1. “Television Sucks”
Neil Patrick Harris nailed his threepeat-in-a-row Tonys hosting gig in part due to this number. Harris urges Andrew Rannells, Megan Hilty, and Laura Benanti to lament their failed attempts to leave Broadway and become TV stars in this hysterical mash-up set to Broadway classics like West Side Story’s “America,” Company’s “Ladies Who Lunch,” and A Chorus Line’s “What I Did For Love.”
2. The Opening Number
As per Harris’ hosting tradition, the opening number was a medley that hit all of the talking points from this season, including child actors (“they’re the reason this whole season looks like Chuck E. Cheese”), shirtless men, drag queens, and the Les Miserables movie (“Can I have my Tom Hooper Les Mis close-up, please?”) in stellar tongue-in-cheek style. The only thing this was missing was a cameo from Cristin Milioti (CBS + Harris + Once, Milioti’s former Broadway home, was an obvious in).
3. The Closing Number
Four words: Audra McDonald drop mic. (And a jubilant recap rap written by Lin-Manuel Miranda.)
4. Matilda’s Magical Medley
My favorite musical of the season lost the official best musical award to Kinky Boots, but I’d like to think it won the hearts of viewers with a medley of “Quiet,” “Revolting Children,” and “When I Grow Up,” plus a taste of Bertie Carvel’s evil Miss Trunchbull.
5. Kinky Boots Gets Down to Basics
Easy to see why this show picked up the Best Musical trophy, plus an award for Cyndi Lauper’s infectious score.
6. Pippin Gets Physical
The Best Musical Rivival winner performed “Corner of the Sky” (sung by boyishly good-looking Matthew James Thomas) and “Magic to Do,” led by Best Leading Actress in a Musical winner Patina Miller and the rest of the smokin’-hot ensemble.
7. Bring It On: The Musical Comes Back with a Vengeance
Inspired by the movie franchise — not based on it — Bring It On: The Musical did a great job setting itself apart and showcasing its witty pop score with “It’s All Happening.”
8. Cinderella Goes to the Ball
A timeless score, breathtaking costume changes, and a fairy-tale ball: We got a taste of it all in these five minutes.
9. “True Colors”
Cyndi Lauper did a stripped-down version of her hit during the in memoriam segment that made the moment all the more powerful.
10. A Christmas Story in June
The musical based on the classic Christmas movie won rave reviews when it had a limited run last winter, and this charmingly bizarre performance is guaranteed to get people lined up to buy tickets for a rumored repeat run later this year.
11. The Masters of Motown: The Musical
This stage tribute to Berry Gordy’s hit-making factory performed a medley that was impossible to not enjoy, including The Temptations’ “Get Ready (Cause Here I Come)” to the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.”
12. Annie’s Got a Rough Life, but Has Fun on Stage
The orphans defiantly bemoaned their hard-knock life, and Jane Lynch groaned her life of “Little Girls.”
13. The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream Throw a Psychedelic Party
Giving the night another delightful burst of nostalgia, the Rascals performed “Good Lovin’” to a soundtrack montage of the season’s love fools.
14. Phantom of the Opera, Always and Forever
Here’s a crazy thought: Phantom has been on Broadway for 25 years. And it is still as creepily enjoyable as ever.