Flashback to the Best Performances and Show Moments In Tony Awards History

We’re rounding up just a handful of our favorite memorable moments from past Tonys ceremonies.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 12: Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of 'Hamilton' perform onstage during the 70th Annual Tony Awards at The Beacon Theatre on June 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

The annual Tony Awards are a celebration of greatness on Broadway, and you know they are not commemorated without a little (or okay, a ton) of the glitter and glam that make New York City stage performances one-of-a-kind. To celebrate this year’s show — which all goes down live on Sunday, June 10 — we’re rounding up just a sampling some of the top musical performances and standout show moments from recent memory. We expect this year’s show to deliver just as many powerful milestones.

2008: Lin-Manuel Miranda Wins His First Tony

Before the hype of Hamilton, there was Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s just as hypeable In The Heights. The Broadway legend picked up his first-ever Tony at the 2008 awards, taking home the title of Best Score. As if to prove just how incredible he is, he freestyle rapped his speech flawlessly. We were (and frankly, a whole decade later we still are) shook.

2016: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Love Is Love Is Love Sonnet

Excuse me for posting two LMM moments in a row here, but you see, I’m working on some very important juxtaposition. And I don’t think you’ll mind. Because when Lin-Manuel Miranda picked up his second Best Score award for Hamilton in 2016, he started off by cracking a joke that he was now too old to freestyle. Instead, he said, he wrote us all a sonnet. But don’t think the playfulness continued, because he hit everyone straight in the gut with a powerful line about overcoming the senseless tragedies in the world… and delivered the now-famous “Love is love is love is love…” line.

If you aren’t already crying, watch his cast react to this speech from backstage.

1996: The Cast of “RENT” Performs

If you have any breath left from watching the videos above — and you’d like for it all to be promptly taken away — let the original RENT cast’s Tony Awards performance of a medley of now-iconic hits do the trick.

2013: Neil Patrick Harris Opens the Biggest Tonys Ever

Is there even a Tonys without Neil Patrick Harris being involved with the show? The star has hosted the awards four times so far, but his most recent time in 2013 is the most legendary moment yet. His show-opening song and dance number combined everything that is magical about Broadway, and packed the stage with oodles of the year’s top nominees and show performers while at it. There’s even a Mike Tyson cameo. Brilliant.

2016: James Corden Joins Practically Every Broadway Musical Ever

Now, there have been many great Tonys show hosts over its history, but we’ve got to shout out James Corden for fabulously inserting himself into the biggest musicals of all time for his dreamy show opening. You can tell that he is passionate about live theater, which is fitting since he made his name on the stage.

2012: Audra McDonald Finds Her Home in the Theater

In her tearful Best Featured Actress in a Musical win for Porgy and BessAudra McDonald talked all about her childhood dreams and how finding her place in the theater changed her life. She ended with an emotional message for her own daughter, and we were just weeping.

2017: The “Dear Evan Hansen” Cast Performs

Why has Dear Evan Hansen struck a chord with so many viewers? Ben Platt and the ensemble’s powerful performance of “Waving Through a Window” at the 2017 Tonys should give you a great sense of why tickets are still always sold out.

2011: Andrew Rannells Performs “I Believe” from “The Book of Mormon”

The Book of Mormon wasn’t a breakout smash hit for nothing! Andrew Rannells‘ Tonys performance of “I Believe” gave viewers who couldn’t snag those sold-out tickets a chance to see the glory of the show.

Stay tuned for more incredible moments at the 2018 Tony Awards, airing live on CBS on June 10 at 8 PM ET/PT.

Written by Kristine Hope Kowalski

Kristine is a writer and celebrity entertainment news journalist with a specific obsession with Nickelodeon + Disney Channel shows, boy bands, K-Pop, Broadway, and international series dramas. If she's not writing or tucked away in a good book, she is most likely traveling the world and spamming her friends' Instagram feeds with photos from her adventures. Kristine has a BA in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University (2011), and an MA in Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Thought from NYU (2013). She is currently pursuing her second Master's in Journalism at Harvard.