Highlights From the 2024 Tony Nominations: ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ and ‘Stereophonic’ Earn Most Nods (2024)


Michael Paulson

Here’s what to know about the nominations.


A semi-autobiographical Alicia Keys musical and a play about a group of musicians struggling to record an album each got 13 Tony nominations on Tuesday, tying for the most nods in a packed Broadway season when shows need all the help they can get.

The musical, “Hell’s Kitchen,” features some of Keys’s biggest hits as well as new songs by her. The play, “Stereophonic,” David Adjmi’s exploration of creativity and conflict inside a recording studio, is now the most-nominated play in Tony Awards history, besting a record set in 2021 by “Slave Play,” which had 12 nominations.

A star-studded production of “Merrily We Roll Along” that turned a storied Stephen Sondheim flop into one of the season’s biggest hits is favored to win the musical revival category. But it faces several other big revivals, including a lavish production of “Cabaret” starring Eddie Redmayne that got the most nominations of any show in the category, as well as a rollicking revival of “The Who’s Tommy” and a now-closed production of “Gutenberg! The Musical!” that found success with two appealing co-stars.

The two most nominated shows, “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Stereophonic,” opened 24 hours apart less than two weeks ago.

“Stereophonic,” which features songs by Will Butler, formerly of Arcade Fire, had an initial run last fall at the Off Broadway nonprofit Playwrights Horizons. It succeeded despite a three-hour running time and no high-wattage celebrities — powered by strong reviews and word-of-mouth.

“I’m just gobsmacked,” said Adjmi, a longtime downtown playwright whose work has never before made it to Broadway. “I started this play 11 years ago and didn’t know if it would ever even be produced — it was impractical and wildly demanding on every level and I just made it from a place of passion and obsession. To be rewarded at a platform like this is so mind-bogglingly incredible I don’t have words.”

“Hell’s Kitchen,” which had an Off Broadway run starting last fall at the nonprofit Public Theater, is about a 17-year-old girl growing up in Manhattan and struggling to navigate first love, a hunger for independence and a tense relationship with a well-intentioned but overprotective single mother.

“I’m definitely in a deep state of freaking out, in a really great, awesome, grateful way,” said Keys, whose challenges as an adolescent in the 1990s shaped the plot of “Hell’s Kitchen.” “I have felt so connected to the mission of this story. I always felt that there was a purpose, there’s a reason, there’s something important about the story.”

The nominations come at a challenging time for Broadway. Theaters are packed with shows — 36 Tony-eligible shows opened this season, including an unusually large slate of 15 new musicals. But the costs of production have skyrocketed while the number of ticket buyers has fallen since the pandemic.

Here are some other highlights of the nominations:

  • Daniel Radcliffe finally broke whatever spell had impeded him from getting nominated for a Tony Award. The actor, beloved for his portrayal of Harry Potter in all eight films, has been overlooked by nominators during four previous Broadway outings, but on Tuesday he was recognized for his work in “Merrily We Roll Along.”

  • “Hell’s Kitchen” now heads into a race for the best musical prize that is unusually competitive, because none of the contenders has broken out as a consensus favorite at the box office or among critics. Just behind “Hell’s Kitchen” in the nominations derby is “The Outsiders,” a musical adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s classic young adult novel, which received 12 nods. The other nominees are “Illinoise,” a narrative dance telling a story of self-discovery, with songs from Sufjan Stevens; “Suffs,” a look at the women’s suffrage movement in the United States; and “Water for Elephants,” based on the novel about a circus romance.

  • “Stereophonic” appears to be the favorite in the best play race, but is up against four strong competitors: “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding,” “Mary Jane,” “Mother Play” and “Prayer for the French Republic.”

  • Notably, three of the nominated plays (“Jaja’s,” “Mary Jane” and “Prayer”) were produced on Broadway by a single nonprofit organization, the Manhattan Theater Club, and two of the nominated musicals (“Hell’s Kitchen” and “Suffs”) began at the Public Theater.

  • Among the screen stars who picked up Tony nods, in addition to Radcliffe and Redmayne, are Jessica Lange, Jim Parsons, Rachel McAdams, Sarah Paulson, Jeremy Strong, Liev Schreiber, Leslie Odom Jr. and Amy Ryan.

The nominations were chosen by a group of 44 people with theatrical expertise (many of them are artists or arts administrators) but no financial stake in the eligible shows. There were originally 60 in the group, but since they are required to see all 36 eligible shows, their number dwindled as some missed shows or developed conflicts of interest.

