Check Out Highlights from the 75th Tony Awards Acceptance Speeches | Playbill

Tony Awards Check Out Highlights from the 75th Tony Awards Acceptance Speeches

From thanks and dedications to running jokes and commentary on art, here's what this year's winners had to say.

As always, the acceptance speeches from the 75th Annual Tony Awards took members of the theatre community through a range of emotions as this year's winners were recognized for their work in the 2021-2022 Broadway season. Honorees laughed and cried through acceptance speeches, thanking others for their support and using their moment to bring attention to what this award can signify for how we approach art and who gets to make it. 

From the "Chris Harper pays my salary" running joke to emotional praises for parents, the evening was filled with light-hearted and heartfelt moments from the winners.

Read on for some highlights from the acceptance speeches from this year's Tony Award winners:

Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics), SIX: The Musical
Marlow: “We also want to say thank you to everyone who's ever been a Queen, and special shout out to our student pals who originated the roles; we wouldn’t be here if it wasn't for you.”
Moss: “We wrote these songs because we wanted to give a funny voice to women and nonbinary people who are our friends, and it's just so exciting to recognize them.”

Gabriella Slade, Best Costume Design of a Musical, SIX: The Musical
“To Jon Paul Christensen and the makers in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia who continuously work so hard to create the costumes so beautifully. I have the best team and I could not done it without them so I would like to dedicate this award to them.”

Bunny Christie, Best Scenic Design of a Musical, Company
“To my creative collaborators, Liam, Neil, Ian, Joe, Chris Harper who pays my wages, and of course, Marianne Elliott. Marianne who always goes for the bravest idea, thank you so much.”

Jon Clark, Best Lighting Design of a Play, The Lehman Trilogy 
“We wouldn't be here if it wasn't the original lighting team at the National Theatre led by Laurie Clayton. I'd like to say hello to my family back home.”

Abby Mueller, Samantha Pauly, Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet, Brittney Mack, and Anna Uzele in <i>Six</i>
Abby Mueller, Samantha Pauly, Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet, Brittney Mack, and Anna Uzele in Six Joan Marcus

Natasha Katz, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, MJ
“This is really quite and honor and after these last couple of years of being in isolation, it is such a gift to be back watching Broadway shows and going to see theatre again. The love of the audiences has been overwhelming.”

Deirdre O’Connell, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, Dana H.
“I would love for this little prize to be a token for every person who is wondering ‘Should I be trying to make something that could work on Broadway or that could win me a Tony Award? Or should I be making the weird art that is haunting me? That frightens me, that I don't know how to make, that I don't know if anyone in the whole world will understand.’ Please let me standing here be a little sign to you from the universe to make the weird art.”

Mikhail Fiksel, Best Sound Design of a Play, Dana H.
“This is wild… much love to my better half, Vera, who despite my lifestyle has agreed to marry me. And, actually, we're getting married in a couple of weeks, so this is the best wedding gift ever!”

Gareth Owen, Best Sound Design of a Musical, MJ
“Finally, my mum and dad for, well, not pushing me too hard to get a proper job. Thank you.”

Deirdre O’Connell in <i>Dana H.</i>
Deirdre O’Connell in Dana H. Chad Batka

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play, Take Me Out
“25 years ago, I worked in the Theatre Circle Gift Shop…three doors down from the Hayes Theater where Take Me Out is playing. And I would sit in there, folding my Phantom of the Opera t-shirts, and watch actors walk by the windows on the way to their half-hour call, and I thought, ‘Oh God, I hope that's me some day.’ So, to stand in front of this community that I admire and love so much just means so much to me.”

Carol Rothman, Best Revival of a Play, Producer of Take Me Out
“It's taken great courage and commitment on the part of so many people to come back to the theatre, which is a place of joy and hope.”

Patti LuPone, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical, Company
“A huge gratitude to all of the understudies across all of the stages in New York and to all of the COVID safety people. Marianne, I will follow you for the rest of my life wherever you lead. Chris Harper who pays my salary, you are my one and last producer except for David Stone.”

Sam Mendes, Best Direction of a Play, The Lehman Trilogy
“But especially I want to dedicate this to three extraordinary actors, they're all honored here today. So, by definition, they all can't be up here. But I've worked with all of them, Adrian, Adam, and Simon, for over 25 years, and it is my great honor and delight that they just keep getting better and better.”

Marianne Elliott, Best Direction of a Musical, Company
“Wow. Thank you, first and foremost, to Stephen Sondheim for trusting me to tell his story in a different way, and putting a woman front and center. He and I shared a belief that theatre should be for the now, that it should speak directly to today's audience.”

