The 2019 Tony Awards just ended, but it’s never too early to relive the most surprising, funny, and uplifting moments from the show. See below for our list of eight memorable events from the ceremony.
Opening Number: James Corden kicked off the show with a bang, doing choreography from A Chorus Line, jumping into a split to make The Temptations blush, and taking a few digs at binge TV culture. Corden included the entire casts—ensemble included—of all seven musicals nominated for Best Musical and Best Musical Revival.
André DeShields’ 3 Rules of Life: When accepting the Tony for his role as Hermes in Hadestown, this Baltimore native shared the keys to success that he’s learned over the 73 years he’s been on "this Earth plane." 1) Surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you coming. 2) Slowly is the fastest way to get to where your want to be. 3) The top of one mountain is the bottom of the next, so keep climbing.
Taylor Mac's outfit: Pulitzer Prize finalist and nominated Gary playwright Taylor Mac appeared on stage to introduce the Best Play nominee dressed in an outfit as vibrant and singular as the play itself.
"This Is Not a Pipeline Issue": Rachel Chavkin won Best Director for Hadestown—the 10th woman to win a Best Director Tony, and only the fourth to win for a musical. As she noted, she was the only female director to have a show on Broadway this season. “This is not a pipeline issue,” she said. “It is a failure of imagination” by the people whose job it is to bring imagination to life.
History in the Making: Winning Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Ali Stroker (Oklahoma!) became the first person in a wheelchair to win a Tony. Stroker dedicated the award to anyone at home watching with a disability and a dream to be on stage.
James in the Bathroom: Hosting is a tough gig—that’s why viewers found Corden, late in the broadcast, in the bathroom singing a Be More Chill parody that included support from hosts of Tonys past: Sara Bareilles, Josh Groban, and Neil Patrick Harris.
Some Tony Drama: It’s not often that we hear about behind-the-scenes drama between Broadway stars, who tend to favor complimenting their co-stars and colleagues. James Corden thinks some good drama is just the thing Broadway needs to drum up more interest. Cue Ben Platt vs. Rachel Brosnahan and Andrew Rannells vs. Darren Criss—but the biggest beef of the night came when Audra McDonald called out Laura Linney for [allegedly] flipping the bird to her while performing in Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. “Yeah, I did that,” Linney admitted. “You got a problem with that?” And the battle of the titans began.
Dedicated to You: Two 2019 Tony winners all but awarded their honors to other people in their acceptance speeches: Elaine May dedicated her award to co-star Lucas Hedges, whose moving description of her character's death in The Waverly Gallery May credits with her Tony win, while Ferryman playwright Jez Butterworth literally handed his trophy to leading lady Laura Donnelly.