The Tony Awards, which are presented by the Broadway League and the American Theater Wing, will be presented on June 16. The ceremony is to take place at Lincoln Center, hosted by Ariana DeBose, and broadcast on CBS.

April 30, 2024, 2:40 p.m. ET

April 30, 2024, 2:40 p.m. ET

Michael Paulson

Here’s what we know about the Tony Awards ceremony.


Now that we know who the Tony nominees are, the awards season begins in earnest.

So what happens next?

Over the next six-plus weeks, the nominees will be celebrating and campaigning.

On Thursday, they will assemble at a Midtown hotel to meet the press — a traditional post-nominations ritual at which they pose for photos, sit for interviews and get their official I’m-a-Tony-nominee pins.

Then come a string of other ceremonies (among them, the Drama League, Drama Critics’ Circle, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards), nonprofit galas (where nominees can mingle with, or perform in front of, Tony voters), and an annual luncheon at the Rainbow Room.

The Tony Awards ceremony this year is scheduled to take place on June 16 at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater (home to the New York City Ballet). The televised portion of the ceremony is to air on CBS from 8 to 11 p.m. Eastern, and to stream on Paramount+; there will be a preshow at which some awards are handed out that will stream on Pluto TV.

Ariana DeBose will host, for a third year in a row. She’s an Oscar winner for “West Side Story,” and has performed in six Broadway musicals; she was a 2018 Tony nominee for “Summer.”



April 30, 2024, 2:35 p.m. ET

April 30, 2024, 2:35 p.m. ET

Michael Paulson

What’s up next on Broadway? Plenty.


Broadway is pretty packed right now — there are 35 shows currently running, so there’s not a lot of room for more until some of those close (as a few of them, inevitably, will do following Tony nomination or award disappointments).

But there are a handful of new shows, and a concert stand, expected to open on Broadway between now and Labor Day.

First up: A revival of “Home,” a three-character play by Samm-Art Williams, is scheduled to begin previews May 17 and to open June 5 at the recently renamed Todd Haimes Theater. This production is to feature Tory Kittles, Brittany Inge and Stori Ayers; it is being directed by Kenny Leon and produced by the nonprofit Roundabout Theater Company.

“Home,” initially staged by the Negro Ensemble Company, first arrived on Broadway in 1980; it is a coming-of-age story about a young man from North Carolina.

Next: Ben Platt, who won a Tony Award for originating the title role in “Dear Evan Hansen,” will be playing an 18-performance concert residency to reopen the Palace Theater, which has been closed for six years for a construction project. Platt’s show is scheduled to run from May 28 to June 15.

“Oh, Mary!,” a madcap comedy from the alt-cabaret performer Cole Escola, is scheduled to begin performances June 26 and to open July 11 at the Lyceum Theater. The show, a historical fantasia about the former first lady Mary Todd Lincoln, has been playing to sold-out houses at Off Broadway’s Lucille Lortel Theater since January.

A very different style comedy, “Forbidden Broadway on Broadway: Merrily We Stole a Song,” had announced plans for a summer run, but decided to indefinitely postpone its run, citing Broadway's crowded landscape.

Still, there are likely to be at least one or two other new shows on Broadway this summer. There has been talk of a possible transfer of a City Center production of “Once Upon a Mattress,” starring Sutton Foster. And a play called “The Roommate,” starring Mia Farrow and Patti LuPone, is expected to start performances this summer in anticipation of a post-Labor Day opening.

April 30, 2024, 2:29 p.m. ET

April 30, 2024, 2:29 p.m. ET

Michael Paulson

Alicia Keys on ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ nods: I’m in ‘a deep state of freaking out.’


Alicia Keys has been working on “Hell’s Kitchen” for 13 years, so she found it serendipitous — in addition to thrilling — that on Tuesday morning her musical picked up 13 Tony nominations.

In an interview shortly after the nominations were announced, Keys was clearly heartened by the news. The show, featuring her songs and a book by Kristoffer Diaz, is personal for Keys. The show is about a 17-year-old girl whose life circ*mstances have enormous echoes of Keys’s own upbringing — the single mother, the hunger for independence, the passion for piano, even the same subsidized housing development.

These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

Congratulations! What do you make of this?

