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2023 Tony Awards Recap

Photo of a red carpet with velvet ropes in the foreground. Theater & Shows

Despite the ongoing writer’s strike, the 2023 Tony Awards were held on June 11 at United Palace on Broadway in New York City. Oscar-winner and Tony Award nominee Ariana DeBose hosted the off-script event which celebrated the top plays, musicals and performances of the last year. 

Kimberly Akimbo, Leopoldstadt and Parade were among the most decorated 2023 Tony Award winners, but we will dive into the full list below. 

Best New Musical – Kimberly Akimbo

David Lindsay-Abaire’s Kimberly Akimbo received eight nominations and took home five Tony Awards including best musical, best book of a musical and best original score. Victoria Clarke also won Best Leading Actress in a Musical and Bonnie Milligan won Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical. 

Based on Lindsay-Abaire’s book of the same name, Kimberly Akimbo follows a young woman with a medical condition that makes her appear much older, and her journey to find happiness before time runs out. It debuted in November 2022 at the Booth Theatre and is already set for a North American tour in 2024.  

Best Play – Leopoldstadt

Leopoldstadt, which was written by Sir Tom Stoppard, secured the night’s top award for a play and Brandon Uranowitz was recognized as Best Featured Actor on a Play. It also won several technical awards including best direction, best scenic design and best costume design. 

This powerful play is set in Vienna during the early 20th century and tells the story of a Jewish family through five acts and 50-plus years including World War I and the Holocaust. It debuted at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre in October 2022. 

Best Play Revival – Topdog/Underdog

Suzan-Lori Parks, who wrote Topdog/Underdog, received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2002 so it is no surprise that this famous play made its return to Broadway this year. It follows two African-American brothers who were deserted as teenagers. It premiered at the Ambassador Theatre in 2001 with Don Cheadle and Jeffrey Wright playing Booth and Lincoln. It was revived in the Golden Theatre in 2022. Its two stars, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Corey Hawkins, were each nominated for Best Leading Actor in a Play.

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Best Musical Revival – Parade

Parade premiered in 1998 and won Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Original Score in its original run at the Vivan Beaumont Theater. It is based on Alfred Uhry’s book about the trial, imprisonment and lynching of Leo Frank. Uhry also famously wrote Driving Miss Daisy and The Last Night of Ballyhoo. The three are often referenced as his “Atlanta Trilogy.” Michael Arden won Best Direction of a Musical for this revival while Micaela Diamond and Ben Platt earned nominations for leading actress and leading actor, respectively. It is scheduled through Summer 2023 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater

Best Leading Actress in a Play – Jodie Comer, Prima Facie

Suzie Miller’s one-woman play Prima Facie made its West End premiere in 2022 with Jodie Comer taking the stage as a criminal defense attorney named Tessa and wowed audiences from the beginning. Comer, a Liverpool native and star of the BBC America series Killing Eve, won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress and the production won Best New Play as well before making its move to Broadway’s John Golden Theatre in April 2023. 

In this play, Tessa begins by representing men accused of sexual assault, but her view of the legal system changes when she confronts it herself as a survivor. Cynthia Erivo is set to star in a film adaption of Prima Facie with an expanded script from Miller. Erivo will also appear in the film adaptation of Wicked, which will be released in 2024. 

Best Leading Actor in a Play – Sean Hayes, Good Night, Oscar

Sean Hayes, who rose to fame on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace, won his first Tony Award for his portrayal of Oscar Levant in Good Night, Oscar. This play from Doug Wright debuted at the Belasco Theatre in April 2023 after a successful run at Goodman Theatre in Chicago. It tells the story of Levant, an eccentric pianist and composer through the lens of his 1958 appearance on The Tonight Show

Other Winners

  • J. Harrison Ghee and Alex Newell made history as the first openly nonbinary actors to win Tony Awards. Ghee won the award for best leading actor in a musical for the role of Jerry and Daphne in the revival of Some Like It Hot. Newell was recognized as the best actor in a featured role in a musical for their performance in Shucked
  • Miriam Silverman earned a Tony Award for actress in a featured role for The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window
  • Some Like It Hot was also recognized for Best Costume Design of a Musical, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations. 
  • Life of Pi won Best Scenic Design of a Play, Best Sound Design of a Play and Best Lighting Design of a Play. 
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street won Best Lighting Design of a Musical and Best Sound Design of a Musical. 
  • Best Scenic Design of a Musical went to New York, New York

See 2023 Tony Award Winners Take the Stage

Do not miss your opportunity to see these talented performers while they continue their award-winning runs on Broadway or begin touring productions. With Broadway tickets from TicketSmarter, you can see 2023 Tony Award winners take the stage. If you are traveling to the Big Apple, check HotelPlanner for exclusive New York travel deals.