2005 Tony Award Winner Speeches

By: Jun. 06, 2005
What is the winning of a Tony Award without a speech? Some, like that of costume designer Catherine Zuber, were short but sweet. Others, like Dan Fogler, gave longer, emotional ones in which they gushed and even shouted their gratitude. All of the speeches came from genuinely moved and often shocked winners.

The Light in the Piazza's Ted Sperling, Adam Guettel and Bruce Coughlin for Best Orchestrations:
Sperling: "Thank you for having this category. We are very, very grateful to many musicians who bring this beautiful score to life. Amy Einhorn, our wonderful music copyist at Henry Kushman Music, and particularly our orchestra members in Seattle, Chicago, and New York who pour their hearts into this beautiful music every night. Here's to more live music on Broadway with real strings and real harps. There is no substitute."

Guettel: "I just wanted quickly to thank Lincoln Center Theater for being so supportive of the ever-expanding forces of our pit. How exquisitely the orchestrations were played by our terrific band. I'd like to thank Ted and Bruce for teaching me and allowing me to be a nag."

Coughlin: "I just want to thank Ted and Adam for everything. Not just this production but for the many productions we have done over the years. And Lincoln Center, obviously we have to thank and my most loyal fans, my family and parents. So thank you very much."

The Pillowman's Brian MacDevitt for Best Lighting Design of a Play:
"I am the luckiest guy in the world and the only way I can truly express this here is through song -- so look out! I can't really sing, but seriously, as I shake here in front of everybody I think the most horrifying thing about getting one of these is to be in a position to tell actually people how this feels. It is an overwhelming feeling, first to be able to make a living off what you love to do. Second, to be invited by the most respected and greatest artists in the business to join them on a project like The Pillowman, to be supported and loved by a group of people who I work with--assistants, agents, family. And, gosh, there is one more thing, especially to be supported by the greatest stagehands in the world -- New York Stagehands Local One. I deeply appreciate this. Thank so you so much."

The Light in the Piazza's Christopher Akerlind for Best Lighting Design of a Musical:
"This is a fantastic thrill and I have a lot of thanks and I'm going to get through them as fast as I can. First of all, for Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas and Bart Sher, who allowed me to put the physical light into their ravishing, radiant, and astonishing musical. I'm forever grateful for the opportunity that you have given me. Second of all, to this terrific band of colleagues and collaborators that we were working with: Michael Yeargen, Catherine Zuber, Evan Steinberg, Ted Sperling, Jonathan Butterell, Thom Widmann, as well as the most fantastic and luminous cast ever put together, it seems to me. I have to thank my assistants Mike Spadaro, Catherine Devlin--I will never get off the stage here without thanking my friend and agent Nicky Roth, my friend Jennifer Tipton, and, it seems to me one last thing in standing here that I have to remember: my mother, who passed away in November, who would have loved this moment, and who would have loved Adam and Craig's beautiful musical."

The Rivals' Jess Goldstein for Best Costume Design of a Play:
"Thank you so much. I get to work with the most wonderful directors and writers and actors and designers in New York and I am so grateful for all that I have learned from all of you over all these years. For this award I want to thank Mark Lamos for his guidance. He was the first really smart director I got to work with when I first came to this city, and I want to thank André [Bishop] and Bernie [Gersten] and everyone at Lincoln Center--in the offices, backstage, everywhere--for all their support. I like to thank all the incredible artists and craftspeople who helped me realize my designs for The Rivals. I appreciate it so much, thank you."

The Light in the Piazza's Catherine Zuber for Best Costume Design of a Musical:
"Thank you so much. I am totally unprepared. Thank you to Lincoln Center, to André [Bishop] and Bernie [Gersten]. To the beautiful music of Adam Guettel, for the brilliant words of Craig Lucas, to my collaborators Chris Aklerlind, Michael Yeargan, and to director Bartlet Sher. Thank you so much to everyone. Thank you."

The Pillowman's Scott Pask for Best Scenic Design of a Play:
"Thank you so much. It is beyond overwhelming. I am hugely indebted to John Crowley who is so brilliant, to Martin McDonagh's spectacular play. I have never been so lucky. To the incredible cast, crew and staff that bring these stories to life every night, it is just the greatest gift. I am completely indebted to my amazing associate designer Orit Jacoby Carroll--every day I am thankful for you. Thank you so much. Our producers here, Robert Fox, and especially in London The National Theatre and Hudson Scenic for doing such an amazing job. I know I am forgetting somebody. It's just incredible, its crazy. I'm running around like a bike between speed bumps. Thank you. My love to my family. Thank you mum, brother Bruce, my sister Ella. Thank you."