Whoa! I’m definitely in a deep state of freaking out in a really great, awesome, grateful way. I don’t know what’s happening to me — I’m a songwriter and I can’t put my words together, but I feel unbelievable. I’m so excited for everybody to be recognized.

Did you ever have any doubts, or were you always confident about this one?

I’ve always felt really good about it, and I know that we’ve put the work and the time into it, and so I do feel a sense of strength and joy around it, but you just never know how people receive things. You never know how it all goes. And ultimately you can’t create with that in mind — you have to create with your mission in mind.

Do you really burn palo santo around the theater?

Absolutely! Every crevice, every backstage place, every dressing room, on the stage itself, in the theater, in the seats. Just creating that good energy.

Is it hard to watch people perform scenes that echo painful chapters in your own life?

It is painful and it is thrilling and it is emotional and it is honest. When Kecia Lewis sings “Perfect Way to Die” at the end of the first act, I don’t care how many times I see that, it touches me powerfully and poignantly every time. It is painful, but it’s also triumphant, you know?

What is it like for you to see your songs in a totally different context?

That is the part that I find to be the most curious and the most fascinating is how songs can continue to evolve even to its composer. There is something so special about that. When people leave the theater, they say, “I never heard those songs like that before.” And neither have I! There’s something really tremendous about just how it’s taken on a life of its own.

I know you want this show to run as long as possible. What are the tasks ahead for you?

Yes, that is the goal. I do have many dreams and many manifestations to be on the level of longevity of some of the greatest pieces of theater that have ever existed. That would be such a deep honor. And so we’re just going to keep working and keep loving, keep believing. And you know, the rest is up to whatever divine choice is meant for this.



April 30, 2024, 1:41 p.m. ET

April 30, 2024, 1:41 p.m. ET

Michael Paulson

So many shows only just opened. How did the nominations happen so quickly?


Of the 36 Tony-eligible shows on Broadway this season, 12 only just opened — during a frenetic nine-day period that wrapped up on April 25.

So how is it possible that the season’s Tony nominations are already being announced?

Broadway’s openings are always clustered around the Tony eligibility deadline — which this year was April 25 — because producers believe that Tony nominators and voters will remember most clearly, and hopefully fondly, the shows they saw most recently. (A similar phenomenon occurs in Hollywood, where many films open close to the deadline to qualify for the Oscars.)

The Tony nominators are required to see every show before they vote, and this year they voted on April 29. That meant they had to see a lot of shows in a short period of time — many of them set aside much of the second half of April for theatergoing. But with careful planning it can be done — in fact, it happens every year — because the nominators, like theater critics, are invited to see shows in preview performances starting a few days before the official opening, and can come to any performance after that, free of charge. Generally they have at least eight opportunities to see a show before they vote.

And who are the nominators? They are artists and arts administrators who are knowledgeable about theater but do not have a financial relationship to any Tony-eligible show. This year’s committee started with 60 members, but, as happens each year, several had to recuse themselves because they missed a show or developed a conflict of interest, so in the end 44 members of the committee wound up voting on this year’s nominations.

April 30, 2024, 1:30 p.m. ET

April 30, 2024, 1:30 p.m. ET

Laura Collins-Hughes

Jessica Lange, nominated for ‘Mother Play,’ wanted to create a new role.


Jessica Lange’s previous Broadway outings have all been in classics: Tennessee Williams’s “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “The Glass Menagerie,” and Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” for which she won a Tony Award in 2016.

This time, though, Lange is creating a role: Phyllis Herman, the title character in Paula Vogel’s Tony-nominated “Mother Play,” whose entire cast — which also includes Celia Keenan-Bolger and Jim Parsons — received Tony nods.

On Tuesday morning, Lange, 75, spoke by phone about her nomination. These are edited excerpts from that conversation.

Congratulations. How are you feeling?

What made me the very happiest of all news this morning was that the three of us were all nominated. Each part is integral to the whole, and to separate out would have been inconceivable.

Why did you say yes to playing Phyllis?

It came down to wanting to do a new play, which I’ve never done before. I’ve done the great kind of classics from the American canon. I didn’t quite know the process of working on a new play. I wanted to understand having a living playwright in the room with you, working and changing things and adapting. It’s a brand-new play. No one has ever seen it before. The character has not been played by a dozen other actresses in history.

When I look at your Broadway roles — Blanche DuBois, Amanda Wingfield, Mary Tyrone and now Phyllis — I see them belonging to a kind of lineage.

