Broadway’s best was celebrated Sunday night at the 72nd annual Tony Awards, in a ceremony that kicked off with a Josh Groban-Sara Bareilles duet and ended with big wins for The Band’s Visit and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
But while the telecast was filled with rousing performances, powerful speeches, and a bleeped expletive, there were a number of memorable moments that didn’t make it onto the CBS broadcast.
EW and PEOPLE were at the Tonys, seated in the Radio City Music Hall audience and backstage in the press room as the show went on. Here’s some of what you didn’t get to see if you tuned in at home.
-The Parkland students’ performance of “Seasons of Love” from Rent was one of the most emotional of the evening. But those in the rehearsal ahead of Sunday’s telecast never got the chance to see it. Instead, Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles performed a duet of “You Matter to Me” — one of the songs Bareilles composed for the acclaimed musical Waitress. And while the students’ performance was a highlight of the telecast, the pre-show featured another powerful moment when Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s drama teacher, Melody Herzfeld, accepted her a special Tony Award for education in the theatre. “We all want the same thing. To be heard. To tell our truth. To make a difference. And to be respected. We teach this every day in every arts class,” she said, ending her speech with “MSD Strong.” (Her full speech was later released online, and you can watch it here.)
-Another powerful speech that came during the pre-show was John Leguizamo’s, as he accepted his Special Tony Award. While he joked about receiving the same honor as Bruce Springsteen (“He was born to run. I was born in Queens so I had to run — and I ran all the way to Broadway”), the Latin History for Morons maestro also got visibly emotional as he brought up detained immigrant children and those who died in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. “Let us never forget them,” he said.
-The Band’s Visit composer David Yazbek was supposed to be speaking to reporters in the press room about his Best Original Score win. Instead, the room immediately went quiet as he took the stage and began to watch the cast of The Band’s Visit perform on the show. “I fall in love with her every time,” he said of future Leading Actress winner Katrina Lenk. And after the scene finished, Yazbek appeared happy with how his cast performed. “Wow, we just sold thousands of tickets.”
-The audience inside Radio City Music Hall were entertained during some of the commercial breaks with a few guessing games — one segment had Tonys trivia questions (the longest-running Broadway show as of Sunday night? Phantom of the Opera, as if we wouldn’t know), and another let attendees guess the Broadway star based on their vintage photos. Another mid-show treat? The opposite of Mean Tweets — in a video segment, some of the nominees (including Gavin Lee, Grey Henson, and Ariana DeBose) read out tweets from their fans. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child star Anthony Boyle, per the one he read, is a “perfect precious cinnamon roll.”
-Tony Kushner and the creative team behind the Tony-winning Angels in America revival learned about Robert De Niro’s “F— Trump” moment in the press room — and were just as shocked as the home audience was. But that doesn’t mean Kushner had a different opinion. “I agree,” the Pulitzer Prize winner said. “F— Trump!”
-Tony Shalhoub wasn’t quite sure why he won the Best Actor in a Musical Tony for a musical where he doesn’t really sing. “If you’re anything like me, I imagine you have a lot of questions — like, ‘What happened? How did this happen, and why have I not done a musical before?’ It’s hard for me to believe those other guys weren’t chosen. I saw My Fair Lady and Carousel and I was blown away by their performances. I will never understand it.” Shalhoub also explained to the press that he had to be talked into doing the show — twice — by his wife. “She gets all the credit,” he said.
-The party didn’t end when the telecast wrapped — celebrations continued late into the night at various after-parties. At The Band Visit’s post-show celebration, the crowd gathered on the Bryant Park Grill’s patio erupted into applause when newly-minted winner Shalhoub walked in, and a DJ kept a dance party going inside (complete with The Band’s Visit-branded glow sticks). Further uptown, a deep roster of stars made appearances at DKC/O&M’s annual bash at the Carlyle Hotel, which included famed composer and lifetime achievement honoree Andrew Lloyd Webber manning the turntables for a so-called “Disco Lloyd Webber.”
Some of the Tony winners and nominees who also made appearances at the fete included Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane, Lindsay Mendez, Ethan Slater, Gavin Lee, Laurie Metcalf, Glenda Jackson, and co-host Sara Bareilles.