Jay-Z joins Alicia Keys for surprise Tony Awards performance brining the crowd to its feet

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys sing their hit “Empire State of Mind” during the Tony Awards on June 16 (REUTERS)

Broadway fans - and music enthusiasts - got a surprise performance early in Sunday’s Tony Awards when Jay-Z joined Alicia Keys at the annual Theater celebration.

The two sang their 2009 hit “Empire State of Minds” bringing the New York City crowd to its feet.

The song is featured in Keys’ musical “Hell’s Kitchen,” which was nominated for Best Musical. Other nominees for best musical included “Illinoise,” “The Outsiders,” “Suffs” and “Water for Elephants.”

The “Hell’s Kitchen” cast started the number before being joined by Keys, who unveiled the surprise.

“I had to do something crazy! It’s my home town!’ Keys said.

tony awards, new york city, jay-z, jay-z joins alicia keys for surprise tony awards performance brining the crowd to its feet
Alicia Keys performs with the “Hell’s Kitchen” cast during the Tony Awards on June 16 (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Social media users appeared quite happy over Jay-Z making an appearance.

“Alicia Keys and Jay Z singing ‘Empire State of Mind’ at the Tonys at Lincoln Center is hands-down better than anything that’s happened at the Oscars in 10 years,” New York Times opinion culture editor Adam Sternbergh stated on X.

“Jay Z at the Tonys is wild. HK just sold a ton of tickets. That’s a win for them no matter what else happens,” user Maxwell Haddad stated.

The Jay-Z and Alica Keys duet was one of many musical productions that delighted Tony viewers during the program. Other performers included the cast of “The Who’s Tommy” - which featured original rock band member Pete Townshend on the guitar.

tony awards, new york city, jay-z, jay-z joins alicia keys for surprise tony awards performance brining the crowd to its feet
The Tony Awards were hosted by Ariana DeBose, who drew mixed reactions online (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

The Tony Awards were hosted by Ariana DeBose, who made her third appearance leading the program.

“Ariana DeBose has invented a new kind of awards show hosting that is so unfathomably earnest it almost feels like a magic show,” New York Magazine Senior Social Media Editor Zach Schiffman wrote on X.

While others were not as complementary of the host and her opening numbers that seemed to lack the energy of year’s past.

“Ariana DeBose said they put together the opening number in one week. It looked it. Shabby and uninspired,” X user Babette Roberts wrote.

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