You could definitely draw a line from one to another. They have this profound disappointment and profound loneliness. Those are the things that, in the roles that I’ve been drawn to onstage, have really appealed to me. Like Mary Tyrone, which is the favorite role I’ve ever played, and would continue playing for the rest of my life if I could. [Laughs.] You can kind of trace that lineage through all four characters of some great, profound disappointment, and also some profound misjudgment. You know, that moment where you do something that you then regret for the rest of your life, and that follows you and haunts you.

You are playing a character based on a real person who was your playwrights mother. Did that affect your approach?

Actually it didn’t, because I was not interested in doing some kind of historical representation, and I don’t think that was what Paula had in mind.

You have a stunner of a solo scene thats long and quiet and almost wordless: Phyllis at home, engaged in the mundane tasks of a lonely life.

And counting the time until she can have her first drink. She has obviously set some kind of schedule that she won’t have her first drink before 7 o’clock or whatever it is. So it’s filling up that time. But even with the first drink, it’s not a balm. That is one of the most interesting scenes, I find. You read about this, that loneliness is epidemic in this country. I think it’s much more universal than we’re aware of. So to investigate that I found really fascinating: a woman coming home from work, she’s estranged from her children, her family is gone. What do you do to fill the hours before you can go to sleep and start yet another day?

You have a Tony for “Long Days Journey.” You have two Oscars. You have three Emmys. Do awards matter?

I’m not going to pretend that it’s meaningless, because it’s not. The people in your community, your peers or whatever, look at your work and say, “Yes, that was good work.” I mean, I’ve had enough that they haven’t acknowledged. [Laughs.] So when it’s acknowledged, I’m thrilled.



April 30, 2024, 1:10 p.m. ET

April 30, 2024, 1:10 p.m. ET

Julia Jacobs

Leslie Odom Jr. on his Tony nomination for ‘Purlie Victorious.’


To land the role of Aaron Burr in a new musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda called “Hamilton,” Leslie Odom Jr. had to go on a campaign of persuasion, imploring the show’s director over and over to cast him as the protagonist’s foil.

After the whirlwind of success that was “Hamilton,” Odom was the one making the choices for what was next.

For his return to Broadway, he decided on a revival of Ossie Davis’s 1961 play “Purlie Victorious,” an uproarious comedy about a Black preacher from Georgia. The original iteration of the play, about all that America has stolen from its Black citizens, had counted the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. among its audience members. It had not been staged on Broadway since the Civil Rights Movement.

On Tuesday, Odom, 42 — who won a Tony in 2016 for his performance as Burr — received his second Tony nomination for his role as Purlie. He shared his delight over the phone from Philadelphia, where he learned the news in a hotel lobby as he struggled to find the livestream of the announcement on his phone. Here are edited excerpts from the conversation.

I’m sure after “Hamilton” you had plenty of choices for what to do next. Why “Purlie”?

Simply, I was looking for something harder than the challenge Lin had given us. Lin had given us the biggest challenge onstage that any of us had ever had before and after you climb a mountain like that there was a desire to keep climbing.

We’ve been dreaming about “Purlie” on Broadway and trying to get it on Broadway for years, so the fact that we made it, the fact that it did so well and connected with people in the way that it did, and then to have a morning like this, it’s just a feeling that I can’t quite describe. Certainly it’s harder to describe before I’ve had my coffee.

How was the challenge of “Purlie” different than the challenge of playing Burr, which included singing and dancing on top of the acting?

The amount of text — I had never taken on a challenge like that. The physical and emotional demands of it. There was also taking on the challenge of joining the producing team. Wearing both those hats — starring in the play and producing it — was something I had never done before. And this was a play that hadn’t been done in 62 years. There are some shows that we, for whatever reason, get real used to seeing every five or six years. “Purlie Victorious” has not been one of those shows, and so it was, in some ways, a new play for lots of people. It had a fair amount of challenges to it, and certainly more than I had when Lin-Manuel gave me the role of a lifetime and asked me to stand onstage eight shows a week and sing that music.

Are you looking for any particular challenges at this stage in your career? What’s something you haven’t done that you want to try?

There is. I don’t know if there’s anything I want to tell The [New York] Times about. You know, it was one of these kind of interviews after I won a Tony in 2016 — somebody said, “Is there any show that you want to revive?” and I said “Purlie.” So I’ve got to be careful what I wish for, is what I have learned.

