Fast, fun and fabulous: The 2013 Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards ceremony was packed with memorable speeches, jokes and musical treats. Keep checking back for exclusive video features shot before, during and after the May 5 show, but for now, here are 10 moments we loved:
Orfeh & Montego Raise the Roof
“All I need is a Broadway fan!” Broadway.com Audience Choice Award winner Orfeh joined fellow Tony nominee Montego Glover in a musical salute to every awestruck audience member who ever waited at a stage door. The ladies added riffs and vamps to the bluesy original song (penned by Lewis Flinn and Douglas Carter Beane), earning cheers for lines like “Just when I think it’s time to throw the towel in, I open up your fan mail and I can’t help but grin.”
Super-Fan Ben Earns a Standing O
Speaking of fans, Ben Rodenmeyer of Jackson, Mississippi, winner of the Broadway’s Biggest Fan contest, enjoyed a storybook evening with his mom and older sister. His winning video, played on a pair of huge screens, earned a standing ovation from the starry crowd, and the eighth grader got to mingle and snap photos with his favorite performers (including Nick Adams, above). “I realize these stars are real people, not just people on the computer,” Ben told us. Awww!
Stephanie J. Block Will Drink to That!
Presenter (and Favorite Diva Performance winner) Stephanie J. Block took the stage with Aaron Tveit, drink in hand, urging the crowd to take a swig whenever a winner thanked Mom, their agent or the Weisslers or reflected on their Broadway character’s “journey.” Her remarks were tongue-in-cheek, but the stars seated stageside took her up on the challenge, chugging with gusto!
Emily Rosenfeld Channels Bette Midler
It’s a BACA tradition that when winners are not present, their awards are accepted by someone who gives a speech in the winner’s “voice.” Tiny Annie orphan Emily Rosenfeld surprised the audience by accepting Bette Midler’s prize for Favorite Actress in a Play. After invoking Fiddler on the Roof, Rosenfeld cheerfully said, “Thank you, and you are the wind beneath my wings. God is watching us!” A divine moment, indeed.
Cyndi Lauper Keeps It Classy
When the Kinky Boots company accepted the award for Favorite Musical, Broadway newbie Cyndi Lauper stepped forward to thank the fans, declaring, “I’m trying to be classy.” (As if she could be anything else.) Lauper then announced, “I’m planning on doing some Shakespeare” (we wish!) and began chatting about Harvey Fierstein, who stepped forward to escort her offstage. Keep talking, Cyndi—we love you.
Laura Osnes Plays the Name Game
BACA host and incoming Chicago star Wendy Williams had the audience in stitches with jokes about renaming her wig “Nathan Mane.” She also had a little trouble pronouncing names like Orfeh and Osnes, but the ladies responded with good humor. Favorite Actress in a Musical winner Laura ticked off all the ways her last name has been mangled in the past, then warmly thanked fans who have made her “Princess Diary” vlog so popular.
Alan Cumming Says There's No Place Like Broadway
Macbeth star and Favorite Actor in a Play winner Alan Cumming gave one of the evening’s loveliest acceptance speeches, noting his pride in bringing a show “from my homeland [Scotland] to my adopted homeland.” Responding to the “Kids Rule Broadway” number sung by Motown’s Raymond Luke Jr. and Annie’s Emily Rosenfeld, Cumming jokingly “confirmed” that Rosenfeld will co-star with him next season in Cabaret.
Aaron Tveit Tweaks Wicked
Fan favorite Wicked is the perennial winner in the Favorite Long-Running Show and Favorite Tour categories, and it won both prizes again this season. After Kyle Dean Massey’s acceptance speech, former Fiyero Aaron Tveit stepped forward and yelled, with perfect timing, “Wicked finally did it!” Indeed it did, and Stephanie J. Block didn’t even have to storm the stage to accept the award.
Tim Minchin Hearts Cyndi
Know who else loves Cyndi Lauper? Matilda composer Tim Minchin. Accepting the award for Favorite New Song for “When I Grow Up,” the Aussie-born songwriter marveled at how awards season has put him in “a perpetual cage fight with Cyndi Lauper,” a pop icon he clearly reveres. Minchin was a gracious presence throughout the evening, hugging Kinky Boots star and Favorite Actor in a Musical winner Billy Porter after the show. Classy.
Bobby Cannavale Muses on Musicals
When he wasn’t the object of Wendy Williams’ admiration (“We’re all looking at you like, ‘Which of us could have him?’”), Bobby Cannavale showed off his dry wit as he introduced the Favorite Musical category by intoning, “Musicals can be magical,” adding, “I would dance the shit out of Fosse.” Theater fans know that Cannavale was set to play Nicky Arnstein in a canceled revival of Funny Girl, so, yeah, we’d pay to see him dance the shit out of just about anything!