Diamond

Will Swenson, Barry Manilow, Sara Bareilles and More Have ‘Sweet Caroline’ Singalong at the 2023 Tony Awards

Swenson stars as Neil Diamond in Broadway’s ‘A Beautiful Noise’

<p>Theo Wargo/Getty Images</p>

The 2023 Tony Awards had the greatest singalong in history!

On Sunday, Will Swenson took the stage at the annual awards ceremony to perform a rendition of “Sweet Caroline” from Neil Diamond’s musical A Beautiful Noise.

During his performance, Swenson, 50, rocked a sparkly black blazer and proclaimed: “Ladies and gentlemen, this might be the greatest ‘Sweet Caroline’ singalong in history!”

He continued by giving a shout-out to fellow stars, who also joined in on singing the popular song. “Look at this, Melissa Etheridge, Common, Barry Manilow, Samuel L. Jackson,” Swenson said.

Other celebs involved also included Jessica Chastain and Sara Bareilles, to name a few.

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<p>Theo Wargo/Getty Images</p>

Despite the exciting performance, A Beautiful Noise did not receive any nominations at the awards ceremony. The autobiographical musical, which debuted in December, details the life and career of Diamond, 82.

Before snagging the role of a lifetime, Swenson was a Diamond fan for as long as he could remember. He previously told PEOPLE that it felt unreal when a producer approached him about his “pretty good” Diamond impressions.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ve been waiting my whole life for them to do the Neil Diamond musical,’ ” Swenson said. “He said, ‘Well, you’re in luck because we’re developing something.’ I was like, ‘Sign me up. Sign me up.’ So I didn’t even have to audition. It was nice, although the whole thing felt like an audition because we were workshopping something to put in front of Neil Diamond, and if he didn’t like me, then I wasn’t going to be the guy.”

Related: 'A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical' Star Will Swenson on Befriending Singer: 'My Dad's Going Nuts'

<p>Theo Wargo/Getty Images</p>

While Swenson received positive feedback from the producer, he said performing in front of Diamond was nerve-racking.

“I think it’s literally the most surreal and simultaneously the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life,” Swenson recalled of his experience performing in front of Diamond for the first time. “It was just so weird pretending to be him in front of him, making his sound, singing his… It was so weird, and then just so nervous too, wanting to do well for him.”

Swenson revealed that he’s learned several lessons from working with Diamond. In 2018, the New York native was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and retired from touring shortly after.

Related: Neil Diamond Sells Entire Music Catalog, Including 110 Unreleased Songs, to Universal Music Group

“I think what I have learned from Neil is that it’s about the joy of performing and the process of doing it,” he said. “And if you go up there looking for an award or a certain review, you might be disappointed, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is every night in this theater, we have 1,100 people screaming at the end of the night, having had a really good night in the theater. That’s the lesson that I’m trying to learn, is that that is all the fulfillment that matters.”

A Beautiful Noise is currently playing at Broadway’s Broadhurst Theatre.

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