The curtain has come down on the 2014 Tony Awards, and what a show it was! We had our annual fix of tearful acceptance speeches, surprising cameos, and of course, plenty of shows taking the stage. These performances provide a glimpse of what’s happening on the Great White Way for audiences across the county. In addition to numbers from the musical nominees and other new shows of the 2013-14 season, we also got tastes of upcoming tuners and plenty of stellar moments from host extraordinaire Hugh Jackman. Check out our recap below, then vote for your favorite performance in our poll!
Best Kangaroo Impression
What better way to kick off the Great White Way’s biggest night than an overture highlighting this season’s show stopping numbers? We were impressed with our host's stamina, being able to hop off the red carpet, down the aisle, through the wings, and everywhere else around Radio City. While certainly not as flashy as Neil Patrick Harris' opener last year, Jackman provided a tantilizing taste of what's to come.
Best Star-Studded Medley
"On the Sunny Side / It Don't Mean a Thing," After Midnight
A live orchestra on stage is such a welcome sight—it’s like a return to the Golden Age of Broadway! This show offers some of the hottest dancing on Broadway (with Tony-winning choreography, we might add), as well as plenty of powerhouse vocals. Their performance offered the best of both worlds, with special guest star vocalists Fantasia Barrino, Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight taking the stage together for a rare group performance of "On the Sunny Side of the Street." Then, Dule Hill and company tore up Radio City with "It Don't Mean a Thing." All this and a cameo from Jackman? Too good.
That's How It's Done
"One Day More," Les Miserables
About a year and a half ago, we got a slightly odd performance of the Les Miz act one finale at the Oscars from the movie cast, including Jackman, of course. Not to knock the film, but it was very refreshing to see this number performed in the context of the show at an awards ceremony with some of Broadway's best, including Ramin Karimloo, Will Swenson and Nikki M. James. And while we missed Caissie Levy, this was a great (if not a bit obvious) song choice to showcase as much of the talented cast as possible.
Most Caffeinated Performance
"Friend Like Me," Aladdin
Maybe it’s the excessive amounts of Red Bull we’ve consumed in preparation for Tony night, but when Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart, Adam Jacobs and the cast of Aladdin took the stage, we were singing and tapping along. Their performance was literally on fire (we tried to recreate this part too, but unfortunately we had no pyrotechnics in the office). And that hilarious shout-out of musicals of Disney past? In the biz, they call that "synergy."
Number with the Most Spoilers
"Always Starting Over," If/Then
Don’t get us wrong, we’re always a fan of a big, powerful pop anthem on primetime TV. And it certainly doesn’t hurt if it’s performed by Idina Menzel. But deciding to sing the big 11:00 number that kinda-sorta reveals a major plot point? Maybe “What the F*ck” might have been more appropriate (hey, Spring Awakening did it). But since you sounded so phenomenal, Idina, we'll give you a pass.
Best Performance by a Set Piece
"Training Montage / The Fight," Rocky
One of our favorite moments on the Broadway stage this season was the insane set change in Rocky, when the Winter Garden Theatre is completely transformed into a boxing arena that knocks out the fourth wall. The show's performance at the Tonys captured this perfectly, with the rotating fighting ring and audience members taking the stage to cheer on the Great White Way's Italian Stallion, Andy Karl (and Terence Archie's Apollo Creed). But aren't they supposed to sing in a musical?
Tony Deja Vu!
Hey wait, haven't we seen Alan Cumming do this on the Tonys...back in 1998? Of course, he and the Kit Kat Klub krew are as great as ever, and we now have the opening number in HD to watch and rewatch. Wouldn't this have been a great opportunity to add another number from this stellar production to the internet (legally)? But hey, even though we've seen it before, we're always looking for an excuse to come to the Cabaret.
Best Costume Changes
"I've Decided to Marry You," A Gentleman's Guide
When we heard that that Gentleman’s Guide was going to perform “I’ve Decided to Marry You,” we were A.) excited, because it’s one of the catchiest numbers on stage this season and B.) dismayed, because it’s also one of the few numbers in the show that doesn’t feature one of Jefferson Mays’ many characters. But when he introduced the tuner as not one, not two, but three of the D’Ysquiths, we were giddy. In fact, we’d go far as to say that he upstaged co-stars Bryce Pinkham, Lauren Worsham and Lisa O’Hare.
