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Recap the 2020 Tony Awards Acceptance Speeches


Read all of the speeches from the 74th Annual Tony Awards

Recap the 2020 Tony Awards Acceptance Speeches

As part of BroadwayWorld's expansive coverage of the 74th Annual Tony Awards, we're bringing you the full text of all of the acceptance speeches; from the emotional to the humorous, and everything in between. Keep up with all of the winners' speeches with our list below.

Also make sure to stick with BroadwayWorld throughout the night, and into the morning, for all of the best videos, pictures, interviews, and commentary from theatre's biggest night!

David Alan Grier, A Soldier's Play

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

I've been acting over 40 years, I'm overwhelmed. I want to thank Douglas Tuner Ward from the Negro Ensemble Company. Doug came to see our play, and he was was very ill, he could barely speak, it was during a matinee show... this man's passion, his commitment, every word he uttered was teaching and science of theater. I'm so proud. I want to thank Todd Haines, the Roundabout theatre. Kenny Leon. I don't know if I was the first call or the last call brother, but I'm just glad you called!

Danny Burstein, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Thank you. I'd like to acknowledge the other gentlemen, the extremely talented gentlemen in my category, I share this with them. I want to thank everybody at the League and in the Wing and everyone who voted for me. Everybody at Moulin Rouge, everybody in that building is a genius, they truly are. I love them all more than I could say, onstage, backstage, front of the house, it's a great, great place to work. I'd like to thank my representation, everyone at BRS Gage. My family, my son Alex, is here tonight. My great friends who are so supportive, especially my buddy George. And I want to thank all of you. Because, whether you know it or not, my wife passed away in December of ALS and you all showed up for us. You were there for us. Whether you just sent a note, send your love, send your prayers, send bagels, it meant the world to us. It's something we'll never forget and I love being an actor on Broadway. Thank you.

Lois Smith, The Inheritance

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Oh thank you everybody! Thanks Michael! Thank you Matthew Lopez and Stephen Daldry and all the others who made this happen on Broadway, the Inheritance. The fantastic cast which I marveled at every night. I love the process of live theater. I first worked on the inheritance in a live workshop where Matthew Lopez was finishing a play about the AIDS plague, and it was partly based on Howard's End, which had been my favorite novel for as long as I can remember. E.M Forster gave us, there's a famous two word message from Howard's End, which I think is so apt tonight for all of us who are here celebrating the importance, the functions of live theater. Only connect.

Lauren Patten, Jagged Little Pill

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Thank you, this is an honor. It is such a joy to finally be able to celebrate all of these artists in this room after this long pause. It is also a strange time for awards. We are in the middle of a reckoning in our industry and first and foremost I want to thank my trans and non-binary friends and colleagues who have engaged with me in difficult conversations and dialogue about my character Jo. I believe that the future of the change we need to see on Broadway comes from these kinds of conversations that are full of honesty and empathy and respect for our shared community. I am so excited to see the action that comes from them and to see where that leads our future as theatre artists in this country. I want to thank the Jagged cast and crew, our incredible creative team, our producers, Alanis Morissette, you got us. And I want to thank my team for their endless support, thank you for being here tonight. And my entire family, my godparents, Jim and Carolyn, who are here, and my parents who are in the mezzanine and I am so grateful I have parents who believed in me from the very beginning and I would not be here without them. Thank you so much.

David Byrne's American Utopia

Special Tony Award

I want to thank the producers who saw the concert version of this show and realized that this maybe could be translated into something that could work on Broadway, which is a big risk, but proved to be a good risk. Thanks also to Rob over there, the lighting, and Alex Timbers, who helped us out. All the producers, thank you very much.

Freestyle Love Supreme

Special Tony Award

Anthony veneziale & Jenny Steingart

Jenny: Hello, on behalf of my partners, Tommy Kale, Jill Furman, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Jon Steingart, we want to say thank you to the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League for this incredible honor. We've been on this journey together for 18 years, and getting a Tony was not on the list of things to dream about when we started.

