There was no moment at Sunday’s Tony Awards quite like the speech of Lin-Manuel Miranda accepting the award for Best Original Score. It came at a unique point in the evening, a time when the final tally for Broadway’s new Tony-winning hit musical was quite uncertain. In fact, given the conditions before that moment, it looked possible that “Passing Strange” was going to prove to be the spoiler many suspected it would be on Tony night. Stew’s “Passing Strange” was an underdog at the Tony Awards, but an underdog with bite. Fans for “Passing Strange” had a strange passion, and critics expressed the opinion that in a ground-breaking Broadway season, “Passing Strange” was the true pioneer.
Earlier in the evening, the award for Best Book of a musical was awarded, before the CBS cameras were rolling. The award went to Stew for “Passing Strange.” One can only wonder what must’ve been going through the mind of Lin-Manuel Miranda. Like Stew, Miranda had also broken new territory on Broadway, and now there was the possibility that his show could suffer at the hands of Stew’s “Passing Strange.”
When it came time to announce Best Score, the outcome was uncertain. Then the envelope was opened, and the winner was announced. Lin-Manuel Miranda and “In The Heights” were about to ride the Tony Train to Broadway history. The emotion of the moment was rich, and Miranda spoke like a man who wasn’t certain that he’d get up to the podium again, as well as being an artist who prepared for the opportunity knowing that at some point he may take the Tony Award stage.
The speech that followed was pure poetry, like the moment that preceded it, like the musical’s journey itself. With a hip-hop flair that was characteristic of the production, Miranda, his voice quivering with genuine emotion delivered one of the most memorable speeches in Tony Award history. The full text is below, courtesy of TonyAwards.com. That moment marked a turning point in the ceremony that would end with Miranda hoisted on the shoulders of his creative team in celebration of a remarkable achievement on Broadway. “In The Heights” had achieved more than most shows ever do, and in a season with strong competition. It was a moment for all of Broadway to savor. Here is Miranda’s speech.
‹‹ I used to dream about this moment, now I’m in it.
Tell the conductor to hold the baton a minute.
I’ll start with Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman
Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller, and Jill Furman
Quiara, for keepin’ the pages turnin’
Tommy Kail for keepin’ the engine burnin’,
For being so discernin,
For every all nighter.
Doctor Herbert for telling me, “You’re a writer.”
I have to thank Andy Blank for every spank.
Matter of fact, thank John Buzzetti for every drink.
Thank the cast and crew for havin’ each other’s backs, son.
I don’t know about God, but I believe in Chris Jackson.
I don’t know what else I’ve got.
I’m off the dome.
I know I wrote a little show about home.
Mr. Sondheim, look.
I made a hat where there never was a hat.
It’s a Latin hat at that!
Mom, Dad and ‘Cita, I want to play.
Ya’ll came to every play.
Thanks for being here today.
Vanessa, who still leaves me breathless,
Thanks for loving me when I was broke and making breakfast.
And with that, I want to thank all my Latino people.
This is for Abuela Risa and Puerto Rico.
Thank you. ››