April 30, 2024, 12:58 p.m. ET

April 30, 2024, 12:58 p.m. ET

Alexis Soloski

Jeremy Strong on his nomination and a role in ‘Enemy’ that felt ‘undeniable.’


Jeremy Strong’s best actor nomination for his starring role in the widely praised “An Enemy of the People” could not have come as a surprise. But it did. “It’s always a surprise, actually,” he said. “And the Tonys have always represented the highest accolade to me, the Holy Grail. So it’s incredibly gratifying.”

Strong, a star of the HBO phenomenon “Succession,” spent his early career in the theater. After a break of more than a decade, he returned in Amy Herzog’s adaptation of the Ibsen drama, directed by Sam Gold. Strong plays Dr. Thomas Stockmann, a man who discovers that his town’s beloved spa is dangerously polluted and a vector of infection. When Stockmann speaks his truth, the townspeople turn on him.

Having spent so many years away from the stage, Strong did not know if he would have the strength to carry the play. But he couldn’t deny the role and the environmental themes it explored. “It felt necessary,” he said. “The play felt like a summons.” And he feels that his time in film and television has influenced his stage acting.

“Maybe what I’ve been doing over the last 10 years has helped prepare me to try to be free up there,” he said.

Reached on the morning of the Tony nominations, Strong described playing the role as like “walking the plank,” “summiting Everest” and “walking a beautiful tightrope over an abyss.” These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

Why did you choose this play for your return to theater?

It’s a play that speaks urgently to now. It’s a play about a man attempting to wake people up to an imminent ecological catastrophe and warn them of the steep and perilous cost of their inaction. And Amy Herzog and Sam Gold are people who I love deeply and have absolute faith in. So it just felt undeniable.

Dr. Stockmann is someone who speaks truth to power and then suffers the consequences. How close do you feel to the character?

The truth that Stockmann is fighting for is a much larger and more important truth than whatever my personal truth as an actor is. But I have to summon all the courage I have just to walk out there every day. Most of what’s in this character, it’s something that I’ve had to find through the play. There’s any number of things that fill me up and fire my imagination and my heart and passion, the climate crisis being first and foremost, and all of these incredibly brave, courageous scientists and activists who are putting themselves on the line to wake up our civilization.

During one of the press nights, the production was interrupted by climate change protesters. How did it feel to have the real intrude on the play?

It was difficult. But those people echoed and amplified the message of the play. While there was a slight wobble for me, ultimately it was quite easy to embrace what they were saying and to exhort them to continue. I was like, [expletive] it, they’re right. And I would be a hypocrite to try and silence people advocating for scientific truth. In retrospect, it was a gift, because it underlined what the play is about.



April 30, 2024, 12:34 p.m. ET

April 30, 2024, 12:34 p.m. ET

Sarah Bahr

Daniel Radcliffe on breaking the spell with his first Tony nomination.


Daniel Radcliffe caught the first batch of Tony nominations during the announcement at 8:30 a.m. He texted congratulations to his “Merrily We Roll Along” co-star Jonathan Groff, who was nominated for best actor in a musical.

But then dad duty called before his own category, featured actor in a musical, was announced at 9:00.

“I was in the middle of doing breakfast and trying to put my son down for his morning nap, so I got a text from a member of the cast letting me know I was nominated,” said the actor, 34, who stars as the lyricist and playwright Charley Kringas in the acclaimed revival of the 1981 Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical, “Merrily We Roll Along.”

Radcliffe’s Tony nomination — for his fifth Broadway role since his 2008 debut in “Equus” — is the first of his career. And it’s extra special, he said in a phone conversation from his New York apartment on Tuesday, because not only Groff, but his other “Merrily” co-star, Lindsay Mendez, was also nominated, for featured actress.

“People in your line of work probably get bored of actors talking about how much they love each other, how much they enjoy working with each other,” said Radcliffe, who is best known for playing Harry Potter onscreen. “And we do say it a lot, but this group is really awesome — Lindsay, Jonathan, the whole cast. I feel so lucky.”

These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

You recently were the ring bearer at Lindsay’s wedding, for which Jonathan served as the officiant. How did that come about?

It’s what I do in the show — when Jonathan and Katie Rose Clarke are getting married, I’m the ring bearer. So we were in Lindsay’s dressing room on the Saturday or Sunday before she got married, and she just offhandedly was like, “Would you be the ring bearer?” We found that funny. So I did! But also I suddenly went from going to a wedding with zero responsibilities to going and having to not screw something up; to not drop the rings and suddenly have them flying around Central Park! But it was fine.