Anthony: Yes, and improv is a skill that is life changing. And it roots you in the present and it builds empathy, and now it's a viable road to the biggest stage in the world, like, this one! Years of equitable play has built this family. A co-lab that amplifies each other's voices, voices like Arthur the Genius', Aneesa Folds, Utkarsh, King Sherman, Cjack, Shockwave, Ashley, J-Soul, Tarik, Lin, Wayne, Jelly, Kaila, Daveed, Kurt, and Bill.

Jenny: Special thank yous to...

Anthony: John Buzzetti-arms are heavy.

Jenny: Luis Miranda.

Anthony: Andy Jones, James Hickey, the team at Baseline.

Jenny: Jeff Croiter.

Anthony: Lisa Zinni .

Jenny: Beowulf Boritt.

Anthony: Nevin Steinberg.

Jenny: Candi Adams.

Anthony: Everyone at FLS Academy.

Jenny: And Jason Eagan at Ars Nova. Everyone at Ars Nova. There will be a bigger thank you list for backstage when we have more time.

Anthony: Yes, and finally, to my co-creators, Tommy and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Thank you for a love that is truly supreme. We all need people who believe in us, who believe in the goodness we can do together. Thank you.

Derek McLane, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Wow, thank you. This means more than you could possibly ever know. My father taught me many things, he taught me the value of hard work, the value of patience, which we've all needed a lot of in the past year and a half. He taught me, most importantly, a love of adventure and travel and of foreign cultures, and so when Alex Timbers and Carmen Pavlovic called me about five years ago and described this adventure, this trip, Moulin Rouge, this crazy adventure and said, 'Would you like to join us?' Of course I had to say yes instantly. Starting with the inspiration of Catherine Martin's, incredible production design for the movie of Moulin Rouge, I began to assemble a team of incredible people, led by Ericka Heminger, literally hundreds of carpenters, scenic artists, props artisans, electricians, stage hands, all work together to make this show and i could not be more proud to be honored by all of you with this. Thank you very much.

Catherine Zuber, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Thank you so much to the Tony voters and nominators, I'm so happy to be here, it's a testament to the beauty of the film Moulin Rouge!, the wonderful creation of Baz Luhrman and Catherine Martin. And I have to give a big thanks to our amazing director, Alex Timbers who brings out the best in all of us, and to our amazing producing team of Bill Damaschke, Carmen Pavlovic and Aaron Lustbader. And to my fellow designers, Derek, Justin, Peter, David and Sarah. I also want to give a huge appreciation to our amazing cast who bring our costumes to life. I'd like to honor and say how much it was an honor to work with our creatives, Sonya, and Justin and John. I want to give a shout out to my amazing associate, A.C... and the amazing ateliers and costume shops and artisans that all went into making Moulin Rouge! The wonderful spectacular that it is. Thank you so much.

Justin Townsend, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Thank you to Alena, Dorthea and Alice, I'm grateful to share my life with you. You're my greatest gift. This award is impossible without you three. Thank you Carmen, Bill, and Erin for your passionate and brave leadership. When I first saw Moulin Rouge the movie, I thought, 'Wow, it could be like that!' Thank you Alex Timber for leading us on to make that same magic and wonder. Sonja, Derek, Kathy, Peter, I feel so lucky to create in your brilliance. The whole company, on and off stage. I'm in awe of your talents. Thank you Nick, Brad, Katie, Jeremy, and a career's worth of electricians who have stood at the top of a ladder. I'm here because of your huge efforts and your long hours. Thank you dad and Carole for your support and belief in me, but this is for my mother. Thank you for sharing your love of music, painting, and that Tommy record, when I discovered that music could tell a story. Thank you to my teachers but especially my children's teachers, especially Mr. O'Connor and Ms. Kathy, and all the teachers who strive, even in these times to keep our children vibrant and curious, our future artists. Thank you.

