The 2014 Tony Awards brought us tons of exciting performances and of course, plenty of heartfelt acceptance speeches. From James Monroe Iglehart's exuberant exclamations to a Mark Rylance speech we were able to follow, Sunday's winners had us all glued to the broadcast as they picked up their gongs. After the curtain came down, we asked you which speech was the highlight of your Tony night. From a history-making six-time winner, to a first-time recipient to a nominee newbie, here are the results!
1. Audra McDonald — 39%
The Broadway superstar took home her sixth Tony Award for her performance as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, becoming the first person to win all four performance categories and breaking the record for the most Tony wins by a performer. McDonald (and husband Will Swenson) were in tears before her first words were said. And that’s about when the waterworks started for us, too. Her emotional speech, having the distinction of being delivered in front of the proscenium, was full of gratitude, and included the courageous women who helped pave the way: “I am standing on Lena Horne’s shoulders. I am standing on Maya Angelou’s shoulders. I am standing on Diahann Carroll and Ruby Dee and most of all, Billie Holiday.”
2. Jessie Mueller — 17%
Mueller took home her first Tony for her dynamic portrayal of Carole King in Beautiful. Mueller was (on the outside) collected, poised, funny and heartfelt as she expressed her gratitude, but we lost it when she got to King in her speech and they cut to the songwriter looking as proud as ever. “You teach me so much every night,” Mueller said. “I get to up on stage and try to go through what you went through and come out of it with kindness, and love, and forgiveness and a pure heart.” She wrapped up with the phrase of the night: “I’m sorry, everyone wants a drink, so thank you. Goodnight.” We’ll drink to that, Jessie. Congratulations!
3. Lena Hall — 16%
Lena. Effing. Hall. The artist formerly known as Celina Carvajal, aka that badass rocker chick from Legally Blonde: The Search for Elle Woods on MTV. Look at her now! The first-time nominee took home a trophy for her portrayal of Yitzhak opposite Tony winner Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. “Without all of you, there would be no me,” Hall said, thanking every friend, colleague, family member, fan and acquaintance who helped shape her journey to a Tony-winning actress. We’re pretty sure Hall also took home the honor of thanking the youngest person included in a speech: her niece, due in October.