The Light in the Piazza's Michael Yeargan for Best Scenic Design of a Musical:
"Oh my gosh, thank you so much, this place is so big. I can't thank the whole collaborative group of The Light in the Piazza enough for this amazing, amazing, experience. It's been a labor of love from the first day we started working on it. I never in my life expected to be here tonight, and I am deeply grateful to Lincoln Center for giving us the opportunity to do what we did in the way that we really wanted to do it. And to the phenomenal cast, this phenomenal crew at Lincoln Center that put it together, Scenic Technologies who built it, and the wonderful painters at Joe Forbes who painted it. My deepest thanks to Mikiko Suzuki, my assistant; and my partner, my associate, Larry King, who has been my toughest critic all the way through the whole experience. Thank you so much."

Glengarry Glen Ross' Liev Schreiber for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play:
"Alan Alda, Gordon Clapp, Fred Weller, Jeffrey Tambor, Jordan Lage and Tom Wopat are the biggest hams I've ever had the pleasure of working on stage with. Thank you guys. To be a part of this ensemble has been an amazing experience for me. Joe Mantello should be ashamed of himself for allowing grown men to behave that way on stage. Thank you, Joe for encouraging all of that bad behavior. I am completely shocked. This is the community I have always dreamed of being a part of. I am so grateful for all the opportunities that I have had to be a part of this community. To our producers of Glengarry, to my agent, David Kolonder, to Billy and Joe, to Lauren and everyone else who helped. Thank you so much. This is such a tremendous honor. Thank you."

Doubt's Adriane Lenox for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play:
"All right! Thank you so much. I guess less is more! If you have seen the play you know what I am talking about. Thank you so much all those who nominated and voted for me. I really appreciate it. It is just too much. It has been quite a whirlwind for me, the past few years, and I thank everybody who has been praying for me and been in my corner. John Patrick Shanley—genius!-- Doug Hughes, Cherry [Jones], the entire cast, Heather [Goldenhersh] and everybody, has been so wonderful, the stand-bys--that's my crew while I am waiting before I am on stage. My sisters are here! Billy and Lena from Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis is in the house! My cousin, Rene, everybody, thank all so much for coming up here and being a part of this with me. My husband, Zane Mark, and my daughter Crystal for putting up with me. I'm not going to do any more dishes! I can't hold this and wash dishes too! Thank you so much. This is for my mother, she just made a transition this past April to the great city above. I dedicate this to my agents, Leading Artists. Everybody, thank you so much for your prayers. Thank you, and goodnight."

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee's Rachel Sheinkin for Best Book of a Musical:
"One thing I learned writing a book for a musical is that no one really knows what that is. But if you do, you know what an amazing job the other nominees in this category have done. Our book was so collaborative and I will never Will Able to thank all the people I should mention, but let me start with the guy who brought us to the party, Bill Finn, for his exuberant score and for being hard to say no to. And James Lapine for being harder to say no to. Rebecca Feldman and the actors who started this thing, Jay Reiss for his inspired sentences, Dan Fogler and our exciting ensemble for their characters and creativity. We all want to thank our producers David Stone, Second Stage Theatre, Barrington Stage Company, and finally, since this is a show about these kids trying to please their parents, I just want to say how lucky I am to have a family who makes fun of me no matter what. Thank you."

La Cage aux Folles' Jerry Mitchell for Best Choreography:
"Thank you, thank you, thank you. I was in Paw Paw, Michigan, this morning with my entire family celebrating my nephew Derek's graduation. I know they are all watching, so I want to thank mom and dad, Ricky and Derek for all your love and support. I wouldn't be standing here without the four-time Tony award-winning mensch Jerry Zaks, my champion. The entire producing team, the Nederlanders, Jimmy Jr., Jimmy Sr., Susan Bersten, Nick Scandalios, Clear Channel, Marty Richards, Terry Allen Kramer, Ken Greenblatt. The entire cast and crew at the Marquis Theatre, especially Gary Beach and the amazing Cagelles. Robert Tatad, my associate, the designers. Listen, I came to New York and I had three amazing teachers--Michael Bennett, Jerome Robbins, and Bob Avian. And now I have Jack O'Brien—he is my heart and soul. I want to thank Mark Sendroff, June McDonald, and Connie Selznick, who have guided me, and my partner, Eric Shure, who gives me unconditional love. Harvey and Jerry you have written a story about unconditional love and our country needs to hear it today more than ever. Thank for that. Thank you for this. Thank you, I love Broadway!"

