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20 Stars' Most Memorable Moments

Jeremy Jordan, Linda Lavin, Norm Lewis, Cynthia Nixon and more luminaries share their highlights of the season.

By New York City
Tracie Bennett
(© Tristan Fuge)
Tracie Bennett
(© Tristan Fuge)
At the 78th Annual Drama League Awards ceremony, held on Friday, May 18, at the Marriott Marquis Times Square, TheaterMania was able to ask over two dozen of the theater world's top actors, writers, and producers to share their most memorable moments of the past year -- onstage and off. Here's what some of them told us!

Annaleigh Ashford
I would say mooing at the audience on the opening night of Rent at New World Stages. I can't wait to be able to moo an audience again -- just not today.

Jon Robin Baitz
When I was dragged on stage on the opening night of Other Desert Cities on Broadway by Joe Mantello, that was pretty wonderful, especially because I felt like we, as a company, had done the whole thing the right way!

Tracie Bennett
The whole adventure of doing End of the Rainbow in the United States, from the plane coming over here, going to Minnesota in the freezing cold, bonding with my fantastic cast, then coming and meeting all the great people at the Belasco Theatre, and then completely living the dream of working on Broadway and living on 42nd Street. I cry nearly every day.

Christian Borle
You know, getting nominated for a Tony Award for Peter and the Starcatcher is still one of the most amazing feelings. It's not the first time it's happened to me, but that kind of luster never goes away. It really has been an amazing year getting to work on both Peter and Smash, even when I was doing them at the same time. I psychologically decided that these were both such awesome and amazing things that it would be a disservice to everybody else in this community if I ever complained about what was happening to me. So I decided that I would just move straight forward and move ahead and somehow I was able to do it, with flying colors, I guess.

Michael Cristofer
Obviously having a drink thrown into my face three times by Anjelica Huston on Smash is pretty much a high point, or three high points, of anyone's career. We had a great time doing it, and I hope I get more of those next season. I think I deserve them. But I think my character, Jerry, is gonna get her back. Don't you think so - or am I the only one?

Santino Fontana
There's a lot. I loved being in The Importance of Being Earnest. I loved being in Sons of the Prophet. The first movie I was ever in premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this year. And I met my girlfriend last year on my birthday, March 21, singing at Birdland -- and that's been going strong ever since!

Jeremy Jordan
(© Tristan Fuge)
Jeremy Jordan
(© Tristan Fuge)
Jeremy Jordan
I think it was probably the opening night of Bonnie and Clyde on Broadway, because it was the first time I ever starred in a new musical. It was wonderful to finally reach that point in my career.

Andrew Keenan-Bolger
I would have to say our first preview of Newsies at the Nederlander. We had such an incredible night with the invited dress rehearsal, and we had this incredible energy that night, but you can never be certain that's going to be the same reaction you get from a paying audience.

Celia Keenan-Bolger
I think it was the day that Newsies and Peter and the Starcatcher were announced to go to Broadway. In the exact same day, I realized my brother Andrew and I are going to be on Broadway in the same season. That was probably one of the best moments of my life so far.

Linda Lavin
That's an impossible question for me, but I will say the experience of being in The Lyons on a daily basis and to hear the audience explode into laughter when my husband says to me "I'm dying" and I say "I know dear, try to be positive," and to hear the audience understand that moment is an ultimate moment for me. And that's due to Nicky Silver's great writing!


Norm Lewis
(© Tristan Fuge)
Norm Lewis
(© Tristan Fuge)
Jessie Mueller
I shouldn't admit to this, but one night during On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, I completely broke on stage and just started laughing. Fortunately, I wasn't really the focus of the scene. It all had to do with a long on-stage freeze between Harry Connick, Jr. and I. It was completely my fault. But suddenly you're staring at someone's forehead for a full 30 seconds and you realize how ridiculous it is.

Norm Lewis
When I got up the morning of the Tony Award nominations and to hear my name called for Best Actor and to hear all the different awards that we'd been nominated for at The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, that was the cherry on top of what's been a great, roller-coaster ride of a year.

Cynthia Nixon
I would say it was when my son Max said his first word. Which was balloon. I mean, he didn't really say "balloon," he said "baboooon," but it was clear he was pointing out balloon, and that was just incredibly charming and exciting that he was starting that new chapter in his life.

Leslie Odom Jr.
It was quick, but with Leap of Faith, I had my first Broadway opening and closing night, and everybody should have one of each. There's nothing like a Broadway opening night. The audience is all friends and family there to give you love -- and it's remarkably the same on closing night. I started the year with doing a George Lucas movie, and then I've done Smash and House of Lies, and I also got engaged, and so it's not been too shabby a year!

Kelli O'Hara
At the second preview of Nice Work If You Can Get It, Judy Kaye opened her mouth for the burp sound and the cat sound coming out instead. And all of the people on stage, and everyone in the audience, broke down for about two minutes. For a solid two minutes, no one could go on. It was hysterical. And of course, she said "Cat got your tongue!" and the place just fell out. That's the kind of thing that happens at the beginning of runs that you never forget.

Da'Vine Joy Randolph
One night recently, I was going down the steps to go to my dressing room after Ghost had come down, and our PR lady was like "you need to get yourself together, Beyonce is here." And I was like "Okay, great." And I kept walking. And she was like "Da'Vine, she's here." And I literally was like "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?", I was so surreal. Can you imagine, they were like "just open the door, she's right there." So we open the door, and, it's like The Price is Right. Behind door one is Beyonce. She was so sweet. She loved it.

Jordan Roth
I think the very first night we had an audience at the Walter Kerr for Clybourne Park. To finally get the show there and to experience it for the first time in a full house and to feel the energy and hear the rolling laughter and feel how everybody was experiencing it differently, but yet collectively, it was a theater experience I will never forget.

Jeremy Shamos
To be on the stage at the Walter Kerr for the first time with the same cast that had worked on Clybourne Park for over two years, and to finally be on that set on Broadway, was really special.

Mary Testa
The first time I went out for a curtain call for Queen of the Mist and the entire audience stood up was amazing. I've been part of standing ovations before, but nobody's actually stood just for me. So that will stick in my memory forever.

Blair Underwood
The first thing to come to mind is one night onstage at A Streetcar Named Desire, the door didn't open on stage and we all had to improvise and figure it out. So I ended up climbing through the window. Then I took my shirt off and I tied it around this doorknob just trying to get it open. Being kept on your feet in live theater is why I love doing it!


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