Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Click Here for More Articles on 2022 AWARDS SEASON

2016 Tony Awards - He/She Said What?! Relive the Acceptance Speeches: Updating LIVE!

As part of BroadwayWorld's expansive coverage of the 70th Annual Tony Awards, we are providing the full text of all of the 2016 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 below.

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.

Jayne Houdyshell, THE HUMANS - Best Featured Actress in a Play: "Oh wow! Wow! Well, I've never been one to rush into things, but... The fact that at the age of 62, 42 years into a career that this should come my way. All that means, all that means that the depths of my gratitude is really, really, really profound. So, thanks to the American Theatre Wing for this great honor. Steven Karam wrote a gorgeous play called THE HUMANS. Thank God Steven that you are 36 years old because that means that we have many more years to hear your exquisite, intelligent, insightful and humane voice. Joe Mantello, thank you for directing me. You always leave me closer and further towards the truth. It's the greatest gift any artists can receive working on a play. You make me a better actor, you make me a better person. I'm so glad I got to work with you on this play, Joe. This play is about a family there are six of us. No one of us can do what we do without the other five. We are inexplicably linked. We are an ensemble. So, I share this award with my colleagues, Reed Birney, Sarah Steele, Cassie Beck, Lauren Klein and Arian Moayed. It's an incredible honor to take the stage with these beautiful people. Thank you so much!"

Renee Elise Goldsberry, HAMILTON - Best Featured Actress in a Musical: "I have been praying my entire life for the opportunity to stand in front of the world and say thank you to my parents who are here tonight, Ron and Betty. HAMILTON has been one once in a lifetime moment after another and still the best moment every day is going home at night to my husband Alexis. I love you so much! I would like to thank Tommy and Lin and Jeffrey and Jill and Sandy and Oscar and Laurie and Nina and Lillian and Brian, thank you. I would like to thank the Entire company of HAMILTON. When one of us wins we all win because we are one. I love you; and lastly I would just love to say that if you know anything about me, I've spent the last 10 years of my life what some would consider the life blood 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! Praise God, thank you."

Daveed Diggs, HAMILTON - Best Featured Actor in a Musical: "Oh man, um, alright so look, when I was in pre school we were supposed to do like a performance for the parents, and I didn't want to do it, so my mom talked to the teachers, she came back, and she said you don't have to do it, but you have to do something. And I said I want to a gymnastics routine with my dad. And a couple days later my dad showed up with me in matching rainbow tights and we did this gymnastics routine in front of the parents at the pre-school. And the most important thing about that story to me is that one my mom gave me permission to do something that everyone else wasn't doing and two my dad supported me and made it possible, and I think a lot of us are here because people in our lives did that so thank you mom and dad who are here tonight, that's so crazy. Thank you to Jalene, who I love who is also here, my brother Malcolm who is watching at home. Shoot, all of Oakland, California, Rafa, Chanaka, Bay Area stand up. Lin, Tommy you already know, Alex, Andy I mean what were you thinking? Thank you so much for allowing this to happen. Jeffrey, Sandy, just, Oscar, everybody, just thank you so much I cannot thank you all enough, this is so crazy."

Lin-Manuel Miranda, HAMILTON - Best Score: "Ummm. I'm not freestyling, I'm too old. I wrote you a sonnet instead. My wife's the reason anything gets done. She nudges me towards promise by degrees. She's a perfect symphony of one. Our son is her most beautiful reprise. We chase the melodies that seem to find us until they're finished songs and start to play. When senseless acts of tragedy remind us that nothing here is promised not one day. The show is proof that history remembers. We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger. We rise and fall and light from dying embers remembrance that hope and love last longer. And love is love is love is love is love is love and cannot be killed or swept aside. As sacred as a symphony, Eliza tells her story. Now fill the world with music, love and pride. Thank you so much!"

Ivo van Hove, A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE - Best Director of a Play: "Wow, I could never have dreamed to stand here with this in my hands tonight. New York has been so welcoming to us this season, you have been so welcoming to us this season, and being open to perhaps a different kind of theatre here and there; and I'm so grateful to Scott Rudin who dared to bring these Belgian avant garde, bad boy avant gard-ness I called this a few years ago to a center of theatre life, to wonderful theatre life on Broadway, and I came here for the first time when I was twenty mainly to see David Bowie in the ELEPHANT MAN at the Booth theatre and I was sitting on a bench and a woman came to me, she asked me what I want to be, I said I want to be a theatre director, and she grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and asked me to sign it, because she said, "You never know". And indeed you never know, she's watching now, and she's now thinking, "See? I was right". Thank you so much."

Photo Credit: Henry McGee

Thomas Kail, HAMILTON - Best Direction of a Musical: "Like so many of us, I am the sum of so many things, of so many parts, my parents who are here tonight, my sisters who claim that I inspire them, but secretly inspire me. My dear Angela who is the one that I keep trying to am I doing?