Britton Smith, Broadway Advocacy Coalition

Special Tony Award

This is an incredible honor. My god. Our team and our founders, whose vision it was to make an industry better that wasn't even built for us. We owe them a huge round of applause and thank you. I want to acknowledge that I'm only standing here because George Flloyd's murder and a global pandemic stopped all of us and brought us to our knees, and reminded us that beyond costumes and beyond glamour and beyond design was pain that we weren't yet seeing. And it created this beautiful opening that allowed us to say 'Enough.' To challenge, to speak up, for white people to listen and adjust, for black people to unite around rage, around anger, around hope, around redesigning this very room. My biggest worry is that when we come back to the machine, when Broadway comes back, that opening will close, and push out empathy, and push out challenge, but this award is evidence that moving forward requires calling out, it requires saying that it's not enough to have an all white team and one black person on your team, it requires challenge, it requires enough, it requires raising the standard, it requires using your power and influence. I've been thinking about power and influence and where it lives and where comes from, and it's in this room right here. And when this room moves beyond that's when we'll earn the phrase black lives matter. That's when we'll earn the phrase black lives matter. That's when we'll earn the phrase black lives matter. BAC, BAC, our founders, our leaders. Thank you for letting us vision with you, and push you and letting us redesign this room and our community.

Alex Timbers, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Direction of a Musical

Thank you so much. I'd like to extend my gratitude to the great Baz Lurhman for this incredible opportunity. The reason I love doing musical theatre is because it is such a highly collaborative medium, so I want to thank our amazing producers, Carmen, Bill and Erin, our wonderful design team, our fantastic cast, company of actors led by Aaron Tveit, Karen Olivo, Danny Burstein, Natalie Mendoza. And our gifted created team, John Logan, Sonya Tayeh, Justin Levine. I'd also like to extend my gratitude to my smart and hilarious agent, John Buzzetti. To my parents and family, who over the years were emotionally supportive as I tried to become a theater director. And to my partner of ten years, Rebecca, I love you so much. And lastly, I'd love to dedicate this to the composer, Michael Freidman. Those who were lucky enough to work with Michael, saw firsthand that passion is the essential carburetor of any artistic endeavor. I love you Michael. And thank you.

Diablo Cody, Jagged Little Pill

Best Book of a Musical

This is really cool, I was just holding my son's hand and he goes, 'Mom, why is your hand so cold and so wet?' and I said, 'Because I'm terrified, son!' I can't believe you guys get up here all the time, this is very scary and you like it! You can't get enough of it. First and foremost, I want to thank the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing and I want to acknowledge my fellow nominees because I'm honestly astonished to be in your company. I want to thank Alanis Morisette, I would not be here without you. You've been an incredible partner and I'm so inspired by you. I want to thank Diane Paulus, you're an absolute genius, you really are. I didn't think I would ever get to work with somebody like you, so thank you for that opportunity. I want to thank our incredible producing team, Eva Price, Vivette Tiwary, and Arvind David. You guys have been there for me every step of the way. I want to thank the creative team and I want to thank Tom Kitt, Larbi Cherkaoui. Our incredible cast and crew, this is overwhelming. Most of all, I want to thank my family, Marchelle, Rocco, and Nico. I love you so much. Thanks.

Katie Kresek, Charlie Rosen, Matt Stine and Justin Levine, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Orchestrations

Justin Levine: I have to thank Alex Timbers, thank you so much for taking me on this journey and so many others. Sonya, you're unreal. I want to thank Jon, I want to thank Bill, I want to thank Carmen, I want to thank so many people. Our incredible band, our incredible music department, our design team. I'll thank everybody else back there, I'll thank the two of you, your musicality, your improv skills, thank you.

Matt Stine: I just want to dedicate this to my family. My beautiful wife Liz, my daughter Mia, my seven year old son Dylan who came to Moulin Rouge! This week and afterwards said it was the greatest night of his life. It just meant so much to me. So, thank you, here's to many more great nights at the theatre ahead!