Best Audience Lap Dance
"Sugar Daddy" Hedwig & the Angry Inch
As soon as the opening notes of "Sugar Daddy" rocked Radio City, we knew we were in for a treat and immediately wondered who Neil Patrick Harris would interact with in the starry crowd. The sight of the rock goddess straddling Orlando Bloom, licking Samuel L. Jackson's specs, giving Sting a lap dance and hardcore smooching hubby David Burtka was as sweet as a bag of Gummibärchen.
Best Key Change & Overall Riffing
"On My Way / Raise Me Up," Violet
Sutton Foster and Rema Webb? That's double the beltress power! First, Foster and the leading cast performed "On My Way," and then, with a crazy modulation, the stage literally opened up for Webb and the rest of cast to perform the riff-tastic "Raise Me Up." The number had us up and dancing (and that's saying a lot, since we'd already eaten at least six slices of pizza at this point).
Least Revealing Number
"The Last Ship," The Last Ship
Perhaps one of the more understated numbers of the evening. We realize that there's not much an upcoming tuner can reveal at this point, except, of course, for its legendary composer, Sting. The Grammy winner turned things down a notch for a haunting accoustic performance of the title number. Color us intrigued. We may not be dancing along like we were with Violet or Hedwig, but we're at least excited to see more.
Most Questionable Song Choice
"For Good," Wicked
OK, we’ll admit, when we heard that Wicked was going to have a 10th anniversary performance, we were hoping to hear some good old-fashioned green witch belting. Current stars Christine Dwyer and Jenni Barber did a great job with their rendition of “For Good,” and sure, it provided a change of pace from the high-energy numbers. But a medley of familiar tunes would have been much more fun, especially from one of the few shows performing that every Broadway geek out there already knows / loves / sings in the shower.
Biggest WTF Moment
"Rock Island," Hugh Jackman, LL Cool J & T.I.
When Jackman began rattling off the opening number from The Music Man, we immediately started dream casting him in the 2015 NBC live broadcast (that is, in addition to our earlier picks). But when he was joined by LL Cool J and T.I. in a hip-hop version of the number, that train of thought completely derailed. Also, we're pretty sure we witnessed Worsham having an out-of-body experience during the performance? Oh, good, we're not alone.
Most Touching Group Number
"Will You Love Me Tomorrow / I Feel the Earth Move," Beautiful
This medley did a great job of highlighting some of Carole King's most well-known tunes and showcasing Jessie Mueller's dynamic performance as King at two stages of her life. And we were absolutely thrilled to see Mueller joined by the legendary singer-songwriter herself in a beautiful "then and now" moment. We'll love these two singing together tomorrow and every other day!
Best Man Candy
"T'ain't Nobody's Biz-ness If I Do," Bullets Over Broadway
Nothing gets us going like a host of fedora-wearing gangsters leaping and tapping. We were excited to hear this show was going to perform, despite not getting a nod for Best Musical. This show's scene stealer is without a doubt Nick Cordero, and we were thrilled to see this fresh face get his time in the spotlight at Radio City.
Most Nerve-Racking Number
Leading Actress Medleys, Hugh Jackman
Things that would probably piss us off right before our category is announced? An extended musical number. We get it, Hugh Jackman, you're a wonderful singer and an absolutely charming host. But singing "L.O.V.E." and "Steppin' Out With My Baby" directly before announcing the winners of two of the most anticipated categories this season may not be the best timing. We never thought we'd complain about swooning over Hugh Jackman. What's happening to us?!
Wait, Why Isn't She on Broadway?!
"Neverland," Finding Neverland
Your move, Laura Michelle Kelly. Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson, who announced she was part of this year's Tony ceremony only a few days ago, provided a sneak peek of Finding Neverland, which will land at the American Repertory Theater this summer. We've heard before how much J-Hud wants to be on Broadway, and while it likely won't be with Finding Neverland, her performance surely has casting directors buzzing.
Most Tony Winners on a Single Stage
"On Broadway," Hugh Jackman
It's a little shady that Jackman closed the Tonys with a number that's featured in a show that just lost Best Musical, but still, it's an iconic Broadway tune we never get sick of. And with all of tonight's winners storming the stage, it was a moving visual of the Broadway community's comradery. Don't get us wrong: we love us some singing Aussies, but with all that talent on the stage, we think this would have made a fun group number.