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10 Most Memorable Moments of the 2018 Tony Awards

Category Broadway

|by Amy Sapp |

‘The Bands Visit’ and ‘Angels in America’ swept Broadway’s biggest night

The 72nd Annual Tony Awards crescendoed this year from a somber beginning to a riotous affair. From the start, the acceptance speeches were peppered with themes of acceptance, inclusion and love.

The expected leading horses – think: Angels in America and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – took home the beginning awards for plays, but the tide began to shift as original musical, The Band’s Visit, crept in, sweeping each musical category, nabbing 10 total awards.

Read on as we celebrate ten of the most memorable moments from the 2018 Tony Awards.

Co-hosts Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban perform together during the 2018 Tony Awards (Photo: Getty/Theo Wargo)

Co-hosts Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban perform together during the 2018 Tony Awards (Photo: Getty/Theo Wargo)

Witty numbers for theater lovers
For those theater fans and professionals in the audience, the opening number sung by hosts Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban held a plethora of theater references. The pair hilariously joked that “About 90% of us leave empty-handed tonight... so, this is for the people who lose, because both of us have been in your shoes!” (Both Groban and Bareilles have been nominated for Tony Awards, but neither have taken home a trophy quite yet.) In addition to the opening number, Bareilles and Groban sang a song to the tune of Sia’s “Chandelier,” articulating just how difficult it is to perform a show on Broadway: “I've got to sing this thing eight times a week?!"

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Drama Club sings Rent
The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took to the stage of Radio City and sang the moving ballad from Rent, “Seasons of Love.” As the camera panned to various members of the audience, their reactions were visceral. These performers reminded the audience to measure their lives in love in front of Broadway’s biggest names. Stoneman Douglas High’s drama teacher, Melody Herzfeld, was also honored with the Special Tony Award that is given each year to an educator in the arts.

Caissie Levy’s riffs in the live performance of Frozen’s “Let It Go”
Performing with Patti Murin, Jelani Alladin and the entire cast of Frozen, Caissie Levy took the iconic song, “Let It Go” to new heights. On the lines, “that perfect girl is gone” and “the cold never bothered me anyway,” Levy treated the Tony Awards audience to unbelievable vocal riffs that had them cheering for this Broadway leading lady.

Stage legend Glenda Jackson accepts Best Actress in a Play 
At 82 years of age, Glenda Jackson took home the title of Best Actress in a Play for Three Tall Women. After joking that she may be the oldest person on the Tony Awards stage, Jackson smiled mischievously during her speech, “I think our director, Joe Mantello, found me a worthy opponent.”

Harry Potter magic with Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban
During one moment of bantering between Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban, Bareilles performed one of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s mind-bending spells, “Incendio.” The trick, however, found a slight delay as the fire took a brief moment to appear at the top of the stage. Giggling, Groban improvised, “Not bad, not bad! It has to travel through time and space to get there.” The trick ended with Groban disappearing amid a crowd of the show’s ensemble members to “transfigure” into Tony nominee — and resident Harry Potter — Jamie Parker.

Ari'el Stachel’s honors his heritage in his acceptance speech
For his role in The Band’s Visit, Ari'el Stachel took home last night’s Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. In his teary and inspirational acceptance speech, Stachel thanked the show’s creative team “for telling the small story about Arabs and Israelis getting along in a time when we need that more than ever.” After revealing how his once hidden Middle Eastern heritage has turned into his greatest strength, he said, “I want any kid who is watching to know that your biggest obstacle may turn into your purpose.”

The Angel from Angels in America swoops to the stage
The evening’s winner for Best Revival of a Play had a standout moment early on in the ceremony as the remarkably designed angel from Angels in America swooped down from the wings and onto the Tony stage at Radio City Music Hall to greet hosts Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban. The visual moment cemented one of the many reasons why this particular production took home Best Revival of a Play.

Lindsay Mendez gives wise advice
One of the night’s most inspirational quotes arose during Broadway veteran Lindsay Mendez’s acceptance speech for her Best Featured Actress in a Musical win for Carousel. At the end of her moving acceptance, Mendez proudly proclaimed to those watching from around the world, “Be true to yourself and the world will take note.”

Tony Winner Katrina Lenk’s performance of “Omar Sharif”
Katrina Lenk showed why she was named Best Actress in a Musical last night with her performance of “Omar Sharif” from The Band’s Visit alongside Best Actor in a Musical winner, Tony Shalhoub. The delicacy and precision of Lenk’s gesticulation, paired with her flowing, ethereal vocals truly took the audience on a journey along a Jasmine wind.

Once on This Island wins Best Revival of a Musical
The underdog in many respects, Once On This Island took home the title of Best Revival of a Musical. (In a season of commercially revered revivals, like Carousel and My Fair Lady, this scrappy musical takes place at one of Broadway’s smaller houses, Circle in the Square Theatre.) When the show was announced as the winner, the crowd erupted in gasps and cheers as the large group of producers took to the stage to accept their award. Choking back tears, the show’s leading producer, Ken Davenport, confessed, “This is not how I expected this night to go at the beginning of this evening.”

For the full list of 2018 Tony Awards winners, read on.

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