Katie Kresek: Thank you to Justin Levine for trusting me and Alex Timbers for trusting me, and Chloe, and Matt Stein and I really just want to take a moment to acknowledge all the musicians on Broadway and how they do this 8 shows a week, and they're not seen that much, but they are so incredible. Thank you so much for bringing all of our visions to life!

Charlie Rosen: I just want to thank first and foremost, my two parents who are up there, the originators of my musical, love and everything, this is for them. I want to thank Justin and Matt and Katie and Alex Timbers, some of these people are the first people that I ever became friends with when I first moved to New York in 2009 for Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, my god. Mostly anybody out there, friend, family, musician, anybody in between, who's ever shared with me, any piece of music or art, ever, I'm here because of you and I want to thank you all. Thank you.

Sonya Tayeh, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Choreography

Thank you so much. Dance is an art that survived the multiplicity, color, and layer, and community. As we study ourselves again, I hope we can remember what art collectively brings us. It welcomes. As a brown, queer, arab american woman, I wasn't always welcomed. It takes graceful hands to lead people like me to the door. Its been ten years since a woman has won this award. Though I'm honored to be part of this legacy, this legacy is too small. We need a vastness to break into new air for all people. I want to thank my incredibly inventive creative team, Alex and Justin. I love you so much. My incredibly inventive creative team has done so much for me and I love them. My selfless associate team. Team Dance, Katie, Mia, Carly, and Fred, I love you. To our producers and everyone who's been part of the very first moments in the studio. To Moulin Rouge! The Musical, past, present, and future. Thank you for your hard work and your profound excellence. And to the dreamers, please continue to truth seek, because who you are is real, and who you are is beautiful. Thank you so much.

Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance

Best Direction of a Play

Congratulations, my fellow nominees who are very brilliant. I'm only here because of the people I share a room with and they are Paul Arditti and Chris Reid on sound. Bob Crowley on design and Jon Clarke on lights, Olivia Clement and a whole host of people allow me to do the work that I actually do, held together by four extraordinary producers on this show Tom Kirdahy, Sonia Friedman, David Lan, Hunter Arnold, thank you. And we, in turn, were blessed with an extraordinary cast in London and an extraordinary cast here on Broadway and were blessed to have Matthew Lopez's play. What an extraordinary piece he wrote. And I would also like to take a moment to thank all those young men who were ghosts in our play representing the many tens of thousands of people who died in this city from another pandemic, shamefully still with us, AIDS. And on a very personal note, I want to thank my children. My daughter, Annabelle, is here and she goes to college on Tuesday, so I thank you. My boo is at home watching on television and thanks for many years of always being very supportive and understanding of me going away to do plays around the world and I thank him for that support and that encouragement over the years, its meant the world to me, so thank you. And there is no silver lining, goodness knows what you've had to put up with and what so many people have had to put up in schools across the world, through this pandemic and they're still putting up with it but to share this with you, what a treat, what a blessing, thank you so much.

Andrew Burnap, The Inheritance

Best Performance By an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

I just peed a little bit. Woah. Hey, this is cool but that was amazing. Jennifer Holiday, thank you. There's so many people I have to thank. One is my mom. This play was one of the greatest gifts of my life. Not only because I got to act for seven hours, because it gave me a new family. A family filled with wonderful and unique people. Kyle and Sam, wherever you are, this is yours as much as it is mine. Thank you. To Matthew, thank you for gifting the world this play. Steven and Justin, thank you for believing in me when I had no business being in that room. To our incredible producers, Tom, and Sonja, and Hunter, and David Lan who has given more to the theatre than I think we'll ever know. To the town of South Kingstown, Rhode Island, where I was born and raised by an incredible community of people. Thank you. To the University of Rhode Island Theatre Department. To the artists formerly known as Yale School of Drama. If you are out there and you're wondering if you want to go into the theatre or the arts, and you feel a little odd like I did and you don't know if your perspective of the world will ever be valued. Google the letter that Martha Graham wrote to Agness De Mille. Do not rob the world of your specialness, of your beauty. Because we need it now more than ever. Thank you to my parents, to my family, and to my mimi who has shown me that selflessness and unconditional love is a pillar of a welded night. This is for you. Thank you so much.

