By Andrew Gans
13 Jun 2014
James Monroe Iglehart delivered the one true show-stopping performance of the season: The night I attended Disney's Aladdin, the production actually stopped momentarily for a standing ovation mid-show following Iglehart's joyfully contagious delivery of "Friend Like Me." So, it was no surprise that the singing actor took home the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. What was a surprise, however, was the conclusion of his acceptance speech, when Iglehart said, "I know that this is supposed to be the most dignified awards show of the season, but I have to do this" before launching into a "praise shout," which featured a few deep yells and some fancy, fast footwork. I particularly enjoyed Disney producer Thomas Schumacher and Tony-winning composer Alan Menken's delighted response to their star's joyful dance.
Best Parental Thank You
Darko Tresnjak, who won the Tony for Best Director of a Musical for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, began his moving speech by thanking his artistic home, his husband, his co-creators and cast and then explained, "I should thank so many people but most of all my mom, who literally taught me how to jump out of airplanes. She fought during the Second World War. She was a skydiver in 1940s. She's 87 years old, and she's too frail to be here tonight, so I'm going to thank her." Then, the first-time Broadway director said, "Mama…" before switching to his native Serbian language. Cue the tissues.