17 All-Time Great Tony Awards Performances, From ‘Dreamgirls’ to ‘Hamilton’ (Videos)

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A look back at the highest kicks (and notes) over the history of the Tony Awards telecast celebrating Broadway

“Grand Hotel” (1990)

Michael Jeter, perhaps best known from the sitcom “Evening Shade,” was a rubber-limbed sensation playing a tipsy bookkeeper in the number “Let’s Take a Glass Together.”


“Dreamgirls” (1992)

Jennifer Holliday’s rendition of “And I’m Telling You…” has been widely imitated, and this is the performance that is most often imitated. A-ma-zing.

“Rent” (1996)

Jonathan Larson’s rock opera version of “La Boheme” gained extra poignance with his unexpected death after the first Off Broadway preview. The show became a phenomenon, and launched the careers of Idina Menzel, Jesse L. Martin and Taye Diggs. Tony Awards

“Promises, Promises” (1979)

OK, the song “Turkey Lurkey” frankly doesn’t make any sense — and the whole office holiday party is kind of shoehorned into the plot. (The show’s “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” however, became a big hit for Dionne Warwick.) But Michael Bennett‘s choreography is head-bobbingly, arm-spinningly awesome.


“Sweeney Todd” (1979)

Angela Lansbury won the fourth of her five Tony’s playing the daffy Mrs. Lovett, the baker of “The Worst Pies in London,” in Stephen Sondheim‘s dark musical.

“Chicago” (1997 revival)

Bebe Neuwirth and Ann Reinking displayed all the athleticism of Bob Fosse’s original choreography in the hit revival of Kander & Ebb’s musical about the dawn of celebrity criminals (which led to the Oscar-winning 2002 movie). Tony Awards


‘Spring Awakening” (2007)

Duncan Sheik’s rock musical about rebellious teens shook up the staid world of Broadway with a just-mouthed rendition of “Totally F—ed” performed by very young Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff, John Gallagher Jr. and Skylar Astin. Tony Awards

Neil Patrick Harris‘ Tony Opening Number (2013)

It’s hard to fill a space as cavernous as Radio City Music Hall — but NPH did just that with a “bigger” number (written by “Hamilton” composer Lin-Manuel Miranda) that included high steps, high notes, leaps, magic, shout-outs to “How I Met Your Mother” fans and even Mike Tyson. Wow.