Mary-Louise Parker, The Sound Inside

Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

I'm still crying from Jennifer. Oh my god, thank you. I'm really, really honored to be mentioned alongside Joaquina and my friend Audra but you have enough of these Audra, you can't have this one. And my dear, beautiful Laura, I can't look over there because I love you so much. You've been such an incredible friend to me. I wanna thank my dog, Mrs. Roosevelt and you should get a dog if you don't have one because I was walking her in the rain and not at my most hopeful and I ran into the wonderful Mandy Greenfield and she said, 'I have a play for you!' And it turned out to be this astonishing work of genius by Adam Rapp. And then Will Hochman waltzed in with his perfection. And David Cromer showed up and turned it into something I never, ever could have dreamed possible because he is an actual genius. I'm so grateful to them and to Jeffrey Richards and to CAA and Untitled and to the crew and to the audiences and the designers and to the tremendous two, I mean, look! They're so attractive. My children. But really, seriously, the greatest joy of my life is being your mother. And speaking of, I am standing before you in a dress that is older than me, if you can imagine. And the reason why it is in such good shape is because my mother takes such good care of everything and everyone she loves and she's watching and she didn't have as many nice dresses and she deserved but thank you for this one, mom. I love you so much. I would say it's for you but it's really because of you. Thank you.

Aaron Tveit, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

First of all, thank you to the American Theatre Wing, and the Broadway League of Producers, all the nominees, all the nominators. First I need to say thank you and happy birthday to my manager of 16 years, Ellen Flack, to my parents, who hopefully will see this at home, and my brother John for always encouraging my dreams, Erica for your love and support and putting up with me. To my friends who have come to see me in any show I've done anywhere. The most wonderful group of agents, Peter, Joe, Andrea, Kevin, Scott Barry, Michael Auerbach, Chelsea... To our amazing creative team at Moulin Rouge! Alex, Sonya, John, Justin, Carmen, Bill, Erin. Our Producers and designers, you have all inspired me for four years, our entire company at Moulin Rouge!. Every brilliant artist that's been a part of the show the last four years, Baz for this story, everyone at the Hirschfeld, our amazing crew. My dresser, Scotty, a special shout out to Peter Hylinski, our sound mixer who somehow allows me to sing that score every night. Our band, our COVID team. I need to give a special thanks to special friends of mine, Bob Krakauer and Joan Lader, who kept me on stage. And a group of people who many years ago took a chance on me, Bernie Telsey, Jack O'Brien, Michael Grief, Jack Shaman, Scott Whitman, Tom Kitt and Brian Yorky, the late Terrence McNally, David Stone. We are so privileged to get to do this. To be on Broadway. To have a life in the theatre, let's continue to strive to tell the stories that represent the many and not the few, by the many and not the few, for the many and not the few, because what we do changes people's lives, it changes people's minds. It changes people's hearts. We can change the world with this, let's not forget that. This means more to me than I could ever say. Thank you very much.