All three of you have been with the show since its Off Broadway run in 2022. How has your performance grown and changed?

When we first met, we were getting on really well, but we were still getting to know each other, so we were having to act the friendship more. And now so much of it is just there. That’s not a feeling you get all the time as an actor. It’s rare, and I feel very lucky that I just have to look into Jonathan’s eyes or Lindsay’s eyes and get everything I need to get through whatever moment we’re doing.

What initially attracted you to the “Merrily” role?

When I saw this production in London, I had the reaction of going, “Oh, I’m really right for this part.” I could hear my voice in the character pretty early on. I love musical theater, but it’s not something I’ve done my whole life the way Jonathan and Lindsay have, so the vocal aspects and the musical aspects are the stuff I’ve really enjoyed, especially when the music is as incredible as Sondheim’s. “Franklin Shepard” in particular was pretty challenging to learn initially. But now that it’s in me, it’s incredibly fun.

There’s no challenge in musical theater like a Sondheim patter song.

The first few times I was doing it, it was genuinely terrifying. The one time Off Broadway where it kind of went wrong was one of the most terrifying things that’s ever happened to me onstage.

What happened?

I got ahead of the band by like half a beat, so I was out of sync with them for — it felt like 30 seconds, but it was probably less. Thankfully there are enough musical things happening in that song that I recognized one of them and was able to reorient myself.

Who is the person you’ve been most nervous to have come see the show?

Meryl Streep was in the audience one night, and I was very thrilled to find that out after the show was finished.

“Merrily” closes July 7. What’s next for you?

I’m going to take some time off and just be a dad for a while, which I’m very, very excited about.

Highlights From the 2024 Tony Nominations: ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ and ‘Stereophonic’ Earn Most Nods (10)

April 30, 2024, 12:03 p.m. ET

April 30, 2024, 12:03 p.m. ET

Jesse Green,Alexis Soloski and Scott Heller

Tony nominations snubs and surprises: Steve Carell and ‘The Wiz’ miss out


The day of the Tony Award nominations is like college acceptance day a bit earlier in the spring, but on the scarcity model: Of the dozens of artists eligible in each category, only five or so are “admitted.” That means some great work gets left by the wayside — but also, because the number of nominators is small enough to be idiosyncratic, that plenty of outcomes defy all prediction. Here are our thoughts on this season’s inadvertent (and possibly advertent) snubs, delightful (or mystifying) surprises and other notable anomalies.

A melancholy morning for ‘Vanya.’

Television stars are considered good box office but not always good Tony bait. This year’s crop, including Sarah Paulson, Jeremy Strong, Steve Carell and William Jackson Harper, complicates that wisdom. Paulson is a likely winner but the men are already canceling each other out. Though Carell, in his Broadway debut, and Harper both play characters competing for the love of a married woman in the Lincoln Center Theater revival of “Uncle Vanya,” only Harper, excellent in a role that is usually considered supporting, was nominated as best leading actor in a play. (The production, which featured many lovely performances, was otherwise shut out.) Note that Chekhov let neither man win.

Deep cuts for ‘Stereophonic.’

How the nominators handled the ensemble in David Adjmi’s recording-studio-set play was going to be one of the morning’s most interesting questions. The answer: Generously, as five members of the young cast were singled out for their supporting performances, including Tom Pecinka and Sarah Pidgeon as the fraying central couple, and Juliana Canfield and Will Brill as their bandmates. Without an instrument in hand, Eli Gelb got in, too, as the ’70s rock group’s frazzled sound engineer. Spreading all that love helped take the show to Number One with a Bullet — the most nominated play in Broadway history.

Too many riches to go around.

On the other hand, the superb ensemble casts of “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding” and “Illinoise” were skunked. That’s no accident: As more works these days distribute the storytelling burden equally among many members of a cast, odd nomination outcomes — feast or famine — can result.

That’s why we often argue here for a new category that honors ensembles. And Actors’ Equity, the national union representing actors and stage managers, goes further, with its annual award for Broadway choruses. Of the 23 musicals that opened this season, 21 are eligible; the winner will be notified on June 15 — pointedly, one day before the Tonys.

Women lead in directing.

