UNITED STATES: “Kimberly Akimbo,” a play about a teen who aged backward, and Tom Stoppard’s autobiographical “Leopoldstadt” were among the winners on Sunday as the Tony Awards continued despite the Writers Guild of America strike.
Ariana DeBose, a Tony and Academy Award winner, hosted the three-hour show on CBS. The event, which was held for the first time at the United Palace in Manhattan’s Washington Heights, relied heavily on musical performances from the nominated productions as well as other numbers, such as a dance tribute to Joel Grey and John Kander, the recipients of the 2023 lifetime achievement awards.
Patrick Marber, who won best play director for “Leopoldstadt,” was one of many award winners who supported the strike in their acceptance speeches.
Marber added that the evening was proceeding smoothly without authors because “actors are great improvisers, and yeah, it’s fun. I wouldn’t like it to become a trend, but I’m not surprised.”
“Kimberly Akimbo” won best musical, defeating more extravagant and expensive shows like “New York, New York” and “Some Like It Hot.” In “Kimberly Akimbo,” Victoria Clark won her second Tony Award for playing the lead. In 2005, Clark received a Tony Award for “The Light in the Piazza.”
The best play, “Leopoldstadt,” which also took home the prize for best new play at the 2020 Olivier Awards in London, chronicles the lives of a Jewish Viennese family over fifty years.
Sean Hayes received the best lead actor in a play award for his performance as Oscar Levant in “Goodnight, Oscar.”
Alex Newell and J. Harrison Ghee created Tony Award history by being the first two openly nonbinary actors to win. Ghee won the award for best actor in a starring role in a musical for “Some Like It Hot,” and Newell won the award for best actor in a supporting role in a musical for his depiction of brassy Lulu in “Shucked.”
“When I saw the script, I saw an opportunity to be an inspiration, to be that representation, to be someone who could be a part of people’s lives where they could see themselves and grow and learn and live and expand, and it’s not something I take lightly. It’s something that I cherish, and it’s a dream come true, truly,” Ghee said.
Jodie Comer won the award for best actor in a play for her performance as the clever lawyer Tessa in the one-woman extravaganza “Prima Facie.”
For the revival of “Parade,” Michael Arden received the award for best musical direction.
“Topdog/Underdog” received the Tony for best play revival.
During a pre-show that was hosted by the stars Julianne Hough and Skyler Astin and broadcast on the free platform Pluto TV, Tonys were primarily given in technical categories.
The Isabelle Stevenson prize, given to director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell, and the prize for finest regional theatre, which was given to the Pasadena Playhouse, were presented during the pre-show.