Tony Awards 2017

Tony Awards 2017: Frank Underwood vs. Bette Midler, Rachel Bloom's Hat Trick(s) and 17 Other Big Moments

When it comes to televised award shows, you’d be hard-pressed to find one more inherently dramatic than the Tonys — and Sunday’s 71st annual ceremony did not disappoint.

Hosted by 1991 Tony Award winner Kevin Spacey, this year’s show was a three-hour+ barrage of tributes, performances, impersonations — and a surprising number of people in groundhog costumes (up at least 200 percent from last year’s groundhog-free ceremony).

To that end, TVLine has compiled a gallery of best (all things Ben Platt!), the worst (not enough Bette Midler!) and the weirdest (Rachel Bloom’s mysterious multiplying hats!) moments from this year’s big event.

Browse our gallery of must-see Tonys moments — you can click here for direct access — then drop a comment with your thoughts below: What was your favorite moment?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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28 Comments
  1. Sheila says:

    Wasn’t a very interesting show this year. No love for plays, not showing James Earl Jones speak but forcing us to sit thru the Rockettes, strange choices of numbers (were those really the best songs for Miss Saigon and Hello Dolly?). Can’t they start an hour earlier and let us see the technical awards? Was a Johnny Carson impression really necessary?

    • Jennifer says:

      I am with you. I would have rather have seen “The Heat is On” from Miss Saigon, or some kind of medley, with Jon Jon Briones singing, rather than introducing. His “American Dream” is phenomenal.

      My biggest issue with the show was cutting the Lifetime Achievement Award. Really? You DON’T show James Earl Jones receiving it? Come on Tony’s. I would much rather have seen THAT speech than Midler’s or the Rockettes.

      BUT … THANK YOU for not being overly political. There is enough of that in the world today.

      • LEP says:

        “BUT … THANK YOU for not being overly political. There is enough of that in the world today.”

        Agree! I fondly remember the days when you could just watch TV to be entertained, or come to a website about entertainment to learn things about said entertainment and ESCAPE the world for a bit.

      • A fan of TV says:

        Not showing the James Earl Jones segment was some BS, I agree.

    • KLS says:

      Broadway play ticket sales were much lower this year than normal. I am guessing that they are way too serious and people need to be uplifted these days. Maybe that’s why the focus was on the musicals during the show.

  2. ninergrl6 says:

    Loved the show. Kevin Spacey was great. Rachel Bloom represented fangirls and boys everywhere. THRILLED for all of the Dear Evan Hansen wins. “Waving Through a Window” should absolutely be on mainstream radio. Equally thrilled that a performance from Bandstand was featured despite (unjustly) not being nominated for best musical. Not only is the choreography incredible and well-deserving of its win, but the story is remarkably powerful. I can’t stop thinking about it and recommend it 150%

    • ninergrl6 says:

      One other thing… I haven’t seen all of the shows yet but I have seen several & I absolutely do not approve of the Groundhog Day song choice. It gave away WAY too much. Should’ve done something from Act 1. And while I LOVED the Bandstand performance & think it was the right song choice to give everyone a taste of the show, it didn’t capture the emotion behind the story at all. It’s POWERFUL and, frankly, traumatic.

      • S. says:

        Everybody knows the ending, it’s not a spoiler. The movie’s beloved. Also Andy Karl can’t go doing a ton of choreography unnecessarily. He’s still dealing with that ACL. “Seeing You” wouldn’t have been my choice either, but it is what it is. I wish they did “One Day” (from about 5 min to the end since it’s a long song, maybe with an intro so you get the idea of her part early on so it’s almost a 1 song medley if that makes sense).

        • ninergrl6 says:

          I saw the show on Wednesday & talked with Andy Karl about his injury at the stage door. He said he’s fine & the brace is just a precaution during the show. He was incredible on stage & physically could’ve performed any number they wanted him to.

    • S. says:

      Hated Spacey by the end of it. How’s Frank Underwood a ‘Best’? I was even rooting for him going into the evening because I love his support of theater, but it was a hot mess tonight. I felt he was too self-indulgent and walked all over Best Musical. This is the Tonys, not the Kevin Spacey Show. That’s Dear Evan Hansen’s moment. Instead the announcement gets rushed.

  3. Julia says:

    So glad they didn’t get overly political. Pretty shocked that they didn’t, but thank you for not going there as much as I thought you would. Made the show more enjoyable!

    • Ann says:

      Exactly. They had the right amount. The political stuff they did have were in good fun. No preachy speeches. Colbert’s political comedy rant felt out of place. Perhaps he thought it was the Oscars and thought everyone would be poking fun at the president? Anyhow, this is how an awards show should be done and this is how winning speeches should be made.

  4. Honor says:

    …um so I was the only one who felt like Bette Midler was awful? She went way over her time, which others deserved more than her anyways and everything was about her. She kept trying to squeeze into frames to the point someone dragged her back by her arm. She even hit David Hyde Pierce head when they announced him. He seemed extremely annoyed by her.

