Tony Awards biggest moments: Angelina Jolie wins first Tony, Brooke Shields rocks Crocs


NEW YORK – Angelina Jolie is now a Tony Award winner.

The actress picked up her first Tony as a producer of “The Outsiders,” which took home Broadway’s biggest prize for best musical. The gritty new show, adapted from S.E. Hinton’s 1967 coming-of-age novel, scooped up four awards including best direction (Danya Taymor), lighting and sound design. Jolie walked the red carpet with her 15-year-old daughter, Vivienne, who is credited as a producer assistant on the box-office phenomenon.

“Society changes, but the experience of being an outsider is universal,” Jolie said during Sunday’s telecast, which also included performances from best play winner “Stereophonic” and best musical revival “Merrily We Roll Along.” The Who’s Pete Townshend joined the cast of “Tommy” for a rousing rendition of “Pinball Wizard,” while on social media, Eddie Redmayne drew comparisons to “The Ring” for his nightmarish “Cabaret” number.

The ceremony, which aired live from Lincoln Center, featured delightful presenters such as Idina Menzel and Cynthia Erivo, who proclaimed “green girl power” as past and future stars of “Wicked.” Jonathan Groff (“Merrily We Roll Along”), Kara Young (“Purlie Victorious”) and Maleah Joi Moon (“Hell’s Kitchen”) gave the most overwhelmingly emotional speeches of the night, all with teary and heartfelt tributes to their parents. And “Hell’s Kitchen” veteran Kecia Lewis was both hilarious and inspiring as she read acceptance remarks from her smartphone. (“People, stop texting me, Jesus!”)

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Here are more of the biggest moments from Sunday's Tony Awards:

Daniel Radcliffe wins first Tony Award, thanks longtime girlfriend and son

Daniel Radcliffe won a Tony Award for best featured actor in a musical for "Merrily We Roll Along."
Daniel Radcliffe won a Tony Award for best featured actor in a musical for "Merrily We Roll Along."

After five Broadway shows over 16 years, Daniel Radcliffe finally earned his first Tony nomination and win for “Merrily We Roll Along,” a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s infamous flop musical. In his acceptance speech, the “Harry Potter” actor sweetly thanked his crying co-stars Lindsay Mendez and Jonathan Groff. “I don’t really have to act in this show,” Radcliffe said. “I just have to look at you and feel everything that I want to feel. I will never have it this good again.”

Radcliffe also honored his partner, Erin Darke, who gave birth to their first child early last year. “You and our son are the best thing that has ever happened to me,” Radcliffe said through tears. Backstage, he spoke about how it felt to get his first Tony on Father’s Day: “It’s lovely,” Radcliffe told reporters. “I honestly haven’t spent a ton of time with my son today, so I’m excited to see him tomorrow.”

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Hillary Clinton makes surprise appearance, gets a standing ovation

Hillary Clinton was on hand to introduce the cast of suffragist musical "Suffs."
Hillary Clinton was on hand to introduce the cast of suffragist musical "Suffs."

Hillary Clinton, a producer of the new historical musical “Suffs,” received a thunderous standing ovation as she introduced a performance of "Keep Marching" from the show.

“I have stood on a lot of stages, but this is really special,” Clinton said, wearing a flowing white-and-gold gown (colors of the women's suffrage movement). “I know a little bit about how hard it is to make change, so I’m extremely proud of this original American musical by Shaina Taub, now a two-time Tony winner (for best original score and book)." Clinton went on to stress the show's relevance in our fraught political climate, adding, “It’s an election year and we need to be reminded how important it is to vote."

'Succession' star Jeremy Strong jokes about his intense Tony-winning role

Jeremy Strong accepted the Tony for best leading actor in a play for "An Enemy of the People."
Jeremy Strong accepted the Tony for best leading actor in a play for "An Enemy of the People."

Emmy winner Jeremy Strong is now halfway to an EGOT with his win for best leading actor in a play for “An Enemy of the People.” The “Succession” actor choked up as he thanked his wife, Emma Wall, and their “three beautiful children.” Strong also charmingly paid tribute to theater ushers and front-of-house staff, who “see me walking in every day looking like I’ve just been run over by a truck and see me walking out even worse,” he quipped.

In “Enemy,” Strong plays a freethinking doctor whose community turns on him – at one point, violently dousing him with giant buckets of ice. He jokingly thanked director Sam Gold for “being everything an actor could hope for, and for bringing new meaning to the term ‘ice bucket challenge.’”

Alicia Keys brings out Jay-Z for stirring 'Empire State of Mind' performance

After a perplexing opening number by host Ariana DeBose, the ceremony got a much-needed jolt thanks to the cast of Alicia Keys’ musical “Hell’s Kitchen,” who belted out an electrifying medley of her songs. The performance kicked into high gear when Keys took the stage, playing piano as she launched into her 2009 hit “Empire State of Mind.”

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“Are we at the Tony Awards tonight?” Keys declared as she walked into the crowd. “I had to do something crazy, it’s my hometown!” The camera then cut to rapper Jay-Z, who joined Keys midsong as the whole audience leaped to its feet. It’s the kind of joyous performance that’s primed to sell a million tickets, made even better by the cutaways to A-listers such as Sarah Paulson and Jennifer Hudson dancing in their seats.

Brooke Shields makes a splash with comfortable Crocs on the red carpet

Brooke Shields rocked clogs on the Tonys red carpet.
Brooke Shields rocked clogs on the Tonys red carpet.

Brooke Shields turned heads at the Tonys wearing a canary yellow dress, which she accessorized with matching Crocs shoes. The actress explained her affordable choice of footwear to People magazine, saying, “I got my Crocs! I couldn’t do this in heels!” She elaborated in an Instagram post over the weekend, noting that she was recovering from “double foot toe surgery.” The former model was on hand at the ceremony to introduce Nicole Scherzinger, who gorgeously sang “What I Did For Love” from “A Chorus Line” for the in-memoriam segment.

Sarah Paulson decompresses after her Broadway play with 'Real Housewives'

"Carol" star Sarah Paulson won her first Tony for best leading actress in a play for "Appropriate," a scorching melodrama about a family wrestling with their patriarch's racist past. Backstage, Paulson was asked about how she winds down after playing such a grueling role eight shows a week.

"I would lie to you and say, 'Oh, I meditate,'" Paulson said. "But I watch the 'Housewives,' I watch that 'Dancing with the Devil' TikTok show on Netflix. I'm trying to find ways to put air into my brain because there's a lot to hold with this play; it's emotionally and physically hard. But the truth is, I'm tired a lot. We've been doing this play since November," and recently crossed 200 performances. "I'm doing what I love, so I'm not complaining, but I'm tired!"

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tony Awards 2024: Alicia Keys brings out Jay-Z, Daniel Radcliffe wins