76th Tony Awards
A skyline of New York city on a sunset.
Promotional poster
DateJune 11, 2023
VenueUnited Palace
Hosted byAriana DeBose
Skylar Astin and Julianne Hough (preshow)
Most awardsKimberly Akimbo (5)
Most nominationsSome Like It Hot (13)
Websitetonyawards.com
Television/radio coverage
NetworkCBS
Pluto TV
Viewership4.3 million
Produced byRicky Kirshner
Glenn Weiss
Directed byGlenn Weiss
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The 76th Tony Awards recognized the achievements in Broadway productions during the 2022–23 season. The ceremony, which ran unscripted due to the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike, was held at the United Palace in New York City on June 11, 2023. Ariana DeBose served as the host for the second year in a row, with Skylar Astin and Julianne Hough co-hosting a streamed pre-show on Pluto TV.

The most-awarded production of this season was new musical Kimberly Akimbo, which won five awards, including Best Musical. Leopoldstadt was the most-awarded play, winning four awards, including Best Play. Some Like It Hot led the nominations, at 13.

With J. Harrison Ghee and Alex Newell winning awards for their performances on Some Like It Hot and Shucked, respectively, they become the first openly non-binary performers to win a Tony.[1]

Ceremony information

In January 2023, The Broadway League and American Theatre Wing renewed its contract with Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss's White Cherry Entertainment to produce the ceremony.[2] On April 12, 2023, it was announced that Ariana DeBose would return as host for a second consecutive year.[3] On April 25, 2023, it was announced that the streaming pre-show The Tony Awards: Act One would move from Paramount+ to the free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) service Pluto TV, prior to the main presentation on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.[4]

Nominees were announced on May 2, 2023; the musical Some Like It Hot was the most-nominated show of the season, while A Doll's House , Ain't No Mo' , and Leopoldstadt were tied for most nominated play.[5]

Impact of the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike

Further information: 2023 Writers Guild of America strike

“I'm live and unscripted. You're welcome. So to anyone who may have thought that last year was a bit unhinged, to them, I say, ‘Darlings, buckle up.’”
—76th Tony Awards host Ariana DeBose during her opening monologue[1]

On May 2, 2023, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.[6] On May 12, the WGA denied the American Theatre Wing's request for a waiver to allow the CBS telecast, thereby placing the ceremony's broadcast in uncertainty.[7] (CBS, along with the other major broadcast networks, are represented by the AMPTP in collective bargaining.) The Tony Awards Management Committee held an emergency meeting on May 15 to discuss the future of the ceremony. The meeting, however, was unproductive, with sources saying the committee would make another effort to convince the WGA for a strike waiver.[8] The options were to either hold a non-televised press conference on the original date—akin to the response of the 65th Golden Globe Awards to the 2007–08 WGA strike—or to postpone the ceremony until the strike is resolved—similar to the 74th Tony Awards, which were postponed by more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[9] The same day as the emergency meeting, the WGA still once again denied the waiver but announced they would not picket the event, and the broadcast was set to continue as planned.[10]

The Tonys ceremony ultimately went on unscripted. Before the show began, host Ariana DeBose revealed to the audience the only words that would appear on the teleprompter that night: "Please wrap up" (the advisory to award winners to close their acceptance speech). The broadcast's opening performance number began with DeBose paging through a script of blank pages before launching into a dance number that was backed by music but free of lyrics.[1] Lin-Manuel Miranda initially wrote an opening number for the awards, but it was not performed because of the strike.[11][12]

Presenters

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Act One:

Main Show:

Performances

The following shows and performers performed on the ceremony's telecast:[13]

Eligibility

The Tony Awards eligibility cut-off date for the 2022–23 season was April 27, 2023, for all Broadway productions which meet all other eligibility requirements.[14]

Events

Nominations

The nominees for the 76th Tony Awards were announced on May 2, 2023 by Lea Michele and Myles Frost.[15][16][17] The year's nominations included several non-binary performers, with J. Harrison Ghee (for Some Like It Hot) and Alex Newell (for Shucked) becoming the first two non-binary performers to be nominated for performances in the same year and ultimately winning in their respective categories,[18] while others, such as Justin David Sullivan (from & Juliet), opted out of Tony consideration due to their gendered categories, urging awards shows to "expand their reach".[19] On their nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical, Newell noted the genderless nature of the term "actor", hence their decision to be included for Tony consideration.[20]

The musical Some Like It Hot, based on the classic 1959 Billy Wilder film of the same name, led the nominations, with 13 nominations,[21] while Ain't No Mo' and Leopoldstadt tied for the most nominations for a play, each receiving six.[22]

Winners and nominees

Winners for each award are listed first and highlighted in boldface type.[23]

Best Play Best Musical
Best Revival of a Play Best Revival of a Musical
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Best Direction of a Play Best Direction of a Musical
Best Book of a Musical Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Best Scenic Design of a Play Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Best Costume Design of a Play Best Costume Design of a Musical
Best Lighting Design of a Play Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Best Sound Design of a Play Best Sound Design of a Musical
Best Choreography Best Orchestrations

‡ The award is presented to the producer(s) of the musical or play.

