3. Lena Hall — 16% Lena. Effing. Hall. The artist formerly known as Celina Carvajal, aka that badass rocker chick from Legally Blonde: The Search for Elle Woods on MTV. Look at her now! The first-time nominee took home a trophy for her portrayal of Yitzhak opposite Tony winner Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. “Without all of you, there would be no me,” Hall said, thanking every friend, colleague, family member, fan and acquaintance who helped shape her journey to a Tony-winning actress. We’re pretty sure Hall also took home the honor of thanking the youngest person included in a speech: her niece, due in October. 1. Audra McDonald — 39% The Broadway superstar took home her sixth Tony Award for her performance as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, becoming the first person to win all four performance categories and breaking the record for the most Tony wins by a performer. McDonald (and husband Will Swenson) were in tears before her first words were said. And that’s about when the waterworks started for us, too. Her emotional speech, having the distinction of being delivered in front of the proscenium, was full of gratitude, and included the courageous women who helped pave the way: “I am standing on Lena Horne’s shoulders. I am standing on Maya Angelou’s shoulders. I am standing on Diahann Carroll and Ruby Dee and most of all, Billie Holiday.” Audra McDonald Star Files Lena Hall View Comments Jessie Mueller The 2014 Tony Awards brought us tons of exciting performances and of course, plenty of heartfelt acceptance speeches. From James Monroe Iglehart’s exuberant exclamations to a Mark Rylance speech we were able to follow, Sunday’s winners had us all glued to the broadcast as they picked up their gongs. After the curtain came down, we asked you which speech was the highlight of your Tony night. From a history-making six-time winner, to a first-time recipient to a nominee newbie, here are the results! 2. Jessie Mueller — 17% Mueller took home her first Tony for her dynamic portrayal of Carole King in Beautiful. Mueller was (on the outside) collected, poised, funny and heartfelt as she expressed her gratitude, but we lost it when she got to King in her speech and they cut to the songwriter looking as proud as ever. “You teach me so much every night,” Mueller said. “I get to up on stage and try to go through what you went through and come out of it with kindness, and love, and forgiveness and a pure heart.” She wrapped up with the phrase of the night: “I’m sorry, everyone wants a drink, so thank you. Goodnight.” We’ll drink to that, Jessie. Congratulations!
The Vermont Agency of Transportation today announced that two accelerated bridge replacement projects on Route 12A in the Town of Roxbury have been completed and the roadway is now open to all traffic. ‘These are the final two bridge closures resulting from Tropical Storm Irene,’ noted VTrans’ Secretary Brian Searles. ‘We are very close to reaching our Irene Response mission of opening all our damaged roads by the end of the year.’ The final closed road under construction, Route 107 in Stockbridge, remains on track for opening at the end of next week. Luck Brothers of Plattsburg, New York, was the contractor for the replacement of bridges 15 and 22 on Route 12A, both of which cross the third branch of the White River. The total closure on October 17, allowed the bridges to be completely replaced in just under 10 weeks. Unlike the temporary bridge replacements in other areas of Irene-affected roads, bridges 15 and 22 were permanent fixes to damaged bridges. ‘In responding to these bridge failures we were able to deploy innovative techniques and rapid bridge deployment to complete permanent bridge replacements in record time,’ noted Rich Tetreault, VTrans’ chief engineer. The agency also completed work this week on two culverts in the Refrigerator Flats area of Route 107. The 1.1 mile segment between its intersection with Route 100 in Stockbridge and the Post Office in Gaysville has reopened to local traffic only. Replacing the two culverts in Stockbridge is among the final tasks necessary before Route 107 can be reopened in its entirety. Irene struck on August 28, 2011 and severely damaged more than 500 miles of state highway, including some 200 state bridges. Today, only seven miles of Route 107 between Stockbridge and Bethel remain closed to public travel. Questions regarding storm-damaged roads and bridges related to Tropical Storm Irene can be answered by calling VTrans’ Irene Storm Center at 1-800-Vermont. People can also visit VTrans’ website at www.aot.state.vt.us(link is external) where they can follow the agency’s progress on both Facebook and Twitter. VTrans 12.21.2011