• Chelsea J

ICYMI: My Top 10 Favorite Tony Moments of All Time


Hello my lovely readers!

So last night was Tony Night. And I had an absolute BLAST watching it with some New Harmony friends. Overall, I thought Josh and Sarah (Groban and Bareilles- we aren't bff's so I probably shouldn't refer to them on a first name basis) did a great job hosting and there were plenty of highlights throughout the night. My two favorite performances were Carousel (with some of my favorite humans slaying that award winning choreography) and Once on This Island. And as always it was incredible getting to watch past co-workers/friends/JMU Alumni SLAY while living out their dreams.

On Instagram yesterday (in honor of the big event) I started a list of some of my favorite Tony Moments of All Time. So ICYMI (and because I never finished posting the rest of the list because #rehearsal) here are

My Top 10 favorite Tony Moments of All Time:

10. Anything Goes 2011 Performance

Like Holy. TAP.

I took tap my fall semester of senior year as my required dance credit. Myself, and a bunch of my technician friends, decided we were going to take tap thinking it might be fun (#technicianswhotap). Little did I know, they all had a little bit of experience going in. A semester and a trillion attempts at pullbacks and time steps later, I managed to just meet the required grade for it to count for graduation. Shout out to Matt Gurniak, Cody Edwards, Meg Holden, and everyone else who helped me through that class so I didn't have to take dance improv the next semester.

Long story short, I respect tap numbers even more now. Also Sutton Foster.

9. Newsies 2012 Performance

It's hands down one of my favorite shows of all time. I've seen it once on Broadway, once on tour, went to the movies to see it on the big screen, and had bought it on iTunes before it came to Netflix for free. When they needed an all male number for the Broadway and Beyond revue at JMU, I strongly suggested/encouraged Carson (music director extraordinaire) to look at Newsies. So of course this performance had to make the list.

But tbh I've seen this choreography done so many times, I'd be lying if I said this was the best I had seen it performed.

8. Ben Platt: Waving Through a Window 2017

This is the only number I've heard from this show because lately I've tried not to listen to cast recording of shows I haven't seen (it's very difficult and I'll probably give in soon). But Ben Platt was so sick and had even called out of his show the night before to rest. And he still killed.it. despite being sick af.

7. Cynthia Erivo's Tony Acceptance Speech 2016.

This speech was so precious because she just kept thanking her mum and her mum was just so happy and I just couldn't stop crying. It was one of the categories Hamilton didn't win, but it was so well deserved.

6. Hamilton Sweep. 2016 Tony Awards.

All of the speeches were straight fire. Leslie Odom Jr. thanking the entire company was probably a highlight for sure though.


Now for those not included on my Instagram list:

5. The Longest day ever.

This is not a specific speech or specific performance per say, but the fact that the Tony Awards day is the longest day in a theatre person's life. After a long week of shows/technical rehearsals, they wake up at 6 am and head to the theatre to get into costume. They proceed to take a bus to Radio City for a dress rehearsal. Back on the bus to DO A MATINEE. Then they go on and perform /do their thing at the Tony Awards. Not to mention the after parties.

I am sure there is so much caffeine and adrenaline, but it still has me thinking theatre people are super humans.

4. The Color Purple 2016.

I remember watching this performance with the Playshop cast and we all were yelling at the TV that she better win the Tony. And thank god she did. Little did I know a few months later I would get to see this show / her Tony Award winning performance and be forever changed by this piece of theatre.

3. Love is Love Speech 2016.

While the "show must go on" despite the tragic events that happened earlier that day, I believe the Broadway community handled the situation with the upmost class and respect. The guns being removed from the Yorktown performance, the pins worn for the evening, and the iconic love is love speech by Lin Manuel Miranda was a beautiful display of how theatre is not only a catalyst, but a method of healing. The evening no longer was about who won or lost or who wore the best dress, but a true display of family and community.

2. Bring It On 2013 Tony Performance.

So fun fact. Before theatre took over my life, my life was pretty much competitive cheerleading 25/8. I was fortunate enough to go see the show in the summer of 2012 (right before my senior year of HS) and I had just visited JMU for the first time literally the day before. One of my choreographers from competitive cheerleading (Bettis Richardson) was in both the national tour and Broadway cast of this show. He took us backstage, I got to meet the stage manager, and that day reaffirmed that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

And their performance at the Tony's the following summer did not disappoint. The merging of my two worlds (cheerleading and theatre) came at a time where I was getting ready to leave one world, and fully immerse myself in the other. It was also really awesome seeing Bettis (someone I still look up to to this day) performing on that stage.


PS. Bettis is the hat and the Just Did It t-shirt. Also peep all of these STARS who have continued on to be Tony Nominated/ in other Broadway shows. (re: Taylor Louderman, Ariane DeBose, Adrienne Warren, Gregory Haney)

Also if you don't love the Cabinet at their Bring it On, you sure don't deserve them at their Hamilton.


And taking the top spot, with out a doubt is:

1. Neil Patrick Harris opening the 2013 Tony Awards.

Hands down the most creative, exciting Tony opening EVER. Not only did it have a lot of my favorite shows, but the writing was genius (hey again Lin Manuel Miranda). The spectacle entertained both in the beginning and the end, but the most iconic lyrics were smacked down right in the middle:

At the end of the day we are gathered together to honor the best and the brightest. And tomorrow the fashion police will report on your dress and who wore it the tightest. If you win, have the time of your life. Tell your manager, dad, and your mom, "Thanks." Say hi to your kids and your husband or wife. Maybe just for the hell of it, Tom Hanks! Nothing is bigger and better than seeing a veteran get an ovation or seeing a brilliant beginner freak out on a win for their first nomination. There's a kid in the middle of nowhere sitting there, living for Tony performances singin' and flippin' along with the Pippins and Wickeds and Kinkys,Matildas and Mormonses. So we might reassure that kid and do something to spur that kid. Cause I promise you all of us up here tonight. We were that kid...


So that's the list friends. I'd love to hear if any of your favorites made the list.

Until next time,

Chels 💜🎭


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