Top 10 Tony Awards Opening Numbers

By Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Assistant Stage Editor
The 69th Annual Tony Awards are coming up this Sunday June 7th at 8/9c on CBS and will be hosted by Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming. Before the duo takes the stage with their opening number, Emertainment Monthly has decided to round up the Top 10 Tony Awards Opening Numbers.

10. 2014 Tony Awards Hosted by Hugh Jackman

Alright, Hugh Jackman has hosted the Tony Awards numerous times and it must be hard to come up with a snazzy song and catchy tune every time. At the 68th Annual Tony Awards, Jackman opted to skip the flashy opening number and he simply hopped through Radio City Music Hall. Starting outside on the red carpet with the cast of Violet, he quickly hopped through Radio City and ran into some of the biggest acts that year including Andy Karl from Rocky, some of the dancers from Aladdin and of course an awkward elevator ride with Neil Patrick Harris.

9. 1995 Tony Awards Hosted by Nathan Lane, Glenn Close and Gregory Hines

Nathan Lane, Glenn Close and Gregory Hines sure know how to make a crowd laugh. At the 49th Annual Tony Awards the trio’s comedic timing was put to the test. Nathan Lane can always make a crowd laugh and have a good time. His comedic timing is one for the ages and he has the incredible ability to turn anything into a joke. Glenn Close and Gregory Hines follow in his footsteps as they simply do a classic, comedic opening. Close, Hines and Lane have great comedic chemistry and this opening number didn’t need a flashy song and dance, it just needed these three talented actors!

8. 2000 Tony Awards Hosted by Rosie O’Donnell and Nathan Lane

This opening number features Rosie O’Donnell as she shows audiences what famous actors and actresses originated from Broadway before they got their big television breaks. This opening number entitled “Started Out on Stage,” at the 54th Annual Tony Awards uses some of the biggest names in Hollywood during the time to make a memorable number. Featuring stars like Jesse L. Martin, Megan Mullally and Jane Krakowski the number features the three actors singing songs from the Broadway musicals that gave them their big breaks. It’s a great celebration of actors who got their start on Broadway.

7. 2004 Tony Awards Hosted by Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman loves his share of flashy dance numbers. A natural born performer he loves warming up the crowd with a big, over the top dance and song. At the 58th Annual Tony Awards, Jackman sings the song “One Night Only.” He only has one night to tell people what happened on Broadway and he’s going to include everyone. It’s a celebration of Broadway and he uses his incredible choreographed dance moves to make a splash at this ceremony.

6. 2011 Tony Awards Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris loves bringing live theatre to the masses. With his Tony Awards openings, he lets audiences know that everyone can love Broadway and theatre. At the 65th Annual Tony Awards, Harris singing the hilarious song “It’s Not Just For Gays Anymore.” He talks about how all people can love Broadway and it’s not just for gays, jews and tourist groups anymore. This opening was hilarious and implored what Harris does best: comedy, singing, dancing and making jokes about audience members.

5. 1989 Tony Awards Hosted by Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury is a Broadway sweetheart. She’s made her mark in numerous classic Broadway productions and she has hosted the Tony Awards a record breaking five times. At the 43rd Annual Tony Awards she opted to do something very familiar but equally as stunning. She performed a beautiful rendition of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” from the classic musical Gypsy. She belts this wonderful number and further proves why she continues to be one of the greats.

4. 2012 Tony Awards Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris loves to make audiences laugh and when he combines that with a big opening number, he scores every time. At the 66th Annual Tony Awards, NPH opens the show by joining the Tony Award winning musical The Book of Mormon as they sing the classic number, “Hello!” He then launches into a wonderful number about “What If Like Were More Like Theater.” By using classic theatre tropes like scenery disappearing, a magical 7-second costume change, crazy dance routines and if Patti LuPone was your neighbor. This was a classic opening number that incorporated everything fans love about theater.

3. 1996 Tony Awards Hosted by Nathan Lane
For the 50th anniversary of the Tony Awards, Lane pulled out all the stops and opened the show with a huge, extravagant, medley of Broadway classics. He even had some help from some of Broadway’s biggest stars. Bernadette Peters and Liza Minnelli belt out “The Show Must Go On” as they are joined by hosts and hostesses that have all been previous Tony Award winners. Then of course Nathan lane and the cast of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum sing “A Comedy Tonight!” A great way to celebrate 50 years of Tony Awards.

2. 1998 Tony Awards Hosted by Rosie O’Donnell

Rosie O’Donnell sure knows how to give the people what they want. She opens the 52nd Annual Tony Awards with a musical number featuring some of the biggest actresses on Broadway. She wants to learn how to sing like a diva and who better to teach her than Patti LuPone, Jennifer Holliday and Betty Buckley. LuPone sings from Evita, Holliday belts Dreamgirls and Buckley takes us back to Cats and fans could not get enough. This opening number was simplistic but had all the right players!

1. 2013 Tony Awards Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris
No surprise here that the 67th Annual Tony Awards opening number is number one! Neil Patrick Harris returns as host for his fourth time and brings the Tony Awards back home to Radio City Music Hall. This is one of the biggest opening numbers in Tony Award history and Harris earned a standing ovation at the end. He sings, dances, performs magic and circus tricks as he performs with some of the biggest acts that year including Once, Pippin, Kinky Boots, A Christmas Story, Matilda, The Lion King and so many others. With music and lyrics by the incomparable Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tom Kitt, Harris shoots his way to the top as one of the greatest hosts of all time. It’s a celebration of all things Broadway and Neil Patrick Harris knocks the roof off of Radio City.

Be sure to tune into the 69th Annual Tony Awards this Sunday June 7th at 8/9c on CBS hosted by Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming

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