many other musicals and starring a predomininatly Brown and Black cast. Deadline reported late last year that the show was ahead of the game in recouping their investment costs.

Oh did we also mention the Hamilton cast album broke on the Billboard Rap charts landing on Number 12.

The performance is expected to be shown live from the Richard Rodgers Theater in New York. Of course, love and admiration for this show is almost unparalleled. It is particularly a proud moment for people of color who are seeing Miranda continue to create moving musicals with minority cast and crew. We hope and pray he keeps blessing us with more gems, but until then watch the Grammys this Sunday and support.

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