The Light in the Piazza's Adam Guettel for Best Original Score:
"This is just the most incredible thrill of my entire life, period. And I know it will always be a highlight, no matter what happens, so I don't want to screw this up! Elizabeth Spencer wrote a beautiful, beautiful story and it has lasted for 50 years and it gave me five years of something to get up and do. I don't make stories. I don't know how to invent them, but she sure does. And she gave us something that just inspired us to work and to try and do our best. I'm going to do this quickly--I can't believe this is happening, this is so exciting! Craig Lucas, you saved this from the back of my bureau because that's where it was staying when you came across me. And Bart Sher, for doing a beautiful, beautiful job, beautiful leadership and exquisite production. Ted Sperling for making a gorgeous sound and helping me in refining the score. The whole cast for your beautiful performances. Vicky and Kelly and Matthew for your stunning singing. As a writer, you feel so happy that people take it to heart the way they have, and work so hard.

Everybody has worked so hard and the organizations and companies and theater that have made this happen: Sundance, Intiman Theatre in Seattle, the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, and of course Lincoln Center here, Nonesuch Records, and Rodgers and Hammerstein, all made it happen together. I can't thank you enough. It is such a strong season. I am so honored to be here. Thank you very much."

's Doug Hughes for Best Direction of a Play:
"I am done a very great honor by this award--none greater than to have my name spoken in the same sentence with those masters Joe Mantello, John Crowley, and Scott Ellis. I want to thank my beautiful wife, Lynn, for the boundless supply of love, patience, and belief she has lavished on her director husband. I'd like to thank my mother and father, great actors, great parents. I know it must seem like a wild act of Oedipal revenge for the son of two actors to become a director, but I assure you that is not the case. What happened with Doubt is very, very simple. John Patrick Shanley wrote the play for our time and I was given the opportunity to work on it every day in the company of geniuses. So if you will indulge me I'd like to live a fantasy here and simply say, I love working in the world of the theatre. Safe and dangerous, small and infinite, I am overjoyed to have a place in it. Thank you so very, very much."

Monty Python's Spamalot's Sara Ramirez for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical:
"I'd like to thank--oh Good Lord, Claritin, and all of my doctors. Here's the deal--we are all working really, really hard and it's just an honor to be part of the theatre community and New York has been so good to me. I want to thank you for that. The cast of Spamalot--I love you guys, I miss you guys. Thank you for being so supportive and so generous. For Hank and David, thanks for keeping it real. Thank you to my producers, Bill Haber, Bob Boyett, all of our wonderful producers, Dr. Horowitz, thank you and Darlene Wilson, thank you. I also want to thank Eric Idle, John Du Prez, Casey Nicholaw--I might as well give it to you, Bones, I might as well give this to you. Mike Nichols, thank you, thank you, for this opportunity of a lifetime. You changed my life completely and you've given someone just the time of their life, so I just want to thank you for that. Thank you, Bernie Telsey, thank to my mother and Al, my family and my friends. I love you, mom."

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
's Dan Fogler for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical:
"I was gonna dance up here but I got all choked up. I thank the Theatre Wing and the League for the honor, and my mom and dad for their support and DNA. To the other nominees, you guys are superb and the only reason I'm here is because I had a three-year head start, and my education--my representation, my fantastic representation. Everyone from the Theatorium, BSC, Second Stage, to Broadway's Circle in the Square, and all this required a dream collaboration--you will be thanked thoroughly on the website! My brilliant ensemble cast of lovely misfits to the miracle chain: Rebecca, Sarah, Wendy, Bill, James, and Mr. Stone, and I feel like Rocky right now, she's my Adrian - Jodie! We did it with this hair, and in this body. Be brave, be different. I dedicate this award to The Farm and, in the words of Mr. William Morris Barfee, 'In my whole life I have only been able to breathe through one nostril and today is no exception!' Thank you."

700 Sundays'
Billy Crystal for Best Special Theatrical Event:

"I want to thank everybody on behalf of the entire cast. I mean that, there's a lot of people on stage every night in 700 Sundays and I am thrilled to be with them and that audiences see them as I present them, and that my family becomes the audience's family. The greatest thrill in my career is doing this show and coming home to present these stories of growing, and people that I love, and to make me a man. And that couldn't have been done without so many people who have assisted me and loved me throughout the years. Most important, my wife, Janice Crystal, right over there, and my good friend, Larry Magid, producer. But because we are a special event, I thought we were a really good play, and there a lot of people we have to thank who couldn't be nominated because of the way that event is listed on the nomination form, [including] Des McAnuff, who directed this show. Events are directed. With style and wit and grace and respect and love for Jack and Howard. My good friend Alan Zweibel, who still continues to give material--we are closing in a week and we are still writing to make this show better. That's the kind of friend he is and also a wonderful writer.

