Full Text of Tony Winners' Acceptance Speeches: Updated with All Acceptance Speeches
As part of BroadwayWorld's expansive coverage of the 68th Annual Tony Awards, we are providing the full text of all of the Tony Award acceptance speeches; from the emotional to the bizarre, and everything in between. Keep up with all of the winners' speeches on our continuously updated list.
Also make sure to stick with BroadwayWorld throughout Tony night, and into the morning, for all of the best videos, pictures, interviews, and commentary from theatre's biggest night.
Winner: A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER
Producer Joey Parnes: "I don't have a lot of time. Thank you. Thank you Tony voters. Thank you Tony voters in this room and across the country. You have singled us out from a group of wonderful new musicals this season. And to everyone watching, please go see them all. Most important, thank you Ellen Tattleman for 39 years of true love and for our best productions Ava, Greta, and Noah. And by my proxy standing here, thank you to all of our families for helping us do what we love. I would also like to acknowledge two of my many teachers Marvin Kraus and Liz McCann. And two of my newer teachers, the amazing Sue Waggoner and John Johnson. Steven Lutvak, Steven Lutvak had an epiphany when he was 18-years-old about this show, and he has been the singular driving force behind GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE for years. This award belongs to him and Robert Freedman, who together persevered in the face of incredible obstacles. And Darko Tresnjak, whose vision is on that stage every night. It also belongs to Hartford Stage and the Old Globe, who saw this show's promise and gave it life. And to Jordan Roth, who gave us a beautiful theater and a great staff. And to the whole creative team, the casts, the crews, the musicians, SpotCo, and O&M, our co-producers, investors, and everyone at our offices. The Little Engine That could, did! We all do what we do in the theatre, because we believe it matters. Theatre nourishes the soul and gets us to feel and think and see things differently. This is what drives us! The good will and the collaborative spirit that flows through each of us on this show, and all shows where people make theatre is a great gift. Thank you for embracing that gift, and thank you for giving us another one."
Best Leading Actress in a Musical
Winner: Jessie Mueller
"Sorry, I have a wadded up piece of paper! Oh my gosh... I have to thank God, because without him nothing is possible and that is true and that will always be true. Everyone at the Sondheim- the cast, crew, designers- it's just such a pleasure to come to work every day. Paul and Mike for making this happen when everyone else said it was a crazy, crazy idea! My agent- you open so many doors for me and show me so many possibilities that I didn't even think were there. My parents are here- they're right there!!! They're actors and they raised four kids and they sent them all to college. And I just love you guys. And- haha- it's true, I'm not making that up! And my brothers, I think you guys are watching. And Abby and Brian, you're back there somewhere! And my grandma! Grandma, I know you couldn't be here tonight but I think about you every time I step out on stage. And Andy, you literally have been so difficult here, but I thank God every day for you. And Carole, Carole King, I never thought that I would get to sing with you once in my life- let alone twice. And, um, just, you have taught me so much and you teach me so much every time I get up on stage. What you went through and to come out of it with kindness and love and forgiveness and pure heart- and you're just such an amazing woman. And I'm proud to be up here representing the amazing women, all the amazing women, in this category this year because they're all strong and vulnerable and complicated in the best way. And that's an amazing thing to be represented on Broadway. So thank you to the Wing- and I'm sorry, everybody just wants to drink- so thank you! Good night!"
Best Revival of a Musical
Winner: HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH
Producer David Binder: "I think a lot of people think it's the producer's job is to find new ideas, but I think it is actually the other way around. And then it's our job, as producers, to move them forward, to find wholeness, to find completion. Twenty years ago, two extraordinary artists, John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask (applause) conjured an idea of a rock-n-roller from East Berlin, who had a botched sex-change operation, and that idea chose me! So, on behalf of the three of us, to the cast, to the band, to the crew, to the designers, to everyone in the HEDWIG family, to Michael Mayer the visionary director. And the exquisite Neil Patrick Harris, thank you. You complete this in the most remarkable way. Thank you very much."
Best Leading Actor in a Musical
Winner: Neil Patrick Harris
"A year ago I was hosting the Tonys- this is crazy-pants! Um, playing Hedwig is an absolute joy. It is a role I was terrified of and in taking it on, and seeing how it was made- it's exhausting and it's so fun to perform it and I love doing it. Thank you so much to the Theatre Wing for this award and for voting for me. For David Binder- for 101 Productions- for waiting for me to do the production. It means a lot. I'm such a fan of the show and John Cameron Mitchell- you've created a character that is so beautiful and songs that are so amazing to sing and to do it 8 times a week I keep learning things from it! And it's a disappointment that you guys weren't able to be up for it in you category, given the circumstances, so thank you for doing that. On the production- and it all starts with our director Michael Mayer, absolutely brilliant- and everything in this show- giving us your little notes, your big notes, and all of it was amazing. To my personal Hedwig Team. Danny Paul my dresser is absolutely spectacular. Oh, I wrote names down... um... Mike, Nicole, and Lydia- you're extraordinary! Arianne Phillips- you're awesome. Boosting my confidence- thank you! Ethan Popp, Linda Dahl, Liz Caplan- for keeping my voice in check. I really appreciate it. My band- Lena Hall- who won a Tony! And the Clay band, I want to share this with you (but not really). My agent and friend Joe Mahoney. To my family, David, I love you so much and I am so happy that we've gotten to do this, thank you for your sacrifices and thank you for putting up with me in all of this. To kids, Harper and Gideon, I am so sorry that I haven't been able to spend as much time with you given the show. But I promise when this is done I will be able to read to you and put you to sleep. That's coming up soon. My mom and dad. It's their anniversary- so happy anniversary, I love you very much. And my brother. And lastly, I would just like to say thank you to the people who inspire us creatively, like teachers... These are teachers in small town New Mexico who when sports was the only option, showed that creativity had a place in the world. Without them I would never be able to do any of this. So thank you so much!"
