Tony Awards 2022 biggest moments: Billy Crystal sings Yiddish with Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Hudson EGOTs

Broadway’s biggest night returned with starry tributes, teary speeches and plenty of love to go around.

After a scaled-down show last year due to COVID-19, the Tony Awards came home to Radio City Music Hall Sunday with a joyous ceremony hosted by theater veteran-turned-Oscar winner Ariana DeBose 

Stephen Sondheim’s gender-swapped “Company” and Stefano Massini’s financial epic “The Lehman Trilogy” led the prizes with five Tonys apiece.

Meanwhile, Michael R. Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Strange Loop,” about a young Black gay playwright, picked up awards for best musical and best book.

Jennifer Hudson is a producer on “Loop” and achieved EGOT status with the show’s best musical trophy, having now won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.

Bernadette Peters brought viewers to tears with her moving performance honoring late composer Sondheim, singing his song “Children Will Listen” from “Into the Woods.” And the original Broadway cast of “Spring Awakening,” which includes Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff, nearly stole the show with their stirring rendition of “Touch Me” from the provocative hit musical.

A number of musicals delivered standout performances that are guaranteed to sell tickets: Joaquina Kalukango, a newly crowned Tony winner for best actress in a musical, blew the roof off Radio City with her ferociously emotional "Let It Burn" from "Paradise Square," which got an immediate standing ovation from the audience. "MJ" and "Girl from the North Country" also wowed with reworked takes on popular Michael Jackson and Bob Dylan songs, respectively. 

Crystal, too, made the most of his time onstage performing "A Little Joy" from his musical "Mr. Saturday Night," in which he plays a washed-up standup comedian named Buddy Young Jr.

At one point, Crystal called on the audience to jokingly scat-sing in Yiddish with him: walking over to Jackson and Lin-Manuel Miranda, both of whom gamely sang and laughed along. 

"If you liked me, I'm Buddy Young Jr." Crystal said at the end of the performance. "If you're not so sure, I'm Hugh Jackman!"

In between awards, DeBose wandered into the audience for some genuinely amusing banter with presenters and nominees: sitting on Andrew Garfield's lap while he hugged her, and doing the "Rich Man's Frug" dance from the 1969 musical "Sweet Charity" with Sam Rockwell.