In the history of the awards, only 10 women, beginning in 1998, have won prizes for directing. This year that number seems likely to rise, with seven of the 10 possible directing slots filled by women. Anne Kauffman, Lila Neugebauer and Whitney White have been nominated for best direction of a play, and Maria Friedman, Leigh Silverman, Jessica Stone and Danya Taymor (the niece of Julie Taymor, the first woman to win for direction of a musical) are in contention for best direction of a musical.

To love, honor and ignore.

The Tony nominating committee said “I do” to two pairs of actors playing married characters: Brian d’Arcy James and Kelli O’Hara as lovers undone by alcoholism in “Days of Wine and Roses,” and Maryann Plunkett and Dorian Harewood as an older couple grappling with dementia in “The Notebook.” But the shows did not receive the same love. Neither was nominated for best musical, though “Days of Wine and Roses” did pick up a nomination for score and “The Notebook” for book. Guess you can’t always have your wedding cake, and eat it too.

A warm Willkommen to ‘Cabaret.’

Rebecca Frecknall’s crepuscular revival of Kander and Ebb’s “Cabaret” was celebrated when it opened on the West End in 2021, eventually winning seven Olivier awards. But its Broadway transfer received a more muted response. (“Too often a misguided attempt to resuscitate the show breaks its ribs,” The New York Times wrote.) So who cares? Not the Tony nominators, who recognized the show with a nomination for best revival of a musical and gave nods to the actors — Eddie Redmayne, Gayle Rankin, Bebe Neuwirth and Steven Skybell — in all four categories.

No yellow brick road for ‘The Wiz.’

The much-anticipated revival has been one of spring’s early hits, but Tony nominators followed the lead of critics, not audiences, who didn’t have much nice to say about the show’s look, script and performances. “The Wiz,” which earned seven Tony awards when it arrived on Broadway in 1975, didn’t get a single nod this time around.

Shaina Taub gets out the vote (mostly).

Like “Hamilton,” the musical “Suffs” looks at American history through a contemporary lens. Like “Hamilton,” the show started at the Public Theater before moving to Broadway. And like “Hamilton,” it was written and composed by its multitalented star, here 35-year-old Shaina Taub. When nominations were announced, though, Taub didn’t pull off a Lin-Manuel Trifecta. She received nods for her music and book, two of six nominations for “Suffs,” but not for starring as the suffragist Alice Paul. Nikki M. James, already a Tony winner for “The Book of Mormon,” got the show’s one acting nomination, as Ida B. Wells.

Pop/rock storms another stage…

Squint and you may think you’re at the Grammy Awards on Tonys night, as the best score nominees include Arcade Fire’s Will Butler (“Stereophonic”); David Byrne and Fatboy Slim (“Here Lies Love”); and Jamestown Revival (“The Outsiders”). Plus, of course, Sufjan Stevens, whose 2005 concept album is transcendently reorchestrated for dance in the best musical nominee “Illinoise,” and Alicia Keys, whose existing tunes power the most nominated musical of all, “Hell’s Kitchen.”

Except when it doesn’t.

Among those who might instead be watching from home: the not-nominated Barry Manilow (“Harmony”); Ingrid Michaelson (“The Notebook”); and Huey Lewis, whose songbook energizes “The Heart of Rock and Roll,” but didn’t rouse Tony nominators.

Waving the flag for ‘Illinoise’ and more.

Monday’s roster reflected a Broadway season that was notably American, even aside from “Illinoise,” a show actually named for a state. “Hell’s Kitchen,” nodding at the New York City neighborhood where Keys grew up, told a story we like to think of as local: Big dreams come true. “Suffs” took us behind the scenes of American history, as women fought for the vote. “Purlie Victorious” and “Appropriate” took contrasting approaches — one comic, one gothic — to the peculiar American institution of racism. But even aside from their content, the 17 productions nominated for the biggest prizes are overwhelmingly the work of American authors. (One of the touted London imports, Peter Morgan’s “Patriots,” didn’t even make the list for best play.) Is Broadway, which has too often resembled a British colony, finally achieving independence?



April 30, 2024, 11:56 a.m. ET

April 30, 2024, 11:56 a.m. ET

Julia Jacobs

Sarah Paulson on her first Tony nomination, for ‘Appropriate.’


After Sarah Paulson moved to New York City when she was a young girl, her mother took a job as a waitress at Sardi’s, a storied Broadway restaurant. It opened up a world that she would not have otherwise been exposed to, helping to nurture her ambitions of performing onstage.