Productions with multiple nominations and awards

Individuals with multiple nominations

Individual Nominations Awards
Jordan E. Cooper 2 0
Natasha Katz 1
LaChanze 2
David Lindsay-Abaire
Casey Nicholaw 1
Scott Pask 0
Ben Ringham
Max Ringham
Emilio Sosa
Jennifer Weber

Non-competitive awards

Reception

Critical reception

The decision to go unscripted won general acclaim. Many reviewers gave praise to the event for its ability to persist and make an entertaining show in spite of the fallout from the WGA strike. Neal Justin of the Star Tribune gave praise to DeBose's performance in the show and also added that "theater lovers may no longer be able to see that chandelier drop at the Majestic Theater in New York, but the Tonys ceremony on Sunday evening proved there was still plenty of reasons for viewers to make the trip East."[29] Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times applauded the recognition to writers made throughout the event and stated that without pre-written scripts, "theater people were allowed to be theater people." McNulty also gave praise to the event for its social justice messaging.[30] Writing for The Washington Post, Peter Marks described the show as "akin to a kitchen accidentally creating a great dish by leaving out a classic ingredient," and echoed similar statements by McNulty, adding that the show demonstrated to actors, audiences, and writers to "let theater be theater."[31] Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter described the show as a much-needed victory for Broadway theater.[32]

Though the show was generally praised, some criticized the unscripted show; Johnny Oleksinski of the New York Post dismissed the unscripted joint as "sleepy," and "cringeworthy," adding that the show lacked any of the typical banter and skits due to lack of written lines.[33] Matthew Huff of Parade, though generally complimentary of the show, criticized the awkward transitions that resulted from going unscripted.[34]

Audience reaction and ratings

During the airing of the event, viewers on Paramount+ complained that instead of seeing the 76th Tony Awards, they instead were shown footage of the previous years' Tony Awards. It was later revealed that this was due to confusion over Paramount+ subscription levels; the 76th Tony Awards were only available to premium users, leaving those who weren't only with the 75th. The distinction was not made in any of the Tony Awards' press release, resulting in viewers and news outlets being unaware of that the 2023 version was a premium only service. Further confusion ensued as DeBose hosted both the 2022 and 2023 events.[35]

