The Washington Post

Tony Awards: From Steve Kazee’s win to James Earl Jones’ loss, five memorable moments from the show

The Tony Awards went off Sunday with nary a glitch, providing a pleasant enough evening for Broadway’s brightest stars and a number of celebrities who showed up to present awards. (Hello, Sheryl Crow!)

Neil Patrick Harris hosted the show for a third time and once again created memorable moments, thanks to his lovely voice and inexhaustible charm. But the actor didn’t have a monopoly on buzzy Tony moments. Check out the five best from the show below.

View Photo Gallery: Highlights from the 2012 Tony Awards.

Steve Kazee’s emotional speech

“Once” star Steve Kazee won his first Tony for lead actor in musical and stole the show with a heartfelt speech dedicated to his mother, who died of cancer this year.

“My mother always told me to stand up there and show them whose little boy you are,” the actor said. “And I’m showing you today that I am the son of Kathy Withrow Kazee who lost the fight with cancer on Easter Sunday this year.”

Yes, there were tears.

James Earl Jones’s reaction to not winning

Two men named James were nominated in the lead actor in a play category: James Earl Jones and James Corden. The latter won the award, but the man who voiced Darth Vader seemed to be confused about this at first.

What likely happened is that Earl Jones heard “James” and was shocked to hear his first name, since Philip Seymour Hoffman was favored in the category. His face said it all in the completely endearing and hilarious moment.

@LatumWay He lost the best actor in a play Tony . But it appears James Earl Jones was the truly shocked one.…

— Mitch (@ProfMTH) June 11, 2012

Harvey Fierstein ( REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

One of the most cringeworthy moments of the night was a live performance by the cast of “Hairspray” — on a cruise ship.

Not even Harvey Fierstein dressed in pink swim trunks and a blue pool tube to introduce the performance could save the moment from being a delicious trainwreck. But it did give a lot of people the opportunity to makes jokes about how awful it was.

Post theater critic Peter Marks, for example, tweeted, “This is ghastly. Did you see how many empty seats? They’re all at the 10 p.m. buffet! #tonyawards”

The “Book of Mormon” returns

Despite not being nominated this year, the “Book of Mormon” cast returned this year to open the telecast with a version of “Hello!” that featured famous Broadway babies, like Ricky Martin and James Earl Jones (who was holding a pen and a picture of Darth Vader.)

“Mormon” co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone gave out the award for best new musical, explaining that they are now “artistes” as opposed to ”artists” since winning a Tony. Parker joked that they “are now the Broadway establishment.”

Neil Patrick Harris in general

Neil Patrick Harris was once again a wonderful host, leading many people to wonder, can’t he just host every awards show? (The answer to this should be yes.)

In addition to his opening number, Harris performed a mashup of famous musical numbers and closed the show with a recap song. Watch those moments below.

Show Comments
Washington Post Subscriptions

Get 2 months of digital access to The Washington Post for just 99¢.

A limited time offer for Apple Pay users.

Buy with
Cancel anytime

$9.99/month after the two month trial period. Sales tax may apply.
By subscribing you agree to our Terms of Service, Digital Products Terms of Sale & Privacy Policy.

Get 2 months of digital access to The Washington Post for just 99¢.

Most Read
Read stories based on reporting for “Trump Revealed,” a broad, comprehensive biography of the life of the president-elect.


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing