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5 Tony Award Acceptance Speeches That Rocked Our World

With June 11 rapidly approaching, theatre nerds are getting ready to celebrate a sacred day in the performing arts world: the Tony Awards! As we prepare for the 71st iteration of this beautiful ceremony, it’s only fitting to look back on some of the event’s most magical moments.

Here are five acceptance speeches that left a lasting mark on Tony history:

1. Idina Menzel, 2004

“I’m so proud to be in a musical that celebrates women!” Before her “Frozen” fame, Idina Menzel made a name for herself defying gravity on the Broadway stage. Not only has “Wicked” become one of the most iconic musicals to date, but it shares the story of two strong and empowering leading ladies. Menzel’s acceptance speech at the 2004 Tony Awards is not only joy-filled and emotional, but it commemorates a performance that will definitely remain iconic in theatre history.

2. Lin-Manuel Miranda, 2008

“Hamilton” was but a glimmer in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s eye when he snagged a Tony Award for “In the Heights.” Still, his musical genius was apparent back in 2008 when he decided to rap his acceptance speech (we’d expect nothing less). Not many people could pull off this unique endeavor, and it’s clear “In the Heights” was just the beginning of Miranda’s musical revolution.

3. Billy Porter, 2013

“Kinky Boots” star Billy Porter gave a memorable speech when he took the stage at the 2013 Tony Awards. Not only did he begin with a Shakespeare quote (always a good decision), but he tells the story of discovering the Tony Awards while “washing dishes in the kitchen” to a “Dreamgirls” performance. Porter’s powerful speech reminds us of every actor’s humble beginnings and the magic of musical theatre.

4. Kelli O’Hara, 2015

After six nominations, this Broadway star finally took home a Tony in 2015 for the role of Anna in the revival of “The King and I.” Not only do we love the sincere surprise and happiness O’Hara displays during her win, but not many other acceptance speeches include “shuffling off to Buffalo” during their exit. Well done, Kelli. Well done.

5. Renée Elise Goldsberry, 2016

WORK! This Schuyler Sister made a powerful statement during her Hamil-WIN last year: “If you know anything about me, I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life — what some would consider the lifeblood of a woman’s career — just trying to have children, and I can testify in front of all of you that the Lord gave me Benjamin and Brielle and then he still gave me this! Thank you!” This rockstar working-momma is truly an inspiration!


What is your favorite Tony Awards acceptance speech? Let us know in the comments below…

Written by Kailey Hansen

Kailey received her B.A. in English, studied Shakespeare in London and interned at an opera house.


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