The 76th Tony Awards accumulated 4.3 million viewers, earning it the title as the most viewed Tony Awards since 2019. According to CBS, based on data from Paramount+, the show was also the most live streamed show ever, with a 13% streaming increase compared to 2022. Act one became the most watched live event in Pluto TV's history.[36] The increase was notable in a time when general viewership for live U.S. television events has been declining while the Super Bowl, Oscars and Grammys were streaking in annual ratings rebound since the previous year. While the 76th Tony Awards was the third least viewed Tony Awards show since records began, it is so far the largest viewership for the Tony Awards since its switch to live coast-to-coast U.S. telecasts the year prior, and marked the first time the Tony Awards experienced consecutive years of ratings increase since the 63rd Tony Awards in 2009.[37]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Tony Awards telecast makes inclusive history and puts on quite a show despite Hollywood strike," from Associated Press, 6/12/2023
  2. ^ Evans, Greg (January 12, 2023). "Tony Awards Sets White Cherry Entertainment As Production Team Through 2026". Deadline. Retrieved May 8, 2023.
  3. ^ Evans, Greg (April 12, 2023). "Ariana DeBose To Host 76th Annual Tony Awards". Deadline. Retrieved May 8, 2023.
  4. ^ Evans, Greg (April 25, 2023). "CBS & Pluto TV Partner For Tony Awards Pre-Show". Deadline. Retrieved May 8, 2023.
  5. ^ Culwell-Block, Logan (May 2, 2023). "2023 Tony Awards: Some Like It Hot Leads Nominations; See the Full List". Playbill. Retrieved July 12, 2023.
  6. ^ Evans, Greg (May 5, 2023). "The Tony Awards And The Writers Strike: What Happens If Broadway's Big Night Has No Words?". Deadline. Retrieved May 8, 2023.
  7. ^ Zhan, Jennifer (May 12, 2023). "The Writers' Strike Has Reached the 2023 Tony Awards". Vulture. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  8. ^ Evans, Greg (May 15, 2023). "Tony Awards Path Still Undetermined Following Committee Meeting Today And Last-Ditch Efforts For WGA Strike Waiver". Deadline. Retrieved May 15, 2023.
  9. ^ Feinberg, Scott (May 12, 2023). "Tony Awards Will Not Be Televised As Scheduled June 11 (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  10. ^ White, Abbey (May 15, 2023). "Writers Guild of America Says It Will Not Picket 2023 Tony Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 15, 2023.
  11. ^ Houston, Caitlin (May 16, 2023). "Tonys to Move Forward With Unscripted, Televised Broadcast Amid Writers Strike". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  12. ^ Frank, Jason P. (May 23, 2023). "Tony Awards Are Spared a Lin-Manuel Miranda Rap". Vulture. Retrieved June 2, 2023.
  13. ^ Culwell-Block, Logan (June 8, 2023). "2023 Tony Awards to Feature Performances From Joaquina Kalukango, Broadway's Funny Girl and A Beautiful Noise, More". Playbill. Retrieved June 8, 2023.
  14. ^ "Rules and Regulations". Tony Awards. Retrieved February 1, 2023.
  15. ^ Sherman, Rachel; Cohn, Gabe (May 2, 2023). "Tony Awards Nominations 2023: The Complete List". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 2, 2023.
  16. ^ "Tony Awards Eligibility for 2023 – Part 1". Tony Awards. January 31, 2023. Retrieved February 1, 2023.
  17. ^ "Tony Awards Eligibility for 2023 – Part 2". Tony Awards. April 11, 2023. Retrieved April 11, 2023.
  18. ^ David, Cara Joy (April 17, 2023). "Questions About Tony Nominators and Nonbinary Performers Raised in Latest Admin Rulings". BroadwayWorld. Retrieved April 17, 2023.
  19. ^ Paulson, Michael (February 1, 2023). "Nonbinary Broadway Performer Opts Out of Gendered Tony Awards". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 5, 2023.
  20. ^ Jones, C. T. (May 3, 2023). "'Actor Is A Genderless Word': Tony-Nominee Alex Newell Says Change In Broadway Is Coming". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 12, 2023.
  21. ^ "'Some Like It Hot' leads 2023 Tony nominations". RAPPLER. May 3, 2023. Retrieved May 5, 2023.
  22. ^ Rubin, Rebecca; Lang, Brent (May 2, 2023). "Tony Award Nominations 2023: 'Some Like It Hot' Dominates, Followed by '& Juliet,' 'Shucked,' 'New York, New York'". Variety. Retrieved May 5, 2023.
  23. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (June 11, 2023). "Tony Awards: Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 11, 2023.
  24. ^ Gans, Andrew (April 23, 2023). "Jerry Mitchell Named Recipient of 2023 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award". Playbill. Retrieved June 24, 2023.
  25. ^ Culwell-Block, Logan (May 31, 2023). "Florida's Jason Zembuch Young Wins Excellence in Theatre Education Award From Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon". Playbill.
  26. ^ Valdez, Jonah (June 12, 2023). "Jennifer Grey a.k.a. 'Joel Grey's daughter' presents lifetime achievement Tony to dad". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
  27. ^ Grein, Paul (May 3, 2023). "Joel Grey & John Kander to Receive 2023 Special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre". Billboard. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
  28. ^ "Pasadena Playhouse Receives Regional Theatre Tony Award in New York Ceremony – Pasadena Now". www.pasadenanow.com. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
  29. ^ Justin, Neal. "Review: Tony Awards prove you don't always need a script to be spectacular". Star Tribune. Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  30. ^ McNulty, Charles (June 12, 2023). "Commentary: An unscripted Tony Awards 2023 found meaning and eloquence on a historic night". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  31. ^ Marks, Peter (June 12, 2023). "Perspective | The Tony Awards show was unscripted. Who knew it would be incomparable?". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  32. ^ Fienberg, Daniel (June 12, 2023). "Critic's Notebook: Fierce and Focused, the 76th Tony Awards Were a Much-Needed Win for Broadway". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  33. ^ Oleksinski, Johnny (June 12, 2023). "Sleepy 2023 Tony Awards fail to showcase Broadway at its best". Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  34. ^ Huff, Matthew (June 11, 2023). "The Best, Worst and Wildest Moments from the 2023 Tony Awards". Parade: Entertainment, Recipes, Health, Life, Holidays. Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  35. ^ Gelt, Jessica (June 12, 2023). "Tony Awards viewers complain about confusion over Paramount+ livestream". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  36. ^ Hailu, Selome (June 12, 2023). "Tony Awards Reach 4.3 Million Viewers on CBS, Most Watched Ceremony Since 2019". Variety. Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  37. ^ Koblin, John (June 12, 2023). "Tony Awards Viewership Increases to 4.3 Million". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 16, 2023.