To my brothers, our family is here tonight, these are stories I share with them, this is the best part I have ever had to play. I love working with the actor I get to work with every night. This has been the greatest thrill of my life and this is the great cherry on all the 700 Sundays. This actually for me is the 701st Sunday because I know my dad and my mom are looking down, probably saying, 'God, you did it, I knew that you could.' Thank you."

Monty Python's Spamalot's Mike Nichols for Best Direction of a Musical:
"God, my head is totally empty. I had a thing I was going to say, and I have forgot it, because I had given up so long ago. But the first thing to say is thank you. To the other members of my category, my friends Jack and James and Bartlett, I guess you are thinking age before beauty, me too! My congratulations to the winners. My love to those who have not won tonight. I just want to remind you of my motto: Cheer up, life isn't everything. It always stands me in good stead.

I am up here for many brilliant people. I have to thank the most amazing company in which every single member is a great performer. I have to thank the incredible group of stage hands who literally do magic every night. Above all, I have to thank Python and Eric Idle from whom all blessings flow. I have to thank Casey Nicholaw, a brilliant choreographer, who did so much more of my job than you would ever believe. He's great and I am deeply grateful to him. To Tim Hatley for magical sets and costumes and to two great producers, Bill Haber and Bob Boyett, who are supportive, creative and I know you won't believe this but I swear it's true, generous. I have to thank my gorgeous, amazing wife, and I agree with you that she could have done a lot better, but she is my luck. And Matt and Jenny, you don't have to go to bed. Thank you."

La Cage aux Folles, Produced by James L. Nederlander, for Best Revival of a Musical:
"First of all, I want to thank all the Tony voters out there for letting us be a part of your lives. I want to thank my producing partners, Terry Allen Kramer, Marty Richards, Sam Crothers, Ken Greenblatt, Clear Channel Entertainment, Nick, Steve, Wendy, Jeffrey. I want to thank the great Jerry Herman for writing a gorgeous score. Harvey Fierstein for writing a book that's still a ground-breaking story of love and family values. Jerry Zaks for doing a masterful job of directing. Jerry Mitchell for choreographing just something unbelievable. The Cagelles. William Ivey Long for designing something that can go on any runway in the world. Scott Pask, Donald Holder, and especially I'd like to thank my father. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't be here today. Thank you all very much."

Glengarry Glen Ross,
Produced by Jeffrey Richards,
Jerry Frankel, JAM Theatricals, Boyett Ostar Productions, Ronald Frankel, Philip Lacerte, Stephanie P. McClelland/CJM Productions, Barry Weisbord, ZenDog Productions, Herbert Goldsmith Productions, Roundabout Theatre Company, Todd Haimes, Ellen Richard and Julia C. Levy for Best Revival of a Play:
"My partners Jerry Frankel and Jam Theatricals said I should prepare a speech and I'm afraid I didn't. But I want to say that there is nothing more thrilling for all of my partners who are gathered here on stage than to go to the Bernard Jacobs Theatre eight times a week and hear the dazzling dialogue of David Mamet, one of our great playwrights--40 plays and this is his first Tony. We share this with him. We share this with the brilliant director Joe Mantello, and we share it with seven great artists who give eight thrilling performances a week. Let me mention them: Alan Alda, Liev Schrieber, Jeffrey Tambor, Frederick Weller, Tom Wopat, Gordon Clapp and Jordan Lage. Thank you for this great honor tonight."

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf's Bill Irwin for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play:
"Thank you so much. To be spoken of in the breath with my fellow nominees is honor enough for any actor, and to be voted this honor by people who know and love and make theatre should be blessing enough for any man. But I have blessings beyond this. I have a family, who loves and supports me, and whom I love. I have representatives who love and support me and are very patient. I belong to a strong and a proud trade union and my paychecks are signed every week by producers who are brave and strong and fearless and who bring us this Broadway season. And then I step on stage each night with three ferocious actors, who are brave and generous, and who can make the breath of life out of a cry of the heart. And with the help of our brilliant director, we speak every night, every night, the words of one of our greatest playwrights of this or any time. This is Broadway, we do this every night. Thank you so much."

's Cherry Jones for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play:

"Thank you so much. Kathleen Turner, you are genius in Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf? And you and your cast mustn't be missed. John Patrick Shanley, you have written a great American play that is going to be performed around the world. And you and Doug Hughes are the reason why I am standing here right now. Doug Hughes, you are a blessing and every actor in New York wants to work with you so pace yourself, please! Deep thanks to Manhattan Theater Club, Carole Shorenstein Hays, Roger Berlind and Scott Rudin. Adriane, Heather and Mr. O'Byrne, I stand in awe of you every night. Lucky, lucky me. Linda Wilson and Jewell Walker, I thank you for your care as my greatest teachers, and to my beloved family in Tennessee, I am so proud to belong to you, and Laura Winfield, I share this with you. Thank you so much, thank you American Theatre Wing.

