Bruce Springsteen gave a rather minimal but still heartfelt acceptance speech in accepting his Special Tony Award, for “Springsteen on Broadway.”
“This is deeply appreciated, and thanks for making me feel so welcome on your block,” he said. “Being a part of the Broadway community has been a great thrill, and an honor for me. It’s been one of the most exciting things that I’ve ever experienced.
“I’ve got to thank Patti Scialfa, my beautiful wife and artistic partner, for her love and inspiration every night. I’ve got to thank Jon Landau, George Travis, Barbara Carr and Jordan Roth for great work at getting our show onstage, and last but not least, our wonderful audiences, who’ve made these shows so exciting and fulfilling. Evan, Jess and Sam, daddy loves you.”
In presenting the award, Billy Joel said: “I am honored to be back at the Tonys, to present a Special Award to a fellow musician and an old friend whose intimate show is ‘Springsteen on Broadway.’ It’s all about the man and his music, not to mention the heartfelt stories behind 40 years of incredible songs. This extraordinary event began as an eight-week limited run, but by the time it wraps up in December, will have played 236 performances. The Boss is workin’ hard!
“So, for bringing hundreds of thousands of new theater-goers to Broadway, it’s my pleasure to present a Special Tony Award to my good friend, Bruce Springsteen.”
Later in the event, Springsteen returned to the stage to perform a shortened version of “My Hometown,” preceded by a mesmerizing monologue in which he talked about growing up in Freehold.
Robert De Niro introduced this segment of the show. After directing a couple of obscenities at President Trump — and getting a standing ovation— he spoke briefly about Springsteen, saying, for instance, that it’s easier to get tickets for “Hamilton” than for “Springsteen on Broadway,” and that Springsteen’s voice is needed more than ever, “in these perilous times.”
“Congratulations for your Tony for ‘Springsteen on Broadway,’ or, as I like to call it, ‘Jersey Boy,’ ” De Niro concluded.
According to Tony rules, the Special Tony honors “a live theatrical event that … does not fit into any other category of Tony Award to be awarded for the current season.”
Here is the video of Springsteen’s performance: