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The 77th Tony Awards Round-Up!

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Welcome back, my fellow theater lovers! This past Sunday was a big night for Broadway, wouldn’t you agree? The 77th Tony Awards, hosted by Ariana DeBose for the third year in a row, took place at the David H. Koch Theater in the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Complex, and the energy was intoxicating! From the opening number, sung by the host herself, it was clear that The Tonys were looking to breathe new life into the septuagenarian award ceremony, with the aim of enticing a younger generation of theater lovers back to Broadway. This isn’t your grandmother’s Tony Awards and as we all know, change can be a good thing, especially if the organization wishes to stay relevant.

The 77th Tony Awards were a testament to the unparalleled talent that graces the Broadway stage. The lineup of shows presented a fierce competition, making it one of the most nail-biting races in recent memory. While there were a few frontrunners, the sheer level of talent was so high that it was a real challenge to predict who would emerge as the ultimate winners. Now that the dust has settled, and my heart rate has returned to normal after some of those heart-stopping performances, it’s time to delve into the details of the 77th Tony Awards!

Big Broadway Tony winners from the heart of New York City

So where do we begin when breaking down The Tony Awards? The Performances? Perhaps, but we all know exactly what audiences tune into CBS for, to find out if their favorite shows from the past year will finally get the recognition they deserve! And if you followed along with the Tony Award nominations from early May, you know that there were some shows that seemed more likely to be runaways with the rewards than others.

So it shouldn’t come as too much of a shock that the play, Stereophonic, was the definitive winner of the evening. It was tied with Hell’s Kitchen, a musical, for the most nominations at thirteen. This broke the previously held record of twelve Tony Awards nominations back in 2020. Of those thirteen nominations, Stereophonic walked away with 5; Best Play (David Adjimi), Best Feature Actor in a Play (Will Brill), Best Direction of a Play (Daniel Aukin), Best Scenic Design (David Zinn), and Best Sound Design (Ryan Rumery).

Stereophonic
The cast of Stereophonic (Julieta Cervantes).

There must be something in the secret sauce of Stereophonic, which features original music from Will Butler of Arcade Fire. The play focuses on a rock band from the late 1970s attempting to record a new album, and the crowd went absolutely wild for their performance during the ceremony.

On the musical side of the 77th Tony Awards, there was a bit of an upset, as the predicted winner Hell’s Kitchen with its 13 nominations, lost heavily to the revival of Merrily We Roll Along and The Outsiders. Both received four Tonys for their respective categories.

It shouldn’t be too much of a shock to those who have been following along that Merrily We Roll Along would receive the Tonys it did, as it’s garnered immense love from both critics and audiences alike. The crowning achievement for the show was Best Revival of a Musical (Sorry Gutenberg, you’ll always have a special place in my heart), Merrily We Roll Along also earned Tonys for Best Actor in a Musical for Jonathan Groff, Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Daniel Radcliffe and Best Orchestration (Jonathan Tunick).

The Outsiders won for Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical (Danya Taymor), and Best Lighting Design in a Musical (Hana S. Kim and Brian MacDevitt). Prior to seeing the cast performing during the show, my only knowledge was from S.E. Hinton’s novel and the 1983 film adaptation by Francis Ford Coppola. I didn’t necessarily understand the appeal, as it felt like a West Side Story reimagining, but after that performance, I’m all in. I was stunned by what they did there on stage, which shot the play to the top of my must-see for my next NYC trip.

Hell’s Kitchen did snag two Tonys for Maleah Joi Moon and Kecia Lewis’ performances, in the Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical and Best Performances by a Featured Actress in a Musical category, respectively. Joining them with two wins was Suffs the Musical, for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score, received by creator Shaina Taub. Well deserved in the eyes of those here at Cosmic Circus Broadway!

Rounding out the Tony Award winners were:

  • Purlie Victorious won for Best Performance By a Featured Actress in a Play (Kara Young).
  • An Enemy of the People won for Best Actor in a Play (Jeremy Strong).
  • Illinoise won for Best Choreography (Justin Peck).
  • Cabaret won for Best Scenic Design in a Musical (Tom Scutt).
  • The Great Gatsby won for Best Costume Design in a Musical (Linda Cho).

Highlights and head scratches from the 77th Tony Awards

Amongst all the big wins and fantastic performances, there were some moments that stood out more than others. The speeches from both Daniel Radcliffe and Jonathan Groff moved me to tears for vastly different reasons. For Radcliffe, I had grown up with him in the Harry Potter films and onto more adult roles after the Warner Bros. series. There was a connection I felt, because of the recognition he finally received for the incredible work he’s produced on stage. He appeared almost in shock that he won, and his speech reflected how humble he is about his talent and experience so far in Hollywood.

Jonathan Groff 77th Tony Awards
Jonathan Groff receiving his Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for Merrily We Roll Along. The 77th Tony Awards (Theo Wargo).

Those who have been following the Tony Awards for years know how impactful Groff’s win is. He’s the Leonardo Dicaprio of Broadway, consistently nominated for his work but never receiving the award. For as long as I can remember, Groff has given his all, with the Tony just always out of reach, but no longer! This was his time, and you could feel the electricity in the theater when his name was called, and he rushed up onto the stage.

A personal favorite of mine was seeing Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells as Bud and Doug, respectively. Gutenberg was my choice to win Best Revival of a Musical, even though after the Merrily We Roll Along performance, I understand why it went to them. Gad and Rannells truly made magic on stage, and I hope that we see them return to the roles of Bud and Doug again at some point.

The 77th Tony Awards also unlocked a new paralysis demon fear for me with the Cabaret performance. Props to Eddie Redmayne for giving a wonderful performance. However, the entire piece made me uncomfortable, which I suppose was their intended goal. I couldn’t look away, but it also felt wrong to keep looking.

Another chapter in Broadway closes and another season begins

There’s no denying just how exciting this year’s Tony Awards were. Ariana DeBose set the stage with her opening number, and the energy continued until the closing moments of the ceremony. The 77th Tony Awards were the perfect showcase for an incredible year of Broadway, and we can’t wait to see what comes in the 2024-2025 season. So continue to follow us here at Cosmic Circus Broadway, join our email list or follow on social media @mycosmiccircus as we bring you the news and reviews on all things theater!

You can watch the 77th Tony Awards on Paramount+ if you haven’t already. Let us know on social media what some of your highlights from this award ceremony were! And look out for our upcoming Tony Award podcast, hosted by the Box Seat Babes (@boxseatbabes)!

Broadway Shows and 77th Tony Awards Discussion (Cosmic Circle Ep. 53)

Broadway and pre 77th Tony Awards podcast

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Brian Kitson

Working hard to bring you the latest news and thoughtful analysis of all things nerdy!

Brian Kitson has 35 posts and counting. See all posts by Brian Kitson