76th Tony Awards airs unscripted, includes multiple nonbinary winners

By Maaike Niekerk, Summer Editor

The 76th Tony Awards were held yesterday, celebrating the accomplishments of Broadway actors and performances for the 2022-23 musical season.

This year’s Tonys ran completely unscripted, due to the ongoing strike from the Writers Guild of America.

Though the Tony Awards Management Committee appealed twice for a strike waiver, the WGA denied both times.

A complete script for the Tony Awards had been written up before the strike began, but was ultimately not used.

The opening number of the ceremony consisted of a dance performance from host Ariana DeBose, with no singing or spoken word. A rap written by Lin-Manuel Miranda was scripted for the number, but not used due to the strike.

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Aside from the lack of script, the show carried on as usual, delivering awards to outstanding Broadway performers of the past year.

Hosted by DeBose for the second year in a row, the ceremony consisted of live performances from hit shows “Into the Woods,” “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “Kimberly Akimbo” and “Funny Girl.”

“Some Like It Hot” led the stage as the most nominated musical with 13 nominations, while “Ain’t No Mo’” and “Leopoldstadt” tied as the most nominated plays with six nominations each.

“Kimberly Akimbo” ended up taking home the award for Best Musical, while “Leopoldstadt” won Best Play.

With a total of five wins, Kimberly Akimbo was the most celebrated production of the night.

Other notable wins included “Parade” winning Best Revival of a Musical, while Best Revival of a Play went to “Topdog/Underdog.”

According to an article from Forbes, this year’s Tony Awards marked a historic milestone for nonbinary actors.

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Alex Newell and J. Harrison Ghee have officially become the first openly nonbinary performers to win Tony Awards for acting. 

Newell took home the award for Best Featured Actor in a musical for their role as Lulu in “Shucked,” while Ghee was awarded the Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical as Jerry/Daphne in “Some Like It Hot.”

Newell and Ghee both made the decision to compete in the best actor category, the Forbes article said. 

An article from the New York Times said that another nonbinary actor, Justin David Sullivan of the musical “& Juliet,” pulled out of the awards completely due to the gendered categories.

Sullivan urged the Tony Awards to strive for more inclusion in the future.

The Tonys will return with their 77th award ceremony in June 2024.

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