Best Revival of a Play
Winner: A RAISIN IN THE SUN
Director Kenny Leon: "Wow. Thank you. Hurry up team. This is the most amazing cast in the world. Every night at the Barrymore, because they sit on stage and listen to each other. They listen to each other. We have one of the best producers in the business, Scott Rudin. Thank you, because he gives artists everything they need to succeed. Thank you Scott. Denzel is our anchor, but LaTanya Richardson Jackson is the glue. And I want to thank you LaTanya for stepping in and just delivering a wonderful, wonderful performance. We thank the Lorraine Hansberry Estate, and we accept this on behalf of Lorraine Hansberry, and those like her, like James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, August Wilson, Lawrence Richards, and tose that are still with us like Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee. We thank you and we love you."
Winner: ALL THE WAY
Robert Schenkkan: "What a journey this has been. From the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to Boston at the American Repertory Theatre to Broadway. Special thanks to my producers here. My director Bill Rauch. Bill Rauch is the finest director I have ever worked with, Tom Bryan, and of course, he who knocks, Bryan Cranston. Tour de force performance. An extraordinary cast with 20 New York actors. What an opportunity to bring an American story, our story, to the Broadway stage- passion, power, and politics. This award tonight, as my mother would say, is the cherry on the Charlotte russe. Thank you New York, and, Joshua, I love you. Thank you."
Best Performance by Leading Actor in a Play
Winner: Bryan Cranston
"Oh my goodness. Oh dear lord. My first Broadway play was in 1977. I snuck into the Second Act of HAIR. To this day, I still haven't seen the first act. They tell me the second act was better because there was more nudity, so I feel blessed. To all the fellow actors in this category, I am deeply honored in your company. Oooh boy. Thank you so much for this. There is so many people I would love to thank, first of all, this entire cast and crew of ALL THE WAY. Thank you so much to this great, talented group of actors, that I have the joy of performing with every night. Thank you also to Tim Greer who ties my ties, and Mikey Garner who protects me. Oh, there's so many people. Georgette and Bill Timany, thank you so much for keeping me buoyant. Thank you to... oh lordy... thank you for all our producers. Jeffrey Richards and Louise Gund and all the support from there. Thank you so much to my beautiful wife and daughter. My agency at UTA. Thank you for finding this beautiful script, all of you guys. Bill Rauch, you deserve part of this, you're a genius in directing. And thank you to Robert Schenkkan for writing this beautiful and important play. God bless you all. Thank you so much, and goodnight. "
Best Performance by Leading Actress in a Play
Winner: Audra McDonald
"Thank you. Thank you so much, thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much! I'm going to start with the most important people in my life because I don't want to forget them. I want to thank my mom and my dad up in heaven for- for disobeying the doctor's orders and not medicating their hyperactive girl and finding out what she was into instead and pushing her into the theatre! Thank you, Mom. I want to thank my husband, Will Swenson, my best friend. Thank you for the greatest support I've ever known! I want to thank my beautiful stepsons, Richard and Sawyer, who make me laugh every day. And I want to thank my beautiful daughter, Zoe Madelyn Donovan. Without you I am nothing. Do you understand? Without you mommy is nothing. I want to thank the Theatre Wing. I want to thank Lanie Robinson for writing this exquisite play. I want to thank Lonny Price- another one of my best friends. For saying you can play Billie Holliday when I thought he was out of his mind. I love you. I want to thank Jeffery Richards, Jerry Frankel, ad Jessica Genick, who took this show- sight unseen- and said yes, we'll bring this to Broadway. Thank you Paul Libbin for giving us Circle in the Square. Thank you to everyone at Circle in the Square. You're the best crew ever! And finally...I'm sure I'm forgetting somebody and I hope I'm not, but I want to thank all the shoulders of the strong and brave and courageous women that I am standing on. I'm standing on Lena Horne, I'm standing on Maya Angelou, Diane Carroll, Ruby Dean, and most of all Billie Holiday. You deserved so much more than you were given when you were on this planet. This is for you Billie! Thank you so much! "
Best Featured Actress in a Play
Winner: Sophie Okonedo
"This really extraordinary. I am loving it here in New York. I am loving it on Broadway. It's beyond anything I could have imagined. There is such a generosity of spirit from a community here, and I feel very welcome. So, thank you for that. Thank you for giving me this Tony. I share this with my cast. Anika, LaTonya, Denzel, Bryce, all of them, because I work with proper, proper actors, and they hold and carry me, and love me on stage every night. Thank you to Lorraine Hansberry for your beautiful words. Your words heal me, eight shows a week, and hopefully that goes to the audience too. Thank you to Kenny Leon, for your wonderful direction. And thank you to Scott Rudin, who brought me over here, and had the vision that a Jewish, Nigerian Brit could come over the pond and play one of America's most iconic parts. Kev, Mum, Effa, Lenny I love you very much. Thank you."
