The 71st Annual Tony Awards took place on Sunday and gave theater fans a night of unbridled joy, great music, and a few unforgettable moments! From the touching speeches to the perfectly choreographed dance numbers, this batch of nominees and presenters gave the audience quite a show. Toss in some hilarious costume changes and caricatures from host Kevin Spacey, and the night was one to remember! Though an immensely difficult task, we’ve narrowed down the list to bring you the top 5 best moments from the 2017 Tony Awards.
1. Ben Platt’s Acceptance Speech
Since its inception, the Tony Awards have been known for the amazing performances and heartfelt speeches from winners, each a message bringing messages of hope, laughter, and inspiration for aspiring performers and fans alike. This year, one of the most powerful messages came from one of the show’s youngest winners. After a powerful performance with his fellow cast members, Dear Evan Hansen’s Ben Platt took to the stage to accept the Tony for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical. Emotions were high as he began by recounting his journey to Broadway, thanking his family — both onstage and off. Although his hilarious threat to “fight” anyone who claimed their parents were better than his made for memorable fodder, the strength of Platt’s speech came with his powerful last words:
“Don’t waste any time trying to be like anybody but yourself because the things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful.”
2. Bette Midler Vs. The Orchestra
On the other end of the acceptance speech spectrum was the indelible Bette Midler. As most people well know, one of the best parts of award shows is watching actors and actress race against the clock to thank everyone before that dreaded baton signals the end of their time. However, when legendary actress Bette Midler took the stage to claim her Tony Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, she established a rule that is sure to live on infamy: You do not playoff Bette Midler! As the actress gave thanks to her metaphorical supporting cast, the conductor gave the signal and the orchestra began to play. But nevertheless, she persisted. Rather than hurry to finish her speech, Midler ordered the orchestra to “Shut that crap off,” before finishing her speech on her own time. Bravo, Bette Midler! Bravo!
3. The Performances
Of course, we can’t have a “Best of” list without mentioning the sensation performances from the nominees for Best Musical and Best Revival of a Musical. From an emotional number by Ben Platt and the cast of Dear Evan Hansen to a high-energy song-and-dance with Josh Groban and his Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 compadres, this year’s performances are sure to go down as some of the best in Tony Award history! Although there were too many to list them all, watch the cast of Dear Evan Hansen below as they give a powerful rendition of “Waving Through A Window”.
4. Frank Underwood’s Tony Cameo
Through his stint as host, Kevin Spacey took on a number of different characters, some landing better than others. One of the best and most memorable was his brief cameo as Frank Underwood from his Netflix Original Series House of Cards. As Hamilton creator and winner of the 2016 Tony Award for Best Musical, Lin-Manuel Miranda, prepared to present the Tony Award for the same category, President Frank Underwood stopped by to deliver the envelope, taking a moment to poke fun at Bette Midler. The whole exchange was hilarious!
5. Bill Clinton's Burn
Although technically this could fit under the umbrella of Kevin Spacey caricatures, we couldn’t end this list without highlight another winning moment: Spacey’s portrayal of Hillary Clinton. During this brief intermission, “President Clinton” took the time to congratulate the performers, poking fun at “his wife” Hillary Clinton in the process. After highlighting Ben Platt’s stellar performance in Dear Evan Hansen, which earned him a spot on Time Magazine’s “Most Influential People” list, Spacey noted that Platt bumped Clinton from the list and commented that, while Platt might be better at singing, Clinton is much better at creating fake emails. Ouch! At least the world got an awesome new gif out of it!
What was your favorite moment from this year’s Tony Awards?