Kevin Spacey and his all-star friends kick things off
With help from Stephen Colbert and Whoopi Goldberg, first-time host Kevin Spacey did his best Billy Crystal impersonation, spoofing nominees Dear Evan Hansen, Groundhog Day, Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, and Sunset Boulevard with parody songs about his inexperience as a host set to the show’s tracks. The pièce de résistance? An appearance from Crystal himself, who — in a pre-taped video — joked the Tony Awards producers asked him to host, after contacting three other people.
Cynthia Nixon breaks the ice on politics
Cynthia Nixon won her second Tony, bringing the home the award for best featured actress in a play for Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes. In her acceptance speech, the Sex and the City alum got political and talked about drawing inspiration from Hellman’s “eerily prescient” play. “Eighty years ago, she wrote, ‘There are people who eat the earth and eat all the people on it, and other people who just stand around and watch them do it,'” Nixon said. “My love, my gratitude, and my undying respect go out to all the people in 2017 who are refusing to just stand and watch them do it.” It was the first overtly political statement of the evening against the current climate.
Rachel Bloom's unbridled enthusiasm (and tiny hats)
A runner emerged during the broadcast on Sunday night: Crazy-Ex Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom acted as a producer, of sorts, throwing the show to commercial break from backstage at various intervals. During her first appearance, she joked (joked?) that being at the Tony Awards was better than her wedding day. After the cast of Falsettos performed, Bloom, wearing a small hat, said she was close to orgasm. Following a performance by War Paint actresses Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, Bloom popped up again (in an even smaller hat). Maybe next year, she can host?
Dear Evan Hansen brings the crowd to its feet
After being placed on vocal rest and missing the June 9 performance of Dear Evan Hansen, Ben Platt had no voice trouble Sunday when he took to the Tonys stage to sing “Waving Through a Window.” The Evan Hansen star even earned a standing ovation for his powerhouse performance.
Groundhog Day spoils the end
Andy Karl and Barrett Doss brought Punxsutawney to the Radio City Music Hall stage with a performance of the Groundhog Day closing number, “Seeing You.” It was a powerful but slightly spoiler-y choice of song from the musical about a weatherman stuck reliving the same day over and over again — but to be fair, we’ve all seen the 1993 Bill Murray movie on which the musical is based, so we dont mind.
"These little town blues..."
Any concern that this year’s Tony Awards were short on spectacle washed away when the Rockettes and last year’s winners for best actor and actress in a musical, Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr. and The Color Purple star Cynthia Ervio, respectively, for a performance of “Theme from New York, New York.” Maybe Martin Scorsese can do a remake?
Ben Platt was all of us during Kevin Spacey’s impersonation of Bill Clinton.
"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled..."
The Tonys may not have had Jimmy Kimmel’s mom handing out PB&J sandwiches or Ellen DeGeneres ordering pizza, but they did have Sara Bareilles passing out pie to audience members in honor of Waitress and Willy Wonka dishing out candy bars to promote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But the food bit took a turn for the cinematic when Chazz Palminteri took the stage to promote his new musical adaptation of A Bronx Tale and petition Spacey to help him write a musical version of The Usual Suspects, in which both men starred. After all, the Keyser Soze reveal would make a killer finale number.
A touching tribute
After his on-screen dad and Darth Vader voice actor James Earl Jones accepted the lifetime achievement award earlier in the night, Mark Hamill joined the Tonys broadcast to introduce the in memoriam segment. The segment honored some of the biggest names in show business, including Garry Marshall, Edward Albee, Mary Tyler Moore, Debbie Reynolds, Gene Wilder, and more, but in his introduction, Hamill paid special tribute to Carrie Fisher, telling the audience, “We lost princes of show business… and a princess.”
The most emotional moment of the night occurred after Ben Platt won best actor in a musical for his Dear Evan Hansen performance. Platt cried as he took the stage to a standing ovation and his fast-paced speech ran the gamut from sincere to hilarious. Platt closed his remarks by thanking his family and providing the young viewers in the audience with a bit of advice: “To all young people watching at home, don’t waste any time trying to be like anybody else because the things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful.”
"Shut that crap off!"
Bette Midler won her first Tony Award for acting on Sunday night and wasn’t going to let anyone stop her speech… certainly not the show’s orchestra. After the band began to play Midler off, she held firm and even shushed them away. “Shut that crap off,” she said, flicking her hand in the orchestra’s direction. Divine.
Teach them how to say goodbye
One year after Hamilton cleaned up the 70th Tony Awards with 11 wins, creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda returned to Radio City Music Hall to announce the winner for Best Musical. On hand to help him with the envelope was Spacey as House of Cards lead Frank Underwood, accompanied by Robin Wright as Frank’s wife Claire. (Although we sorta wish she showed up as General Antiope in her Wonder Woman costume to do some badass flips on stage.) After the bit — which included Spacey joking about Midler’s epic speech — Miranda awarded the final trophy of the night to Dear Evan Hansen.