Tony Awards Recap: Midler Goes Long, Colbert Gets Political, and Platt Wins Big

Nick Paschal
Supervising Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

While Kevin Spacey wasn’t one of the usual suspects to host The 71st Tony Awards, he did get some help from past awards show hosts like Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and Stephen Colbert. While Spacey’s opening number stayed away from political humor, Colbert made up for it later. While presenting the award for Best Revival of a Musical, Colbert said, “And Miss Saigon, which is the only pageant whose locker room our president hasn’t walked in on.”

Spacey did, eventually, get political. But he did it as the former president and almost first gentleman Bill Clinton. In his best Bill impression, Spacey said, “This season has been full of the drama of politics, and we’ve already had some surprising winners. I’m not even talking about the Tony Awards.”

The awards themselves were mostly dominated by Dear Evan Hansen, which won six awards on the night. The star of the musical Ben Platt, who you may recognize from the Pitch Perfect movies, took home the Best Leading Actor in a Musical award. Ben also took home the Most Adorable Acceptance Speech award as he held back tears and then thanked his parents, saying, “I want to thank my parents who are my heroes, Julie Platt and Mark Platt, the greatest people I’ve ever met. Everybody said that about their parents, but it is true … I will fight you. They are the best people in the entire world.”

While Ben’s speech was adorable, Bette Midler’s was really, really, really long. Midler won Best Leading Actress in a Musical for Hello, Dolly! and she refused to say goodbye. The music started playing, and the singing-acting legend just fought through it, at one point yelling, “Shut that crap up!” The music, eventually, stopped, but Midler just kept going for a total of more than four minutes.

To end the night, Spacey brought out the envelope for Best Musical, which went to Dear Evan Hansen. But he came out as his House of Cards character, President Frank Underwood, along with Robin Wright and Michael Kelly. After handing the envelope to Lin Manuel Miranda, Spacey turned to the camera and said, “Claire, let’s leave them and allow them to finish up their awards show. I want to get the hell out of here before Bette Midler thanks anyone else.”

Check out Kevin Spacey’s full opening number at the 71st Annual Tony Awards: 


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