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History was made at the Tony Awards tonight. Because of the ongoing WGA strike, the evening was presented without a script. But host Ariana DeBose was superb off the cuff, and also sang and danced tirelessly.
The musical Kimberly Akimbo was the big winner of the evening, taking home Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for Victoria Clark, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for Bonnie Milligan, Best Original Score by Jeanine Tesori and David Lindsay-Abaire, and Best Book by Lindsay-Abaire.
Leopoldstadt won prizes for Best Play, Best Director of a Play for Patrick Marber, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for Brandon Uranowitz and Best Costume Design of a Play. With his win for Leopoldstadt, Tom Stoppard became the most-awarded playwright in Tony history, with five awards to his name.
Some Like It Hot's J. Harrison Ghee and Shucked's Alex Newell became the first openly nonbinary actors to win Tony Awards, for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical and Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical respectively. Although neither made an overt plea to the Tony Awards to get rid of gendered acting categories, their wins make the case for it.
With 13 nods, Some Like It Hot was the most-nominated musical, but it only went home with four statuettes, for Ghee, as well as Best Orchestrations, Best Choreography and Best Costume Design of a Musical.
The remaining categories were spread around, including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Director of a Musical for Parade, Best Revival of a Play for Topdog/Underdog, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for Jodie Comer in Prima Facie, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for Sean Hayes in Good Night, Oscar and Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for Miriam Silverman in The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window.
The complete list of winners is below this list of our favorite moments:
Many acceptance speeches stressed union solidarity, but the theatre industry's lack of diversity and gender parity were called out, too. Beowulf Boritt, who won a Tony Award for his fantastic scenic design for New York, New York, mentioned the nonprofit he started, The 1/52 Project, which provides financial support to young designers from historically excluded groups, as well as the war on women's rights in this country.
We loved that theatre director/teacher Jason Zembuch, the winner of the Excellence in Theatre Education Award, spoke while signing and also talked about the importance of casting actors of all abilities.
Natasha Katz, who won her eighth (!!) Tony Award for her lighting design for Sweeney Todd, is also a TDF mentor for our education program the Wendy Wasserstein Project.
We got verklempt while Joel Grey sang the opening lines of "Willkommen."
The main event opened with a blank script, which was brilliant. And dancing throughout the glorious United Palace, not just on stage, ws a stroke of genius.
And Ariana DeBose was charming and quick-witted, wishing everyone a Happy Puerto Rican Day and explaining why there was no script and why WGA members deserve a fair deal.
Loved that Brandon Uranowitz gave props to Jordan E. Cooper and Ain't No Mo'. And his line to his parents, "I want to repay you for the sacrifices you made for me, but I work in the theatre and I can't do that," had us laugh-crying.
Bonnie Milligan on winning: "I don't know if my mom would have made a good face for others."
Michael Arden getting bleeped along with a standing O. Apparently, the captions spelled out what he said (but we aren't going to type it here...)!
So glad that the playwright, Suzan-Lori Parks, got to accept the Best Revival of a Play Tony for Topdog/Underdog.
Denée Benton had the political insult of the night.
We were happy to see critic and writer Michael Feingold and indie theatre pioneer Everett Quinton acknowledged in the in memoriam.
Tom Stoppard, after winning for Leopoldstadt, said, "Writers are the sharp end of the inverted pyramid." Love that analogy.
Nathan Lane didn't need a writer: He quipped that the United Palace looked like "Beyoncé's screening room."
