2021 Tonys Featured A ‘Wicked’ Reunion And Epic ‘Tina,’ ‘Moulin Rouge!’ Moments

Broadway fast-tracked its autumnal rebound at the 2021 Tony Awards Sunday, featuring performances from smash musicals of the past and present. 

The months leading up to the festivities were bittersweet at best. COVID-19 has kept all 41 of Broadway’s theaters shuttered for about 18 months, leading to an estimated loss of $35 million per week. Though established hits like “Wicked” and “Hamilton” have resumed performances in recent days, other productions have been postponed or scrapped altogether.  

There were a few eyebrow-raising moments on Sunday, too. Actor Lauren Patten nabbed a Tony for her performance in “Jagged Little Pill” amid a flurry of controversy involving both her character and the musical’s alleged treatment of transgender and nonbinary performers. And although Jeremy O. Harris’ “Slave Play” received a record 12 nominations for a non-musical production, both he and the show ended the night empty-handed. 

Of course, most who tuned in on Sunday came for the Broadway razzle-dazzle, and to that end, the Tonys didn’t disappoint. 

Check out 10 of the night’s most epic performances below. (This is, by no means, a comprehensive list: Jennifer Holiday’s powerhouse rendition of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” was worthy of its own entry.)  

  • “Broadway’s Back”
    Leslie Odom Jr., a 2016 Tony winner for “Hamilton,” opened the second half of Sunday’s festivities with a musical number that featured nods to “Wicked” and “The Lion King,” and a plea for Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • “American Utopia”
    Musician David Byrne, a founding member of the Talking Heads, received a special Tony for his acclaimed residency-style concert “American Utopia.” On Sunday, he delivered an imaginative performance of 1983’s “Burning Down The House” from the show.
  • “Moulin Rouge!”
    As far as musicals are concerned, the stage adaptation of “Moulin Rouge!” was the night’s big winner, nabbing 10 out of its 14 nominations. Stars Danny Burstein, Natalie Mendoza and Aaron Tveit made it easy to see why, with this high-octane medley of songs from the show.
  • “Jagged Little Pill”
    “Jagged Little Pill” weaves songs from Alanis Morissette’s seminal 1995 album into a 21st-century parable about mental health, sexuality, racism and addiction. Although the show has sparked controversy, the cast’s performances of “Ironic” and “All I Really Want” were nothing less than chilling.
  • “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical”
    Adrienne Warren delivered a star-making performance as Tina Turner in the acclaimed bio-musical “Tina,” and earned a Tony Award. On Sunday, she proved her mettle with a medley of three Turner hits: “We Don’t Need Another Hero,” “Simply The Best” and “Proud Mary.” 
  • Classic Duets
    The original stars of “Wicked,” “Rent” and “Ragtime” reunited to perform classic songs from their respective shows. It doesn’t get much better than Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, and Brian Stokes Mitchell and Audra McDonald.  
  • “Move On” From “Sunday In The Park With George”
    Ben Platt may not have won over moviegoers by reprising his role in the film version of “Dear Evan Hansen” this weekend, but after witnessing his performance of “Move On” with Ania Noni Rose, it’s safe to say he’ll always be a welcome presence on Broadway.
  • “It Takes Two” From “Into The Woods”
    It’s been a while since the classic musical “Into The Woods” has been revived on Broadway, but actors Tituss Burgess and Andrew Rannells gave viewers a sense of what a forward-thinking, inclusive production might look like with their tender version of “It Takes Two.” 
  • John Legend And “Ain’t Too Proud” Cast
    John Legend reminded viewers of his EGOT status when he joined the cast of “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations” to perform “My Girl” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” 
  • “You Matter To Me” From “Waitress”
    Actors Leslie Odom Jr. and wife Nicolette Robinson were nothing short of couple goals with their heartfelt rendition of “You Matter to Me” from “Waitress.” 

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