The staff of Playbill.com went over the broadcast to pick the choicest moments in each category. Here's the result:
Cumming overwhelmed with excitement that pop singer Josh Groban was en route, pressing his hands to the side of his head at every commercial break, à la "Home Alone," and murmuring the star's name. "Josh Grobaaaaaan!"
Cumming and Chenoweth dressed as the King and Mrs. Anna. Guess who wore which costume!
Chenoweth dressed as E.T. Why? "Fun Home" sounds like E.T.'s catchphrase "Phone home." Debra Messing and Anna Chlumsky wore nearly the same dress to present the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Play. Sing along now: "This irresistible Paris original...."
Something Rotten! 's rousing meta song "A Musical," in which Tony nominee Brad Oscar explained to fellow nominee Brian d'Arcy James how musicals work, packed with references to famous shows from Annie to A Chorus Line.
Kelli O'Hara's heartfelt acceptance speech upon winning Best Actress in a Musical, after which she exited doing a dance she called "The Worm," but which was actually more of a buck-and-wing.
Chenoweth's peeved facial expression during her "throw" to commercial after O'Hara beat her for the Leading Actress in a Musical award and gave the above speech.
Great moments were supplied by the youngest and eldest nominees. Sydney Lucas, 11, of Fun Home, left the audience stunned with her "Ring of Keys." Chita Rivera, 82, did the same with "Love and Love Alone" from The Visit. Neither one wound up winning in her category.
The film clip of inspiring Excellence in Theatre Education winner Corey Mitchell goading his students to greatness.
Tommy Tune's Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech. "You see, my father’s great dream for me was the same as every Texas father’s dream for their first born son – they wanted us all to leave Texas, go to New York, and dance in the chorus of a Broadway show. And I did it and I loved every single time step."
John Cameron Mitchell's Special Tony acceptance speech. "I say turn off the Internet, combine all the things you love in the world—take some time and you might come up with something special that’s lasting."
The show's high point may have been a segment that was banned last year: In Memoriam. Groban sang Rodgers and Hammerstein's "You'll Never Walk Alone" (in an unaccountably low key) as they began projecting the faces and names of Elaine Stritch, Marian Seldes, Robin Williams, Anne Meara, Joan Rivers and others. Then the key changed and a huge chorus from all the shows joined in the song in an extraordinary and moving tribute. If only the camera angles had allowed the home viewing audience to see all the names.
The only-on-Broadway warning that those who went overtime with their acceptance speeches would be danced off by the tapping redcaps from On the Twentieth Century.
Cumming described (eventual) Best Leading Actress in a Play winner Helen Mirren (The Audience) as the fiercest queen on the Great White Way. Chenoweth quickly cautioned him, “Careful! You’re messing with our core audience.”
Larry David and Jason Alexander's comedic dialog before giving the Best Musical Award. The non-nominated David scoffed as Alexander reeled off his many award nominations, saying, "The true measure of a man is to not be nominated, and still show up to read a list of names of those who are nominated. That’s a big man.” He then turned around and claimed–more or less tongue-in-cheek–his lack of a nomination (along with producer Harvey Weinstein's shutout for Finding Neverland) was clearly an act of anti-Semitism.
MOMENTS TO BE PROUD OF
History Made: Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori were the first all-female book-and-score writing team to win the Tonys for Best Score and Best Book. Tesori's acceptance speech: “I didn’t realize that a career in music was available to women until 1981, when I saw the magnificent Linda Twine in The Lady and Her Music with Lena Horne. That was my ‘Ring of Keys’ moment—which, by the way, is not a song of love but a song of identification. Because for girls, you have to see it to be it."
More History Made: Fun Home is also the first show from Broadway's Circle in the Square to win Best Musical since that theatre opened in 1972. Ruthie Ann Miles' comments about opportunities (or lack of them) for Asian-American actors: "We have a lot of amazing, talented people who just don't have a platform. They don't have an opportunity. But they are working. They are going to class. They are hitting those auditions and doing readings, and they are striving and working so hard. But there's no place to practice, which is on the stage. There aren't enough roles. There aren't enough opportunities."
There were no awards for Best Sound Design because the category was eliminated this year.
Though it was a good year for gay, lesbian and even Asian-American winners, no African-American faces were seen in the winners' circle other than teacher Corey Mitchell (Excellence in Theatre Education Award).
Tommy Tune picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award, but was not allowed to accept it on camera. The award is usually given in the non-televised pre-show and organizers apparently didn't want to create a precedent. But they did want Tune. So, while there was a brief tribute to Tune on the televised section of the show, and Tune was permitted to present an award to someone else, his own award was given off-camera.
Similarly, Kron and Tesori had to give their historic acceptance speeches in the pre-show.