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Tonys 2024 Recap: Highlights, Winners

Tonys 2024 Recap: Highlights, Winners

Jeremy Strong took home his first Tony Award on Sunday for his role in the play An Enemy of the People, as one of the many Hollywood contenders up for awards at the 77th Annual Tonys

“This play is a cry from the heart and an exhortation to face up to the difficult truths that are staring us all down right now,” Strong said.

Will Brill, one of the several nominees in Stereophonic, was also among the early winners, taking home a Tony Award best performance by an actor in a featured role in a play, a category that also included two of his castmates. He asked the full cast in attendance at the Tony Awards to stand as he accepted his award. 

Stereophonic, the most nominated play in history, has a chance to beat or tie the record for most winning play in history, if it takes home seven or more awards. The play has already won for its set and sound design as well as for best director of a play.

Kara Young also took home her first Tony Award, after being nominated for three years in a row, for her role in the revival of the play Purlie Victorious, opposite Leslie Odom Jr.

The Tony Awards ceremony is taking place at the Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater, hosted by Ariana DeBose.

The Outsiders musical, based on the beloved book, also took home Tony Awards for sound and lighting design, and for best director of a musical, for Danya Taymor. She was one of four women nominated in the category, which has typically been dominated by men. Her nomination could be a hint at the results of the best musical race, which is expected to be one of the closest at this year’s ceremony.

During the Tonys preshow, Shaina Taub took home the Tony for writing the book to the musical Suffs, a musical about Suffragettes in which she also stars and wrote the score, and Justin Peck won the best choreography Tony Award for Illinoise, a dance-based musical, which is a genre that has not always been well received on Broadway

“I love theater with all my heart, and I’m thankful to this community for embracing a musical that harnesses the profound power of dance on Broadway,” Peck said.

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During the preshow, Audra McDonald presented the Special Tony Award for lifetime achievement to five-time Tony Award winner, director and writer George C. Wolfe, whose credits include Caroline, or Change and Angels in America, who she will soon be working with again in Gypsy. Wolfe, whose work often deals with themes of race and identity and social justice, spoke about harnessing the power of theater to meet the moment, adding “it needn’t look like you to be about you.” 

“As we go through this incredibly complicated time, it’s very important that we approach it not with fear and not with trepidation, but with knowing that we work with the dynamic of celebrating, exploring the powerful, fragile dynamic that is the human heart,” Wolfe said. 

Jack O’Brien, a three-time Tony Award-winning director for shows such as Hairspray, was also a recipient of the lifetime achievement award, presented by Harvey Fierstein, and called working in theater more of a calling than a job. 

“No one ever asked us to do this,” O’Brien said. “We didn’t answer an ad in The New York Times that said, ‘Glittering theatrical types needed to save a moribund industry’ … but we couldn’t help it, could we?”

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