WINNER Kimberly Akimbo
New York, New York
Some Like It Hot
WINNER Leopoldstadt by Tom Stoppard
Ain't No Mo' by Jordan E. Cooper
Between Riverside and Crazy by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Cost of Living by Martyna Majok
Fat Ham by James Ijames
Into the Woods
A Doll's House, adapted by Amy Herzog
The Piano Lesson
The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window
WINNER Victoria Clark in Kimberly Akimbo
Annaleigh Ashford in Sweeney Todd
Sara Bareilles in Into the Woods
Lorna Courtney in & Juliet
Micaela Diamond in Parade
WINNER J. Harrison Ghee in Some Like It Hot
Christian Borle in Some Like It Hot
Josh Groban in Sweeney Todd
Brian d'Arcy James in Into the Woods
Ben Platt in Parade
Colton Ryan in New York, New York
WINNER Jodie Comer in Prima Facie
Jessica Chastain in A Doll's House
Jessica Hecht in Summer, 1976
Audra McDonald in Ohio State Murders
WINNER Sean Hayes in Good Night, Oscar
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in Topdog/Underdog
Corey Hawkins in Topdog/Underdog
Stephen McKinley Henderson in Between Riverside and Crazy
Wendell Pierce in Death of a Salesman
WINNER Bonnie Milligan in Kimberly Akimbo
Julia Lester in Into the Woods
Ruthie Ann Miles in Sweeney Todd
NaTasha Yvette Williams in Some Like It Hot
Betsy Wolfe in & Juliet
WINNER Alex Newell in Shucked
Kevin Del Aguila in Some Like It Hot
Kevin Cahoon in Shucked
Justin Cooley in Kimberly Akimbo
Jordan Donica in Camelot
WINNER Miriam Silverman in The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window
Nikki Crawford in Fat Ham
Crystal Lucas-Perry in Ain't No Mo'
Katy Sullivan in Cost of Living
Kara Young in Cost of Living
WINNER Brandon Uranowitz in Leopoldstadt
Jordan E. Cooper in Ain't No Mo'
Samuel L. Jackson in The Piano Lesson
Arian Moayed in A Doll's House
David Zayas in Cost of Living
WINNER Kimberly Akimbo, music by Jeanine Tesori, lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire
Almost Famous, music by Tom Kitt, lyrics by Cameron Crowe & Tom Kitt
KPOP, music & lyrics by Helen Park & Max Vernon
Shucked, music and lyrics by Brandy Clark & Shane McAnally
Some Like It Hot, music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman & Marc Shaiman
WINNER Kimberly Akimbo by David Lindsay-Abaire
& Juliet by David West Read
New York, New York by David Thompson & Sharon Washington
Shucked by Robert Horn
Some Like It Hot by Matthew López & Amber Ruffin
WINNER Michael Arden for Parade
Lear deBessonet for Into the Woods
Casey Nicholaw for Some Like It Hot
Jack O'Brien for Shucked
Jessica Stone for Kimberly Akimbo
WINNER Patrick Marber for Leopoldstadt
Saheem Ali for Fat Ham
Jo Bonney for Cost of Living
Jamie Lloyd for A Doll's House
Stevie Walker-Webb for Ain't No Mo'
Max Webster for Life of Pi
WINNER Beowulf Boritt for New York, New York
Mimi Lien for Sweeney Todd
Michael Yeargan & 59 Productions for Camelot
Scott Pask for Shucked
Scott Pask for Some Like It Hot
WINNER Tim Hatley & Andrzej Goulding for Life of Pi
Miriam Buether for Prima Facie
Rachel Hauck for Good Night, Oscar
Richard Hudson for Leopoldstadt
Dane Laffrey & Lucy Mackinnon for A Christmas Carol
WINNER Gregg Barnes for Some Like It Hot
Susan Hilferty for Parade
Jennifer Moeller for Camelot
Clint Ramos & Sophia Choi for KPOP
Paloma Young for & Juliet
Donna Zakowska for New York, New York
WINNER Brigitte Reiffenstuel for Leopoldstadt
Tim Hatley, Nick Barnes & Finn Caldwell for Life of Pi
Dominique Fawn Hill for Fat Ham
Emilio Sosa for Ain't No Mo'
Emilio Sosa for Good Night, Oscar
WINNER Natasha Katz for Sweeney Todd
Ken Billington for New York, New York
Lap Chi Chu for Camelot
Heather Gilbert for Parade
Howard Hudson for & Juliet
Natasha Katz for Some Like It Hot
WINNER Tim Lutkin for Life of Pi
Neil Austin for Leopoldstadt
Natasha Chivers for Prima Facie
Jon Clark for A Doll's House
Bradley King for Fat Ham
Jen Schriever for Death of a Salesman
Ben Stanton for A Christmas Carol
WINNER Nevin Steinberg for Sweeney Todd
Kai Harada for New York, New York
John Shivers for Shucked
Scott Lehrer & Alex Neumann for Into the Woods
Gareth Owen for & Juliet
WINNER Carolyn Downing for Life of Pi
Jonathan Deans & Taylor Williams for Ain't No Mo'
Joshua D. Reid for A Christmas Carol
Ben & Max Ringham for A Doll's House
Ben & Max Ringham for Prima Facie
WINNER Casey Nicholaw for Some Like It Hot
Steven Hoggett for Sweeney Todd
Susan Stroman for New York, New York
Jennifer Weber for & Juliet
Jennifer Weber for KPOP
WINNER Charlie Rosen & Bryan Carter for Some Like It Hot
Bill Sherman and Dominic Fallacaro for & Juliet
John Clancy for Kimberly Akimbo
Jason Howland for Shucked
Daryl Waters & Sam Davis for New York, New York
Lisa Dawn Cave, production stage manager
Victoria Bailey, Executive Director of TDF
Robert Fried, theatrical accountant who also serves on TDF's Board of Trustees
Jerry Mitchell, two-time Tony Award-winning director-choreographer who is also the creator of Broadway Bares
Joel Grey, actor-director
John Kander, composer
Pasadena Playhouse in California
Kimberly Akimbo: 5
Some Like It Hot: 4
Life of Pi: 3
Sweeney Todd: 2
Good Night, Oscar: 1
New York, New York: 1
Prima Facie: 1
The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window: 1