My Top 10 Favorite Moments From The 2024 Tony Awards

Bring the curtain down, my theater-lovin’ friends!  That’s a wrap on another season . . . and one of the most dramatic (pun intended) award shows I’ve seen.

While Stereophonic and Merrily rolled on to their expected wins, that Best Musical race was as tight as I’ve ever seen.  A two way race is one thing . . . but anyone could have taken that big prize last night.

I won’t spoil the rest for you in case you haven’t seen the results.  Click here if you want a full listing of all the winners.

I wasn’t at the awards last night – I chose to throw a “Super Bowl”-like party instead (which was a blast – and included sing-a-longs, Tony bingo, and more).  What I enjoy about watching the awards on television is that you get to experience it like an actual audience member.  Because what you see when you’re in the room, live, is NOT what the audience at home sees.

And it is the audience at home that truly matters . . . since the Tony Awards are the shows’ and the industry’s biggest marketing event of the year.  (The Academy Awards wrap up a film’s sales cycle, where in the theater, the Tonys START the action on ticket sales for so many.)

From my seat at Pennsylvania 6, here are my Top 10 Favorite moments from The 77th Annual Tony Awards . . .

#1 – Ariana’s Take III

Ariana DeBose saved the Tonys last year, when she hosted without a script.   She came back this year, and had a script, and knocked it out of the park again.  She can do anything.  Now, let’s hope she does another Broadway show soon!  

#2 – They Made it Rain!

One of the two most “talkable topics” (my phrase to describe word-of-mouth getters) in The Outsiders is the Rumble and the Rain. “Surely they won’t be able to make it rain during the rumble on the Tony Awards.” They did.  You could practically hear the collective “oooooooooh” from all the viewers.  Spectacle, even when it’s simple, still sells. And if someone ever says, “How are you going to do that?” you should absolutely do it.  Because if you pull it out, you’ll be that much more successful. 

#3 – Their Voices Were Heard in Stereo-Phonic.

When The Tony Awards announced their performances, the (now) Tony Award-winning Best Play Stereophonic originally did not make the list. But their fan base came out of the SOUND BOARD to make a case for their favorite play to be included in the performance list. It’s a solid reminder to harness your community. Make them feel involved and show them they have a voice! Because in Stereophonic’s case, it WORKED! Their fan base’s voices were heard and they performed at the Tony Awards last night. 

#4 – A Special Goodbye to Chita.

The “In Memoriam” section of the Tony Awards is always moving.  But I love that they took a longer moment to honor one of the greatest . . . Chita Rivera.  One of of the shows I’m most proud of producing is The Visit . . . because she was in it.  

#5 – Longer Speeches

Historically, award shows limit the time that winners have to speak on stage (cue: the wrap up music). But this year, it seems the Tony Awards allowed for LONGER speeches, giving the winners more time to insight inspiration or share their gratitude. It allowed the winners to get over their nerves, get grounded . . . and find their way to inspiration (and made sure they didn’t forget anyone!).  

#6 – The Tightest of Races 

The 2023-2024 Broadway season saw 39 new productions which included 21 musicals (16 original, 5 revivals), 16 plays (12 original, 4 revivals), and two special engagements (both original). Of the 38 eligible productions this season, 26 productions received at least 1 nomination.  That’s a lot of competition.

And that Best Musical Tony Award could have gone to ANY of those nominated shows.  Usually you have a strong feeling who is going to win.  Sometimes it is between two shows. But three or more?  It made those last few moments feel like a tied-up Super Bowl with 2 seconds left.

#7 – Hillary Rodham Clinton

HRC received a standing ovation from Broadway when she took the stage to introduce Suffs’ Tony Awards performance. She said, “I have stood on a lot of stages, but this is very special.”  That kind of connection to a world leader is not only important to her show, but also to the entire industry.  It says, “Hey, important people love us.  You should too.”

#8 – A SMASHing Surprise

You didn’t see it, but during the commercial break, SMASH surprised the in-house audience with a new teaser. And word from inside Lincoln Center was the ovation was pretty awesome. The teaser includes this anecdote: “If you loved the TV series, it’s exactly what you want. And if you didn’t, we changed everything.”  🙂

#9 – Gutenberg’s Meta Moment That Taught Us All Something 

If you were wondering why Gutenberg! The Musical was nominated in the Best Revival of a Musical category this year when it has never appeared on Broadway before, Bud & Doug are here to explain!  While I would have loved Andrew and Josh to have done a number, this was almost just as good.  Now – what other shows can we get those two to do together?

#10 – New Shows Announcing They’re Coming To Broadway

Though the Tony Awards are a celebration of the current season of Broadway shows, last night’s telecast also gave us a preview of what is to come. From the SMASH teaser to The Last Five Years making their Broadway announcement, to Idina presenting (because she’s returning in Redwood), we saw some great plugs of what’s to come in the next 12 months.  

So . . . what do you think is going to win a Tony Award in 2025?  😉

And what was your favorite moment from last night?

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.