Paulson’s first acting job, at 19, was as a Broadway understudy, beginning a career that returned to the stage several more times but found its rhythm on television, with steady roles on Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story” and a career-defining turn as the prosecutor Marcia Clark in the limited series “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” for which she won an Emmy.

Despite complex roles as famous public figures and, once, a pair of conjoined twins, Paulson said her most challenging role has been in the Broadway drama “Appropriate,” for which she received a Tony nomination for best leading actress in a play on Tuesday.

In “Appropriate,” a play by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Paulson plays an older sister clinging to her memories of her father as she and her siblings clear out his home after his death, confronting the family’s dark secrets and their grievances against one another in the process. In the script, Paulson gets to play with cutting insults, weighty monologues and plenty of yelling.

After learning of the news while still in bed, hours before taking the stage again, Paulson spoke about the endurance that it takes to be a stage actor and about her career coming full circle. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

Tell me how you’re feeling right now about your first Tony nomination.

I feel very moved and certainly overwhelmed to be in a category with such extraordinary women, some of whom are my friends. More than anything there’s that little girl in me who moved to New York at 5 years old and whose mother got a job as a waitress at this theater hangout, to wake up and have a Tony nomination for the first time in my life, at 49, feels just wildly moving to me and something that I have dreamed about since I was a girl.

I think a lot of times we spent a lot of energy pretending like these things don’t matter, because at the end of the day, they don’t — in the grand scheme of things the work is all that matters — but the little girl in me cannot be quieted this morning with a kind of explosive joy and excitement for a childhood dream being realized.

What makes your role in “Appropriate” — as Toni Lafayette, this very headstrong, sometimes caustic woman — the toughest you have faced so far?

Part of it is the athleticism required to do a play eight times a week — vocally, spiritually, emotionally. It is literally different every night. Energetically, you can only prepare a certain amount and then something else happens onstage between you and the audience and you can’t prepare yourself for that. There are aspects of every performance that are unknown to you.

I remember one of the notes I got — I actually have it pinned up on my wall in my dressing room now — is that Toni belongs to you now. Ride the roller coaster with her; when she’s her most cruel, do it. When she’s her most loving, do it. When she’s her most vulnerable, allow that to happen. Toni is a roller coaster. She’s a roller coaster of a person, and therefore I have to be on that rickety roller coaster with her every night.

Highlights From the 2024 Tony Nominations: ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ and ‘Stereophonic’ Earn Most Nods (2024)


Highlights From the 2024 Tony Nominations: ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ and ‘Stereophonic’ Earn Most Nods? ›

Here's what to know about the nominations. A semi-autobiographical Alicia Keys musical and a play about a group of musicians struggling to record an album each got 13 Tony nominations on Tuesday, tying for the most nods in a packed Broadway season when shows need all the help they can get.

Did the Wiz get any Tony nominations? ›

No yellow brick road for 'The Wiz.'

“The Wiz,” which earned seven Tony awards when it arrived on Broadway in 1975, didn't get a single nod this time around.

Was The Wiz successful? ›

Despite its lack of critical or commercial success in its original release, The Wiz became a cult classic, especially because it features Michael Jackson in his first starring theatrical film role.

What Tony Awards did The Wiz win? ›

The Wiz premiered on Broadway in 1975 and became an instant sensation, going on to win seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Ted Ross), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Dee Dee Bridgewater), Best Choreography (George Faison) and, in a Broadway first, Best ...

What musicals have 13 Tony nominations? ›

'Hell's Kitchen' and 'Stereophonic' lead Tony Awards with 13 nominations each. Hell's Kitchen is one of the Tony Award nominees for Best Musical.

How many Tony nominations did Book of Mormon get? ›

Competitive awards

The Book of Mormon received 14 nominations, the most of any production, and won nine, including Best Musical; The Scottsboro Boys received 12 nominations, winning none. The revival of Anything Goes won three awards, including Best Revival of a Musical. War Horse won five awards, including Best Play.

Who didn't have a heart in The Wiz? ›

We know that in Wizard of Oz, Tin Man was missing a heart, but had he got a brain? If you've actually seen the movie you'd know that the Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man already each had what they felt they lacked.

Did Newsies receive any Tony Awards if so how many? ›

However, it later gained a cult following on home video, and was ultimately adapted into a stage musical on Broadway. The play was nominated for eight Tony Awards, winning two including Best Original Score for Menken and Feldman.


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