April 15, 2024

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Tony Awards 2023: ‘Kimberly Akimbo’ and ‘Leopoldstadt’ Win Top Awards

NEW YORK — “Kimberly Akimbo,” the brilliant and tenderly heartfelt novel of a New Jersey teen who ages five times normal, was the main winner at the 76th Tony Awards Sunday night, taking top honors for Best Musical and four other awards, including Best Book, The result, and the leading and featured actress in a musical.

As widely expected, the Tony for Best Play went to 85-year-old Tom Stoppard’s “Leopoldstadt,” a Holocaust drama inspired by the playwright’s late-life discovery of his Jewish roots. She collected four awards, including Best Director of Play, Costumes and Featured Actor, winning for “Ain’t No Mo”, “Cost of Living”, “Between Riverside and Crazy” and “Fat Ham”.

Other awards in play categories were split among other performances, with Jodie Comer naming Best Actress for her portrayal of a high-profile lawyer-turned-assault victim in “Prima Facie,” and Sean Hayes taking home the Best Actor in a Play Oscar for his impersonation of a pianist. Levant in “Good Night, Oscar.” The visually vibrant “Life of Pi” dominated the Design Awards for Plays, acknowledging sets, sound design, and lighting.

In other competitions, Lead Actor in a Musical went to J. Harrison Ghee, who beat out his co-star Christian Burley and five other actors for Some Like It Hot, and Victoria Clarke won Best Lead Actress. He is 16 years old in Kimberly Akimbo. Bonnie Milligan received the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of a likable scam artist in Kimberly Akimbo.

These Broadway actors are finally getting the spotlight they deserve

Ghee’s win made history, as the actor who identifies as non-binary won a Tony Award in the Lead Actor category for the first time. This achievement is doubled by Alex Newell, who also identifies as non-binary and won Best Featured or Supporting Actor in a Musical for “Shucked.” A overcome Newell told the audience, “I’ve waited for this all my life, and I thank each and every one of you.” Turning to their mother, Newell said, “Thank you for loving me unconditionally.”

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It was a night, in fact, in which acts that defied bigotry were celebrated time and again. Tony voters chose seriousness over chance in their selection of best Broadway musical revival, awarding the award to “Parade,” the fact-based story of the execution of an innocent Jewish man, Leo Frank, in early 20th-century Georgia over his chief rival, “Into the Woods.” ” (Both shows originated off Broadway, as a musical production in the Encores! series at New York City Center.)

In winning Best Musical Director for “Parade,” Michael Arden cited the prejudice he faced in his youth as a gay man. He said, “Keep loving and uplifting each other.” “And vote at every possible opportunity.” (His counterpart, Best Director of a Play, was Patrick Marber for Leopoldstadt.)

Performances in 26 categories, chosen by a voting academy of more than 700 producers, actors, stage designers and others, were presented during a ceremony that lacked a key component of previous telecasts: the book. The Writers Guild of America, whose strike against TV and movie studios is in its second month, has agreed not to picket the Tonys only if the show continues without writers’ contributions.

That required broadcasts from The United Palace in Manhattan’s Washington Heights—the first 90 minutes on Pluto TV, a free streaming service, and another three hours on CBS—to rely not on pre-scripted banter, but on the drama of Tony’s races and the liveliness of the musical performances.

“We don’t have a script, guys. Live and unscripted. You’re welcome!” “It was cleverly (and silently) performed by a cadre of dancers in the foyer and aisles,” said Ariana DeBose, host of the CBS television show for the second year in a row, after the opening. She explains to the audience that the textless event was necessary by the writers “in pursuit of a fair deal”, and explains that there are no telereaders, only countdown clocks to the speeches.

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“Darlings, buckle up!” The wonderful DeBose has been added.

There was no need for such a warning. The entire ceremony — which was hosted by Julianne Hough and Skyler Astin for the first 90 minutes — felt smooth and spontaneous, and proceeded at a fast, satisfying pace. Despite (or because of?) the special challenges, it was one of Tony’s best performances in memory. The evening featured supermodels like Common, Uzo Aduba, Barry Manilow, Melissa Etheridge, and Lupita Nyong’o, and even a notable burn of actress Denny Benton, who referred to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida as “the great wizard of that state.” “

One of the highlights was the appearance of Lea Michele, star of the “Funny Girl” revival, triumphantly singing “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” She sang the same number on Tony’s telecast in 2012, when the sequence was seen as an audition for a role she would win a decade later, as the replacement for the original Fanny Brice revival, Benny Feldstein. (Cameras caught her walking offstage and into DeBose’s arms.)

There were also numbers from all of the Best Musical nominees, such as “Some Like It Hot”, “Kimberly Akimbo”, “Shucked”, “& Juliet” and “New York, New York”. Musical revival candidates—”Camelot,” “Parade,” “Into the Woods” and “Sweeney Todd, Devil Barber of Fleet Street”—also made their commercials.

For best revival of a play, voters chose “Topdog/Underdog” by Suzan-Lori Parks, a 2002 Pulitzer Prize winner about a pair of unlucky brothers whose attempt to control a street hustle ends in tragedy. “Theatre is the cure!” Parks shouted at her exuberant remarks.

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The urgent mandate of being quick and brisk seems to have inspired several Tony winners, including Brandon Uranowitz, who won Best Featured Actor in a Play for his dual roles in “Leopoldstadt.” Addressing his parents in the audience, Uranović said he wanted to repay them for their sacrifice. “But I work in theatre, so I can’t do that!” announce.

The Tonys paid homage to two Broadway mainstays, 91-year-old actor Joel Gray and 96-year-old composer John Kander, who with his partner, the late poet Fred Ebb, wrote “Chicago,” “Cabaret,” and a slew of other shows. Early in the evening, Kander accepted his award with a tribute of his own.

He said: “I am grateful for music, which has remained my friend all my life and promised to stay with me until the end.”

Thomas Floyd contributed to this report.