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Ten Years Of Tony: A Look Back on Opening Numbers Past

Walk down Tony memory lane with us!

The Tony Awards opening numbers have become an iconic and integral part of Broadway's biggest night. From medleys to original songs, the opening number is a way to celebrate the shows that will be honored throughout the night.

Today, we're taking a walk down Tony memory lane with a look back on the past ten years of Tony opening numbers!

2009 - Medley

The opening number in 2009 was a medley from some of the season's shows, including Billy Elliot, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Rock of Ages, Pal Joey, Next to Normal, Shrek the Musical, 9 to 5, Liza's at the Palace, and Hair.

2010 - Medley

The 2010 Tony Awards took the medley approach again, this time including Million Dollar Quartet, American Idiot, Fela!, Promises, Promises, and Come Fly Away. The number also included a special appearance from Green Day.

2011 - "Not Just For Gays Anymore"

Written by David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger

In 2011, the Tony Awards presented an original opening number, performed by Neil Patrick Harris, in his second turn as host. The song featured chorus members from the season's shows, plus vocal cameos by Stephen Colbert, Brooke Shields, and Bobby Cannavale.

2012 - "What If Life Were More Like Theatre?"

Written by David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger

Following the first opening number, a bit from The Book of Mormon, featuring the show's original cast, Neil Patrick Harris took the stage. He sang this original number, and was joined onstage by Elizabeth De Rosa from Mary Poppins, Patti LuPone, forthcoming Annie star Lilla Crawford, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Amanda Seyfried.

2013 - "Bigger"

Written by Tom Kitt and Lin-Manuel Miranda

Perhaps one of the most iconic Tony opening numbers in recent years, Neil Patrick Harris sang "Bigger," giving theatre kids all over the world chills. The performance featured cast members from Annie, A Christmas Story, Bring It On: The Musical, Chicago, Jersey Boys, Kinky Boots, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Matilda The Musical, Motown The Musical, Once, Pippin, Newsies, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella, and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

2014 - "Take Me to Broadway"

Ah, yes. The infamous "hopping Hugh Jackman" moment that had Broadway fans wondering...why? Turns out, the hopping was a tribute to the film Small Town Girl. Jackman hopped from the red carpet through the backstage area at Radio City Music Hall, to the Tony stage, where he interacted with cast members from the season's shows. Featured shows included Violet, Bullets Over Broadway, Rocky, Aladdin, Cabaret, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, After Midnight, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical and Les Misérables. There were even cameos from Neil Patrick Harris, Sting, Clint Eastwood, and more!

2015 - Song-O-Logue

In 2015, the opening number was simplified, and just included hosts Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming on stage together. The pair performed a song-o-logue, celebrating the shows and nominees of the evening.

2016 - "That Could Be Me/This Could Be You"

Written by James Corden and Gary Barlow

Host Corden told the story of "Young James" who was inspired by the theatre as a child. The number was choreographed by Rob Ashford, and celebrated classic Broadway shows including Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, Grease, Sweeney Todd, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Sound of Music and more. Corden was joined onstage by the 2016 musical acting nominees.

2018 - "This One's For You"

Hosts Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban sang an anthem celebrating those who would leave empty-handed on Tony night. The pair were joined onstage by ensemble members from each of the 2018 nominated musicals.



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From This Author Stephanie Wild

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