Thank you so much. Kathleen Turner, you are genius in Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf? And you and your cast mustn't be missed. John Patrick Shanley, you have written a great American play that is going to be performed around the world. And you and Doug Hughes are the reason why I am standing here right now. Doug Hughes, you are a blessing and every actor in New York wants to work with you so pace yourself, please! Deep thanks to Manhattan Theater Club, Carole Shorenstein Hays, Roger Berlind and Scott Rudin. Adriane, Heather and Mr. O'Byrne, I stand in awe of you every night. Lucky, lucky me. Linda Wilson and Jewell Walker, I thank you for your care as my greatest teachers, and to my beloved family in Tennessee, I am so proud to belong to you, and Laura Winfield, I share this with you. Thank you so much, thank you American Theatre Wing."

Doubt's John Patrick Shanley (Playwright) and Carol Shorenstein Hays (Producer) for Best Play:
Shanley: "Wow! Happy. Joy. Fleeting. Fleeting. I want to thank the Sisters of Charity for teaching me read and write. I want to thank the Irish Christian Brothers for throwing me out of high school. I want to thank the incredible ensemble cast of Doubt, for turning in a ferocious avalanche of talent every night. I want to thank, especially, Doug Hughes for the elegant job he did directing my play. I want to acknowledge the tremendous talent of Martin McDonagh and The Pillowman. It's a wonderful play. Who else do I have to thank? Help me here! The wonderful producers of this play, Lynne Meadow, Barry Grove, Scott Rudin, Roger Berlind, and Carole Shorenstein Hays. I want to thank the American Theatre Wing, and say I love the theatre!"

Hays: "There is great serenity in the certainty of Doubt. I dedicate this to my father, my brother my children, and my wonderful husband, Jeff. The entire company invites you to come and see Doubt at the Walter Kerr Theater. It's the best of Broadway. Thank you."

The Light in the Piazza's Victoria Clark for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical:
"Thank you so much for this honor. I wouldn't be standing here without my amazing family, my steadfast friends, and my teacher Edward Sayegh and this role, which has to be one of the greatest written for the stage, musical or otherwise. I am a very, very lucky actor. My deepest thanks to Ira Weitzman, André Bishop, Bernie Gersten, and Lincoln Center Theater, to ElizaBeth Spencer for giving us your story, and to Craig Lucas and Adam Guettel for your powerful, life-giving piece. Bartlet Sher, Ted Sperling, and Jonathan Butterell, you are all geniuses and should be cloned so everyone can know the intense pleasure of working with you. Thank you so much for not offering this role to Glenn Close or Cher. Thom Widmann, Lincoln Center crew, especially Alice Ramos and Kimberly Mark and the all-start cast of Piazza, and especially my rock and comfort, Kelli O'Hara. Thank you. And finally, to my acting coach on this project, my ten-year-old son, Thomas Luke, I love you, you are my light in the piazza."

Dirty Rotten Scoundrel
's Norbert Leo Butz for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical:

"I feel like crying because when I heard my name, I just got the joke. I just got it. First and foremost I want to thank God, because there is no way that somebody with my name from Stockton, Missouri ends up at Radio City Music Hall holding one of these without some divine intervention. I want to say hello to my daughters, my beautiful daughters, Clare and Maggie, who are my inspiration every night and every day. I love you two so much, and there is no school tomorrow, ok? My parents are here, Norbert and Elaine. Yes, he is the culprit. My best friend Michelle Federer, thank you for making me laugh on the inside again. Ellen Flack, my manager, thank you for believing in me from the beginning. My agents, especially Lindsay Porter and Larry Taub, thank you so much.

Thank you to Marty Bell, a truly compassionate producer who has given me another great part. The Old Globe Theatre, a great regional theater, who gave us a home to create this play. Support regional theatre around the country! To the best cast on Broadway, Sherie Scott, my dear, dear friend, my wonderful scene partner and my life friend. Joanna, Greg, Sara Gettlefinger, and John Lithgow. John, I have one of these and I am honored, but you have what I really want, which is the trust and gratitude of every person in this community. I love you so much."

Monty Python's Spamalot, Produced by Bill Haber, for Best Musical:
"Would you be suspicious if I used the teleprompter? And now for something completely different - let's not thank Eric Idle, who started it off, who is the genius behind this, and Monty Python. Let's not thank