Adrienne Warren, Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

Thank you so much. I want to thank Jennifer Holliday for giving me my first job to get me my Equity card, so she's amazing. Thank you to god. Glory and honor to god. I want to thank the Wing and the League, thank you for this. I want to thank my family in Virginia, I love you so much. I lost three family members while playing Tina. I dedicate this to my Uncle Charles, my Uncle Randall, my Granny, I love and miss you every day. My parents, everything that I am is because of you, I love you, and thank you for loving me. I want to thank Tina Turner for trusting me to bring her story home. Thank you to the producers of Tina, Tally, James, thank you so much. Phyllida Lloyd, thank you for trusting a new talent that you didn't know, and trusting me to do the work in the room. Thank you Katori Hall for being a queen. Nick, and Anthony, thank you so much. Thank you Liz Caplan for being my voice whisperer. Thank you Michael Olajide Jr., for getting me in shape for this show three times, and I'm not doing it again! I want to now thank my cast. I love you so much, you are some of the most incredible human beings I have ever met, each one of you is a star within your own right. Thank you for holding me in light and in prayer. And I wish you were in this room, and I really look forward to the day that the bodies and souls and spirits of souls that are involved in these shows that we are celebrating can be invited and join the celebration with us because those bodies, those souls, those spirits, they are what makes Broadway. And the second we started making this business and creating the business, and working through the business and honoring those bodies and those souls and those spirits, the more the art will be transformative, the more the art will change lives, the more the art will change this world, because the world has been screaming for us to change. I am so grateful for this. It means the world to me. Thank you so, so much. I am missing so many people but I thank my team, I love you, thank you for always believing in me. Have a good night, take care of one another.

A Soldier's Play

Best Revival of a Play

Todd Haimes: Thank you. My thanks go to Julia Levy, Sydney Beers, Steve Dow,, and the awesome staff of the Roundabout Theatre Company. Katie Patterson, Tom Tuft and our incredible board of directors and donors who stick with us through thick and thin and there was a lot of thin within the past 18 months and we're very, very grateful to them. But, honestly, as much as I'm grateful to accept this award, it really belongs to the brilliant director of a Soldier's Play standing right behind me, Kenny Leon.

Kenny Leon: Breonna Taylor. Breonna Taylor. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. George Floyd. We will never, ever forget you. We opened A Soldier's Play the same week that we lost Kobe Bryant and his beautiful daughter, Gigi. All lives are precious. All lives are precious. I'm a graduate of a historically black college, CAU in Atlanta, Georgia, and I want to say to all those students, present, past, and those yet to come. Yes you can. What I want to say to you and to all of those at home, and the people in the room: we can do better. Charles Fuller wrote this play. Wait a minute, no diss to Shakespeare. No diss to Ibsen. No diss to Chekhov, to Shaw. They're all at the table. But the table got to be bigger. So, we need the late, great Melvin Van Peebles sitting at the table. We need our young people to learn about all of our amazing writers because the land we're standing on tonight is Native American land. So we need to hear all of the stories. When we hear all of the stories, we are better. Thank you to the cast, this wonderful cast led by Blair Underwood, God bless you. Let's do better.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Musical

Bill Damaschke: Hello, chickens! We want to thank our creative team, led by the brilliant Alex Timbers and our entire company onstage and backstage at Moulin Rouge that bring their hearts, souls, passion, and talents to the show each and every night.

Carmen Pavlovic: It's such an honor and a thrill to have been able to bring fellow Aussies Baz Luhrman and Catherine Martins epic and beloved masterpiece to the stage. On behalf of Bill and Jerry and myself, it's such an honor to be here. We love our Moulin Rouge company, we love our show and we love talking about it. But on a historic moment, historic night such as this, it feels a little odd to me to be talking about one show that as best musical. I feel that every show of last season deserves to be thought of as the best musical. The shows that opened, the shows that closed, not to return, the shows that nearly opened, and, of course, the shows that paused and were fortunate enough to be reborn. Best musical is all of those shows. Best is what we have had to find in ourselves as we fought this unimaginable journey and carried out shows across a desert. Best is what we know we need to become as we reimagine the Broadway of the future. There are 400 people that work on Moulin Rouge! The Musical. That means there are 400 families and loved ones who have also carried us and are carrying our shows, that's heavy, over this whole period when we've been sad and uncertain and stressed. Two of those, are the two naughtiest children anyone could have, Ned and Millie, they make many days unbearable in my life but most days they're actually the thing I live for the most, along with my husband, old bastard Pete and to every other family of the Moulin Rouge, thank you. Good night.

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