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Tonys 2024

The 2024 Tony Awards Preview

It’s hard to recall a busier Broadway season than the one that will be celebrated at this year’s Tony Awards. April alone brought 15 new productions, among them a musical featuring songs by pop superstar Alicia Keys and a play tracing a fictional band (inspired by real-life musicians) as it records an album in the 1970s.

The cast of Stereophonic.
The cast of Stereophonic. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Those shows — Hell’s Kitchen, inspired by Keys’ own experiences as a teenager and budding artist in Manhattan, and Stereophonic, which features original music by Arcade Fire alumnus Will Butler — topped the list of nominations announced at the end of the last month, each receiving 13. Stereophonic set a record for plays, collecting nods for Best Play and direction in addition to five in the featured actor and actress fields. Butler also received a nomination, as did several designers.

Hell’s Kitchen is up for Best Musical, alongside two adaptations of films and/or books — The Outsiders and Water for Elephants, which respectively grabbed 12 and seven nods — and Suffs, composer-lyricist-librettist-performer Shaina Taub’s tribute to the suffragists who secured the right of women to vote just over a century ago. Suffs scored six nominations, including book and score for Taub. Like Hell’s Kitchen, Suffs made its premiere at the Public Theater.

A more recent Off-Broadway transfer, the musical theater–dance hybrid Illinoise — inspired by singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens’ beloved 2005 album, Illinois — earned four nominations, including Best Musical and one for choreographer Justin Peck, noted for his work on Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story and already a Tony winner for the 2018 revival of Carousel. Peck is competing against Annie-B Parson, tapped for the Imelda Marcos–inspired Here Lies Love (also produced at the Public, back in 2013), along with Water for Elephants’ Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll, The Outsiders’ Rick Kuperman and Jeff Kuperman, and Hell’s Kitchen’s Camille A. Brown.

Maleah Joi Moon and Chris Lee in Hell's Kitchen. Photo by Marc J. Franklin.
Maleah Joi Moon and Chris Lee in Hell’s Kitchen. Photo by Marc J. Franklin.

Outsiders and Kitchen will also vie for book, direction, and choreography of a musical, and their young leads, Broadway newcomers Brody Grant (The Outsiders) and Maleah Joi Moon (Hell’s Ktchen), are contenders for leading actor and actress. Moon’s category also includes such acclaimed veterans as Maryann Plunkett (The Notebook); Eden Espinosa, acknowledged for playing the titular art deco icon in Lempicka; and Kelli O’Hara, nominated alongside fellow musical theater favorite Brian d’Arcy James for their portraits of a struggling alcoholic couple in an adaptation of the film classic Days of Wine and Roses.

Gayle Rankin rounds out the leading actress category for musicals, tapped for her turn as Sally Bowles in a U.K-based staging of Cabaret (fully titled Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club) that earned nine nominations, more than any other revival this year. Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne and stage and screen stalwarts Bebe Neuwirth and Steven Skybell are among the other nominees, for leading actor, featured actress, and featured actor.

Lindsay Mendez, Jonathan Groff, and Daniel Radcliffe in Merrily We Roll Along. Photo by Matthew Murphy.
Lindsay Mendez, Jonathan Groff, and Daniel Radcliffe in Merrily We Roll Along. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Cabaret will face formidable competition from another starry revival: Merrily We Roll Along, which garnered rave reviews Off-Broadway before moving uptown, marking the Broadway directorial debut of British actress Maria Friedman. Stephen Sondheim’s famously tricky account of three old friends trying to succeed in art and life garnered nods for Friedman as well as Jonathan Groff, Daniel Radcliffe, and Lindsay Mendez, respectively nominated for leading actor, featured actor, and featured actress.

Friedman is among four women vying for the award for direction of a musical; Leigh Silverman (Suffs), Jessica Stone (Water for Elephants), and Danya Taymor (The Outsiders) are also competing, along with Michael Greif (Kitchen). Productions of Gutenberg! The Musical! and The Who’s TOMMY join Cabaret and Merrily as nominees for best revival of a musical, while musical theater veteran Adam Guettel (Days of Wine and Roses), pop icons David Byrne and Fatboy Slim (Here Lies Love), and the folk duo Jamestown Revival and Justin Levine accompany Taub and Butler as contenders for best score.

Sarah Paulson in Appropriate.
Sarah Paulson in Appropriate. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Among plays, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ acclaimed Broadway debut, Appropriate, collected the second most nominations, eight, in categories including revival of a play and direction (Lila Neugebauer), as well as leading actress and featured actor, for Sarah Paulson and Corey Stoll. In the first field, the production is up against a revival of Ossie Davis’ Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch, and a new adaptation of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People by Amy Herzog.

Herzog’s Mary Jane, a stirring study of a single mother raising a disabled child, is also up for Best Play. The other contenders include another work previously produced Off-Broadway, Joshua Harmon’s Prayer for the French Republic, which follows a family through generations of antisemitism; Mother Play, Paula Vogel’s semiautobiographical account of a rather less dedicated single mom and her long-suffering children; and Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, Jocelyn Bioh’s first Broadway effort as a playwright, focused on women working in a Harlem salon.

Jaja’s director Whitney White also earned a nomination, for her first Broadway credit as lead director. Other nominees include, in addition to Neugebauer, Stereophonic’s Daniel Aukin, Mary Jane’s Anne Kauffman, and Purlie Victorious’ Kenny Leon. The last production also generated nods for Leslie Odom Jr., up for leading actor, after making his first return to Broadway since winning a Tony for Hamilton, and rising star Kara Young in her third consecutive nomination for featured actress.

Victoria Pedretti, Caleb Eberhardt & Jeremy Strong in An Enemy of the People - Photo by Emilio Madrid
Victoria Pedretti, Caleb Eberhardt, and Jeremy Strong in An Enemy of the People. Photo by Emilio Madrid.

Other noted theater, film, and television actors vying for a Tony for leading actor in a play this year include William Jackson Harper (for a revival of Uncle Vanya), Liev Schreiber (a new production of John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt: A Parable), Jeremy Strong (Enemy of the People), and Michael Stuhlbarg (the new Peter Morgan play Patriots). The leading actress field is similarly glittering, with Paulson and stage veteran Betsy Aidem (Prayer for the French Republic) up against Jessica Lange (Mother Play), Rachel McAdams (Mary Jane, in her Broadway debut), and Amy Ryan (Doubt).

The featured actor and actress categories include familiar names as well. In addition to Radcliffe, Mendez, Neuwirth, Skybell, Stoll, and Young, there are Jim Parsons (Mother Play), Quincy Tyler Bernstine (Doubt), Roger Bart (Back To The Future: The Musical), Brandon Victor-Dixon (Hell’s Kitchen), Shoshana Bean (Hell’s Kitchen), Nikki M. James (Suffs), and Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer (last fall’s revival of Monty Python’s Spamalot).

Ariana DeBose will return this year to host the 77th Annual Tony Awards, from the David H. Koch Theater at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. The ceremony will take place on Sunday, June 16, airing live at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST on the CBS Television Network, and streaming on Paramount+. Additionally, CBS and Pluto TV will once again partner to present The Tony Awards: Act One, a pre-show of live, exclusive content leading into The 77th Annual Tony Awards.

Stay tuned for Broadway Direct’s conversations with Tony nominees, and all things Tony Awards here.