Broadway’s best arrived at the 2012 Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards on May 13 ready to celebrate, and the hour-long show was filled with laughs, music and thank-yous to fans, set against stunning views of Central Park from the Allen Room at the Time-Warner Center. Broadway.com will broadcast the ceremony later this week, but for now, here are five memorable moments from an unforgettable evening.
Host With the Most: Glee star and Broadway alum Darren Criss lived up to expectations as a charming, low-key host with a naughty side. In two original musical numbers, the Favorite Replacement winner showed off his musicianship on the guitar (opening the show by lampooning his three-week-long stint in How to Succeed) and grand piano (poking gentle fun at the Favorite Actress nominees). He even worked in a joke about washing Andrew Keenan-Bolger’s underwear at the University of Michigan!
Susan Blackwell & Friends: The always hilarious Susan Blackwell persuaded Jeremy Jordan, Kelli O’Hara, Stephanie J. Block, Christian Borle and Raven-Symone to participate in a video intro to the show that set the evening’s cheeky tone. Watching the actors practice their “winning” and “losing” faces and improvise a theme song with Blackwell created a party vibe that carried through to the post-show bash, which continued till midnight. (Coming soon: a series of post-show star interviews conducted by Susan and Broadway.com editor in chief Paul Wontorek.)
Rent Reunion: How is it possible that Daphne Rubin-Vega and Adam Pascal look as fantastic today as they did when Rent opened in 1996? The former stage lovers, who presented awards in musical categories, pointed out that their current shows, A Streetcar Named Desire and Memphis, are Broadway neighbors. Adding to the family feeling: Daphne had a Mother’s Day double date to the awards with husband Tommy Costanzo and their super-polite seven-year-old son, Luca.
Jackie Uncensored: For the second year, Broadway vet Jackie Hoffman was called into service to accept awards for winners who could not be present. Uh-oh! Let’s just hope that Alan Rickman, Andrew Garfield and Patti LuPone have a sense of humor when they hear Jackie’s “impressions.” (She was nicer to Jeremy Jordan, lambasting Broadway.com instead for holding the ceremony during a performance of Newsies.)
Sweet Speeches: Amid the R-rated revelry were moments of genuine emotion, including the acceptance speeches of Celia Keenan-Bolger (Favorite Actress in a Play) and Laura Osnes (Favorite Actress in a Musical). After thanking the fans for their support of Peter and the Starcatcher, Celia mentioned her mother, who died when the actress was 21, and her husband, Broadway vet John Ellison Conlee, who sat smiling at a ringside table. Osnes, who seemed genuinely shocked to have won for Bonnie and Clyde, also saluted the fans who have supported her since TV’s You’re the One That I Want. As always, fans came first at the Audience Choice Awards!