    And she was the one who refused to preform.
    The performance felt awkward but my guess it was last minute and not many songs you can do without her.
    Guess they should of done “It Takes A Women”

    • S. says:

      You’re in the minority. No Bette wasn’t the one who refused to perform. Where’d you hear that? The producers wanted to do the big number by remote from their theater. When Tonys producers said no because they don’t want to start a precedent (and it was lame to pull that anyway), they finally got them to do David Hyde Pierce at least and one that takes little staging is one they dragged out of them. I can’t imagine it had anything to do with what made good tv. The “Hello, Dolly!” producers are to blame, not Bette. Bette would’ve performed it elsewhere tonight–or on the telecast at Radio City if producers declared she should–and apparently crushes. It’s nothing to do with her. As for the attention grabbing, everybody wanted to hear Bette Midler’s speech. It was an expected coronation and if we weren’t getting her as Dolly, this is what we had to look forward to. It *is* all about her. You don’t play that off. Celebrate the diva and bow down. DHP doesn’t exactly seem that perky anyway so it may’ve just been his face. I didn’t even notice.

      • Honor says:

        You are right, I was mistaken, I will give you that. I fell for the rumor mill before the Tony’s show. (They still could of done some number with less dancing to accommodate being on another stage, but that’s a whole other issue)

        I guess I believed it because she has such a horrible reputation. I’m sorry, no one, no matter how much of a Diva needs a four minute speech where never thanked the ensemble (she even admitted to that one). I mean four minutes? Can you imagine if everyone did that? I don’t even think I know that many people to thank! ;)
        I don’t know, but most of the people watching it where I was left the room they were uncomfortable with it.
        And I’m sorry, she just wasn’t that special of a Dolly. Now that aspect I will accept as minority but her diva status? No way. No excuse.

        • Honor says:

          Also just learned (I tuned out for part of it) that I guess her speech included her tough beginnings, don’t mean to discount that, don’t want you made at me for that. Glad she grew stronger from it, but still with my point above.

    • A fan of TV says:

      Nope, I thought Bette’s sense of self-importance was obvious and overblown. Blech. Going over and trying to talk fast is charming; assuming no one’s time is more, or as, valuable as your own is just not. Being the persistently ignored performer who finally gets their due can also come off charming, but not the person basking in self-glory because they just got their official (no ‘honourary’ awards) EGOT membership card.

  5. Imagecrafters says:

    Best part was Ben Platt. Other wise it was ok.

  6. Kaongs says:

    I had the pleasure of seeing Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! and it was a shame she didn’t perform tonight. A complete shame because she is just terrific and the show is great fun. She would have brought down the house if she performed the title number from the show and surely would have instantly sold even MORE tickets to the show.

    And BOO for not inviting Glenn Close to perform in what will most likely be her final performance in Sunset Boulevard on Broadway. She is just brilliant in the show and inviting her to perform would have been a noble recognition of an outstanding performance.

  7. mmh1019 says:

    I wanted to love Kevin Spacey, I really did, but James Corden last year was just so good :( . Best parts were Ben Platt, and a super musical theatre nerdy moment of seeing Sutton Foster give a Tony to Gavin Creel. Thoroughly Modern Millie was the first album I ever owned, so seeing Millie & Jimmy back together gave me all the feels.

  8. Kathy says:

    This years Tonts were much better than they have been in several years. I thought Kevin Spacey did an admiral job and it was relaxing to listen to a political free or (virtually free) show. So much more relaxing and enjoyable than last year when it had to mute about half the show due to those annoying political speeches. This years show was relaxing and entertaining.

  9. TvPeong says:

    Disappointed that the didn’t show James Earl Jones get the Lifetime Achievement award.

  10. Billy Bob Johnson says:

    How do you give a Lifetime Achievement Award to someone as talented and dedicated to the theater as James Earl Jones IN THE PRE-SHOW AWARDS?!?!? What an INSULT to a fine stage actor. Shame on you Broadway League and the American Theater Wing. Oh, and another “thanks” for putting the In Memoriam on speed.

  11. KLS says:

    The Tonys are always the best awads show. The season is so short and the stars usually leave for the Summer, if they come back at all. I wish they were held earlier in the year so that it would be easier to see some of the nominated performances.

  12. A fan of TV says:

    DEH was significantly over-rewarded, IMO. Great Comet deserved the directing award given to CFA as a consolation prize, for one thing, when CFA should have won book (and in my opinion musical, as well, but I digress. DEH’s book was practically noon-not by comparison to both Great Comet and Come From Away, let alone Groundhog Day). To me, the biggest low point is that we had to watch them treat that show like the second coming of Hamilton, paired with the disrespect shown their lifetime achievement award recipient, James Earl Jones, by not televising it. That second low point is less wrapped in my personal bias. It’s practically unfathomable.