Lights Up On: The Tony Awards

Living miles away from New York as a Broadway fan can be fairly frustrating.  It’s great to see and read all the buzz surrounding new shows but actually enjoying the shows live, the way they are meant to be experienced, is not something I can afford to do very often.

That’s why I’ve always been captivated by the Tony Awards and their live musical performances. They give such a great insight into the vast array of shows that open on Broadway in a given year. They can also serve as a useful time capsule for shows that have long closed and allow you to get a glimpse into what seeing the show would have been like.

By strange coincidence, the Tony Awards fell on the day before I had an Economics exam at Uni for three consecutive years. Regardless, I would religiously stay up during the crazy hours of the night/early morning before the exam to watch it. However since Neil Patrick Harris has stopped hosting, my interest in watching the whole thing through has waned a little bit. I will definitely do a separate post on my favourite Neil Patrick Harris Tony Award moments as he definitely deserves one.

So a huge thank you to the Tony Awards for capturing the magic of Broadway! Below I’ve listed some of my favourite Tony Award moments:

1. Jack Feldman’s Tony Award Acceptance Speech

I’m not typically a fan of listening to award speeches; you can feel the pressure the winners are under not to forget thanking anyone. That being said this one by Jack Feldman is without a doubt one of my favourites.

I remember not following Newsies all that much when it first opened so was not so interested that it won best score. But here Jack Feldman gives such a concise speech (at 1:08) and my heart just melts listening to it, especially his adorable smile at the end. It never fails to make me smile and remind me everything happens in its own time.

2. Nikki M James’ Tony Award Acceptance Speech

I remember being so pleased that Nikki M James won this award. Not only because I was a big fan of Book of Mormon at the time, but I remember being in awe of her talent and graciousness in interviews.

When I first watched this speech, for whatever reason I was feeling so frustrated and uninspired. But I remember being floored by what she had to say and by the end was in a flood of tears. Since then, whenever I’m feeling a lack of motivation, I like to rewatch this video of Nikki M James – the Bumble Bee.

3. Mark Rylance’s Tony Award Acceptance Speech

Mark Rylance is probably the only man with the stage presence and poise to pull this bizarre speech about walking through walls off. So much better than wasting your time desperately spitting out all the people you want to thank.

4. Spring Awakening’s Tony Award Performance

I remember that this clip was one of the first ever Tony Award videos I discovered and came across it through my mild obsession with Jonathon Groff at the time. I was hooked and watched it repeatedly. I love the intense energy and angst of the performers, especially in Bitch of Living. I remember not really knowing the plot at all but still being swept up in the emotion of it and singing along.

5. Patti LuPone’s Tony Award Performance in Evita

I love the heightened drama in this scene and Patti LuPone’s performance is just stellar. My favourite moment is when she says “We’ll … You’ll be handed power on a plate”  and the audience erupts into applause.

6. Jennifer Holliday’s Tony Award Performance in Dream Girls

This has to be one of the best vocal performances ever given on the Tony awards. Jennifer Holliday’s captivating energy and passion just leaves me awestruck. I bow down to her formidable talent.

7. Catch Me If You Can’s Tony Award Performance

I loved the cast recording to Catch Me If You Can and this was my only glimpse into seeing what the show would have been like visually. Norbert Leo Butz steals the show with his performance and I’m not surprised that he won the Tony. The way he does the choreography around all these athletic dancers while staying in character is just marvellous to watch.

I’m sure there are others that I’ve missed out. If you have any favourites please let me know in the comments below!

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