Patti Lupone and Katrina Lenk Matthew Murphy

Phylicia Rashad, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play, Skeleton Crew
“Mommy, I hope you're watching. You were here with me the last time, and even though you're out west, I feel like you're here with me now. It's wonderful to be a part of this community. It's wonderful to present humanity in its fullness and to feel it received.”

Matt Doyle, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, Company
“To Etai Benson, my wonderful Paul, and my real life Paul, Max Clayton, I love you. I don't know what I would do without you. You really do leave love notes all over the place. I cannot believe what you put up with...I'm the next bride!”

Joaquina Kalukango, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, Paradise Square
“This is ours. Look at what we have created. We gave ourselves a voice; those are the lyrics that Masi and Nathan gave. Thank you, Christina Anderson, for centering Nelly's voice in the story. I give thanks to all of the nameless ancestors who have suffered. This song, this show gives power to that. I honor them every day and thank you to my son. You are the biggest blessing in the world. I love you with every fiber of my being. Mommy loves you.”

Montana Levi Blanco, Best Costume Design of a Play, The Skin of Our Teeth
“I dedicate this to my mother and grandmother, two Mexican American single mothers. They are the reason I am here.”

Joaquina Kalukango in Paradise Square Julieta Cervantes

Chris Harper, Best Revival of a Musical, Producer of Company
“Patti, it's an honor to be the person who pays your salary every night!… Company is a show about the people who give life meaning. So, I would like to dedicate this award to my children, Martha and Barnaby, because they are my reason for being alive.”

Rufus Morris and Ben Power, Best Play, Producer & Author of The Lehman Trilogy
“This play was written as a hymn to the city of New York. But like the Lehman Brothers themselves, our show began thousands of miles away. So, to find ourselves on this stage, on this night, part of this community, alongside fellow nominees of such breathtaking talent, honestly feels like a miracle.”

Simon Russell Beale, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play, The Lehman Trilogy
“Adam, Adrian, I feel a little sheepish, I just want to say. We all did exactly the same amount of work in this play. I take this, accepted on your behalf. It's your award, too; I just have the luck to take it home. That also applies to our wonderful understudies, and the whole team. There are too many people to name.”

Adam Godley, Simon Russell Beale, and Adrian Lester in <i>The Lehman Trilogy</i>
Adam Godley, Simon Russell Beale, and Adrian Lester in The Lehman Trilogy Julieta Cervantes

Simon Hale, Best Orchestrations, Girl from the North Country
“Thank you to Jeff and Bob Dylan for allowing us to reinvent his songs for the purpose of Girl From the North Country. And in the words of Bob Dylan, ‘All I can do is be me, whoever that is.’ Thank you very much.”

Christopher Wheeldon, Best Choreography, MJ
Myles Frost, you were destined to be a star… Finally, I'd like to pay special tribute to the swings and understudies who have kept us on Broadway this season.”

Myles Frost, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, MJ
“Mom, I made it… Mom, I love you so, so much. Without you, there would be no me. You have taught me, and showed me what a strong Black woman is, and what it is to raise a strong Black man, and I just pray that I made you proud. And I want to say this to all the little Black kids out there who may not have a good relationship with their father, you can do it, first of all. And second of all, Dad, I love you, because we support each other, and we are Black men, and we are strong Black men at that.”

Myles Frost and company of MJ Matthew Murphy

Michael R. Jackson, Best Book of a Musical, A Strange Loop
“I started writing this musical when I was 23 years old. I'm 41 years old; I'm old as hell. I wrote it from an old lady's house in the middle of Jamaica, Queens. I wrote it at a time when I didn't know what I was going to do with my life. I didn't know how to move forward. I felt unseen. I felt unheard. I felt misunderstood. And I just wanted to create a little bit of a life raft for myself as a Black, gay man to try to just get through the day…Y'all know I'm all about quality in high art. We talk a lot about representation, and I'm all about representation, but let's make sure that we are staying on our grind in our art, and that we are doing the very best work we can do. Jane Wyman once said, "There's nothing that can replace quality. Never settle for anything less than the best you can do. Never Settle. Just do your best." And that's my message to everybody in this room. Every artist out there.”

Barbara Whitman, Best Musical, Producer of A Strange Loop
“Michael, you shared your words, your music, your soul, and none of us will ever be the same. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I want to thank my kids, Daniel, Hannah, and Will for their support. And I have to give a special shoutout to my grandson, Zachary. My dream is Zach will grow up in a world where stories like A Strange Loop are told on stages everywhere, all of the time.”

Jason Veasey, James Jackson, Jr., Jaquel Spivey, L Morgan Lee, and Antwayn Hopper in A Strange Loop Marc J. Franklin
 
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