I'm here because so many people said why not this? Why not try this? John Elcho in high school, Gilbert Parker, Dan Louria, Andy Gale, John Bazetti, Jeffrey Seller, Sandy Jacobs, Oscar Eustace, Joe Furman. These people who said, you, we trust you. This cast, these designers, this thing is bigger than all of this. Lin gave us a gift, my job is to try to deliver that gift. My job is to try to honor the work that Andy and Alex put forth. Where I was inspired by their humanity which is greater than their talent. It's the only thing, perhaps, that is greater than their talent.

And Lin, oh dear Lin, I exist to try to build, to interpret, to take what you have given and to bring honor to that. When I don't have the words, you do, when I don't know where to go, I look on the page, and it's always there, the answer is always with the writer. So let's continue to tell stories. What I've seen this season is there are still stories to be told, and there are people who want to hear them. Keep telling the stories. I'm so proud to be a part of this Broadway community. I'm so proud to work in the theatre. Thank you very much. Thank you."

Thomas Kail. Photo Credit: Walter McBride

Reed Birney, THE HUMANS - Best Featured Actor in a Play: "Wow! Crazy! What a thrill and a great honor. I want to thank first my wonderful family, Connie, Ephraim and Gus, who are such a beautiful world for me to love everyday and I am so grateful to you. So, more than anything thank you! I have a wish for every actor in the world that they get to be in a play directed by Joe Mantello. He will blow your mind, I promise you, and I give him full credit for my performance in this play and that you get to be in a play written by Stephen Karam. He's really young, there's gonna be a lot of them and they are all going to be beautiful. I want to thank Scott Rudin and Barry Diller and Todd Haimes for loving our plays so much and being so gentle with it. I hope everybody gets to be in a play one day with Arian Moayed and Cassie Beck and Sarah Steele and Lauren Klein and Jayne Houdyshell. They are wonderful actors and you will have the time of your life. The last thing I want to say is I've been an actor for almost 42 years, which I cannot believe I am saying, all 35 of them were pretty bad and that's a lot of them and I just couldn't get anything going, so the last 8 have been great, but the thing that was always great wherever I was, whatever level I was on, were the amazing people I got to work with, almost all of them were hilarious and talented and full of passion and joy and they loved putting on plays and telling stories. They always have been and are still the best part of what I do and I am so grateful to all of you and I love sharing the planet with all of you. Thank you very much!"

Reed Birney. Photo Credit: Walter McBride

Jessica Lange, LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT - Best Leading Actress in a Play: "I can't tell you, really, this is a dream come true and it fills me with happiness, even on such a sad day as this. You know, it's a thrill and a joy to be in the theatre, and to be acknowledged by this community. I can't tell you how grateful I am. How moved I am. And of course, you know, the great thing about this community is that we do it all together, so I do have people I have to acknowledge who made this possible. First of all, my dear friend Ryan Murphy, who made this possible for us to do, and of course, Todd Haynes and the Roundabout, all the marvelous people there, an extraordinary stage crew who make this happen seven times a week, and our extraordinary director Jonathan Kent who just kept pushing us and pushing us and never let us rest back, but most of all, the four extraordinary actors that I take the stage with every day, Gabriel and Michael and John and Colby, they touch my heart so deeply and it is a joy and a thrill to be onstage with them every night, playing Miss Mary Tyrone. What could be greater? Thank you."

Jessica Lange. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Frank Langella, THE FATHER - Best Leading Actor in a Play: "When I first came to New York in 1960 from school, I consulted a astrologer, who told me my greatest successes would come late in my career. I thought she meant 30. The fact of the matter is there really is no late in an actor's career, there's just the journey, and there's just now. So it's rather ironic that I should be honored with this award for playing a man who's losing his now, who's losing his reality, as indeed my dear brother Andrew is at the moment. There are so many names I wrote down today to thank you, but I hope they will forgive me if I bring in a dose of true reality, what happened today in Orlando. I found some words that will mean more to you then a litany of names.

'When something bad happens, we have three choices: we let it define us, we let it destroy us, or we let it strengthen us.'

Today in Orlando, we had a hideous dose of reality. I urge you orlando to be strong, because I'm standing in a room full of the most generous human beings on Earth, and we will be with you every step of the way. Thank you."

Frank Langella. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Arthur Miller's A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE - Best Revival of a Play: Scott Rudin: "Thank you very much! I accept this on behalf of this enormous group behind me. I especially want to thank Rebecca Miller for giving us the stewardship of her father's remarkable play, Ivo van Hove who did it just, I think, absolutely remarkably, and David Lane and Young Vic who originated the production. We were the stewards of it, but honestly the real work was done by David and his team."

David Lane: Scott told me he wasn't going to do that. It's a great play, it's a great play about immigrants. Is it the greatest play about immigrants, it felt like exactly the right time to do this play. It has been thrilling for us to bring it back to the city, where it's a great song of the great people of New York. Thank you very much!"

Arthur Miller's A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE. Photo Credit: Jan Versweyveld

THE HUMANS - Best Play: "This is the number of people it takes to produce a new play on Broadway. Todd Haynes and his team at roundabout grew the play, commissioned the play, this belongs as much to them as it does to any of us. I love this play, I was very proud to have the chance to do it, my partner Barry Diller and I were very grateful to Steven and this extraordinary cast and all our partners But i would be remiss in taking this bc by rights i really belongs to Joe Mantello so i'm going to give this to him. Where is he?"