Best Featured Actor in a Musical
Winner: James Monroe Iglehart
"Ok. Alright, I've gotta thank God, 'cause I just have to. I prayed for this when I was 17-years-old. I have to thank my wonderful wife, she is my foundation, she is my everything. Alright, now that I've done that, let me see Mom and Dad and Jason? Cool. Now onto business. I want to thank Disney. I love you, I've wanted to work for you since I was 10-years-old. I want to thank Thomas Shumaker, I want to thank Casey Nicholaw, I want to thank the late, great Howard Ashman for envisioning the Genie like this. I want to thank Alan Menken. I want to thank Liz Kaplan for saving my voice when everybody was getting sick. I also want to thank Robert Trangecy for teaching me how to tap dance. Celestine T. Whitney House for keeping me in college. And I know this is supposed to be the most, you know, dignified awards show of the season, but I have to do this. This is a praise shout. HEY! (dancing)"
Direction of a Play
Winner: Kenny Leon
"Wow... Denzel, Denzel, Denzel. He's truly a theatre inspiration. And I want to thank all the women of A Raisin in the Sun. LaTanya and Sophie- I love you to death. I love you Jennifer. To my mother, I want to say, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I'm looking for the day when every child in America can have a little piece of theatre in their daily educational lives. To all the people at True Colors Theatre in Atlanta who buy tickets and see plays in Atlanta- to the people who buy tickets for the stage and theatres like Seattle Rep and LA Theatre Center. Thank you to all the people who get on buses and planes and trains to come to Broadway to see our work. I thank you- and please see the next exciting musical on Broadway: HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME! Thank you!"
Direction of a Musical
Winner: Darko Tresnjak
"I would like to thank my artistic home, Hartford Stage. My husband, Josh, I love you. Robert and Steve, and a beautiful cast headed by Jefferson Mays. I should thank so many people, but most of all, my mom literally taught me to jump out of airplanes. She fought during the Second World War She was a skydiver in 1940's. She's 87 years old, and she's too frail to be here tonight so I'm gonna thank her. Momma (Speaking in Serbian) Thank you very much."
Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Winner: Lena Hall
"Oh my God! I only have 90 seconds! Oh my God! Thank you! Thank you, um, the American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, and thank you to Hedwig...It's a big honor to be a part of the family of something that changed my life back in 1999! Thank you! Cameron Mitchell, Michael Mayer- Everyone- I love you! Oh there's a lot of people to go through! My mom, my dad - happy birthday - my sister Calli - she did my hair - and, um, my soon to be born niece. I don't know her name is yet but she'll be born in October! My fans- I love you so much! Um... I had one thing to say... It's horribly written... Looking back on my journey, up 'til now, I can see how every family member, friend, have shaped me into the person I am at this very moment. Without all of you, there would be no me. So I love you all! All of you! This whole Broadway community, I love you so much. To all the other women in my category- you guys are amazing. And thank you so much- Friendship is magic! Thank you!"
Best Featured Actor in a Play
Winner: Mark Rylance
"Wow, I'm up first. (laugh) Thank you so much, thank you so much for your generosity. We had such a ball playing Shakespeare in this city; backstage and onstage too. I wanted to say a word about an actor called Sam Wanamaker, who was a New York actor. Who in the 1950's was blacklisted by Senator Joseph McCarthy, and he and his wife Charlotte Wanamaker had to leave and go to London. Then in 1969, Sam had seen a model of the Globe in Chicago at the World Fair, was shocked to find that there was no Globe Theatre in London. He gave the last 25 years of his life, cajoling, harassing, encouraging many people to help him come and rebuild the Globe. Many of them Americans, benefactors, actors, scholars. And the work that you are celebrating tonight, of Stephen's and Paul's and all of the wonderful nominees you've made in our two productions, we are children of Sam Wanamaker's vision. I used to feel many times on stage playing the Countess Olivia or Richard III, Sam standing next to me there, saying back to this community, "Look what I went and showed them. I went and showed them how they could be truer to Shakespeare than they realized they could be. And that's something that you as Americans have given us. So, thank you every so much for this beautiful award."