"THE HUMANS is a family play and I want to give a shoutout to my family who's here tonight, also Joe Mantello and Scott Rudin, thank you for guiding us here, Todd and my Roundabout family, PJ and my Chicago ATC family, Zitty, Berlin and all of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and to anyone struggling with day jobs out there, in order to make work it, comes from your heart and your gut, keep the faith, thank you."

THE HUMANS. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

THE COLOR PURPLE - Best Revival of a Musical: "Thank you so much. I have never been more inspired by a character than Celie in Alice Walker's timeless THE COLOR PURPLE. No matter what, yeah Celie, no matter what life's obstacles brought to her, this woman woke up every day marching forward and continued to love. Celie's spirit has been with me for the last twenty years as a beating heart beat working on this musical, and we're all so proud to be here today. John Doyle you've reimagined this production in the most astonishing way, and we are all deeply grateful for your vision. To Brenda and Allie and Marsha and Steven thank you for your beautiful music and your powerful words. To our extraordinary company and a cast that only a producer could dream of. An amazing cast. Thank you to the Menier Chocolate Factory. To Oprah. To Roy. Our amazing producers here tonight. To our company, Carole Sandy and our entire village that isTHE COLOR PURPLE family. Thank you. Remember, whatever life brings you, there are Celie's out there, you are beautiful and you are here."

THE COLOR PURPLE. Photo credit: Matthew Murphy

Leslie Odom, Jr., HAMILTON - Best Lead Actor in a Musical: "Thank you! Thank you so much. I want to thank the Broadway League. I want to thank the American Theatre Wing. I will cherish this. Lin-Manuel, God Bless you man. Really, you have given us a new vision of what's possible. I thank God for your mission, I thank God for the calling on your life. There's been a lot of talk, deserved talk tonight, about the Cabinet. About those four brilliant men who pushed us higher, who pushed us to greatness, deserved talk, but I want to talk for a second about my cabinet, which was this brilliant company of actors. I wish I knew which camera to look into, I know you are often in a room on the side, but I want to tell you something, you are extraordinary in every way, don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. You are limitless, boundless, I thank you for the fidelity of your friendship. I almost didn't make it here. I almost fell and everywhere I looked there was a Renée, there was a Phillipa, your lion, there was a Sasha, an Ephraim, an Oke, a Daveed, an Anthony, a Jasmine, a Jon Rua, I can't say all your names, but I thank you so much. I would not be here without you. I want to thank our producers, Jeffrey, Jill, Sandy, may it last and last and last you deserve it, this show deserves it. Oscar and Laurie and The Public Theater, thank you for your open arms. And lastly, lastly I want to say there were a lot of question marks on this role for me and this show for me at the start of it and what cleared it away was love. Was that I could hang this entire performance on love and Nicolette Robinson teaches me with grace and kindness the meaning of the world. Leslie Odom Sr. Yvette Odom and Elizabeth Odom taught me well as well. Thank you so much. Goodnight."

Cynthia Erivo, THE COLOR PURPLE - Best Lead Actress in a Musical: "I promised myself I wouldn't cry, because my makeup artist would be really mad at me. Look mommy, look! To Scott Sanders, to Roy Fibrin, to Oprah, thank you for this opportunity, i wouldn't be here if it weren't for you. To Alice Walker for writing this story that can last through time and time again, thank you, for John Doyle for holding my hand all the way through this, from London right to here, and for giving me the tools to tell a story that everyone needs to hear. To every single person in my cast, you are magnificent, thank you so much for lifting me up when i'm tired, for holding my hands when i'm happy, for kissing me on my forehead when you know i just need some love, Danielle, Jennifer Hudson, Heather Headley, Joaquina Kalukango, you are wonderful women, and i thank you very much for looking into my eyes every night on the stage, for making me a stronger woman on the stage, everyone in that theatre, thank you, and thank you American Theatre Wing for making a London girl very, very happy, thank you."

HAMILTON - Best Musical: "Thank you, thank you so much. Tommy, May, Josh, Michael, my home base. Alexander Hamilton was a dreamer. George Washington, Eliza Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, were dreamers. I stand on this stage tonight and in this theater surrounded by dreamers. Dreamers like Lin Manuel, who had a big idea and worked tirelessly over 6 years to bring it to life. Dreamers like Tommy and Andy and Alex and the extraordinary company of Hamilton who have showed up to our theater almost every single day for the last year and a half to share their vision of America. To the most supportive, appreciative and diverse audiences I've ever witnessed. Hamilton, an American musical, embodies the best values, the best impulses that make our nation a beacon to the world: inclusiveness, generosity, ingenuity, and the will to work hard to make our dreams come true. Look around, look around, how lucky we are to be alive right now, thank you."

HAMILTON, Best Musical!

Related Articles

More Hot Stories For You