The lights dimmed, the curtains rose, and the 76th Annual Tony Awards took center stage, honoring the best of Broadway’s exceptional talent and mesmerizing performances. This prestigious event, held on a glamorous evening in New York City, celebrated the magic and artistry of theater, bringing together actors, directors, designers, and theater lovers from around the world. From captivating musicals to thought-provoking dramas, the Tony Awards showcased the brilliance that graced the stages of Broadway during the previous season.
TONY AWARDS5 Surprises From the 76th Annual Tony AwardsTopdog/Underdog, which closed several months ago, took home only one win–and it was for Best Revival of a Play.
While the 76th Annual Tony Awards were certainly different from many previous ceremonies, with the festivities moved uptown to Washington Heights’ United Palace theatre and the entire evening unscriptd due to the WGA Strike, there were other surprises at the June 11 awards. From landmark wins to some shut-outs, Playbill takes a look at the moments that were revelatory—and in some cases, shocking. (Read the full list of this year’s winners here.)
Read on for some surprises and other breakout moments from this year’s awards presentation.
Casey Nicholaw’s First Choreography Tony
The Tonys took it up a step this year, awarding beloved director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw with his first Tony statuette for choreography. While Nicholaw previously received the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical for his work on The Book of Mormon, Some Like It Hot marks the first time Nicholaw came out on top for his dance, after six previous nominations. Best Choreography was one of Some Like It Hot‘s four Tony wins this year, which is a reason to dance for joy, indeed!
Life of Pi Nearly Swept the Design Categories
Even though it did not receive a Best Play nomination last month, Life of Pi ended up winning more awards than the other Best Play nominees. The West End transfer practically swept the design categories with three wins. It fared better than several other plays, including Ain’t No Mo’ and A Doll’s House, which each had six nominations but did not take home any statues.
Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog Takes Best Revival of a Play—And Nothing Else
The win, in and of itself, is anything but surprising: Suzan-Lori Parks’ play is a Pulitzer Prize winner and, inarguably, a major piece of work within the canon of American plays. What is surprising is that the production managed to take the Best Revival of a Play category despite having closed months ago and winning no other categories. (The production had received three nods; the other two were in the Leading Actor in a Play category, meaning the show could only have won two awards this year.) In the Best Revival category, the production was nominated in a category that also included the also-closed The Piano Lesson as well as the the currently running The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window. Conventional Tony wisdom says that running during the voting period is often necessary to win, but that was not the case this year.
14 Shows Went Home Empty-Handed
For some shows, this year’s ceremony was a night spent celebrating their fellow nominees and the artistry of Broadway this season from other shows. Among the shows that received nominations but no wins were & Juliet, Ain’t No Mo’, A Doll’s House, Cost of Living, Fat Ham, and Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot, which all received five or more nominations. Others that had three or less nominations that left without a statue were A Christmas Carol, KPOP, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, Between Riverside and Crazy, Almost Famous, Ohio State Murders, and Summer, 1976.
The Show Ended on Time
For every awards show, a common complaint is the show is too darn long. That may have been the biggest surprise of all: The Tony Awards ended at 11:01 PM EST. This year’s format of awards presentation and performances, rinse and repeat, with very little banter in between, made for a brisk evening. This year may have been unscripted and subject to unusual challenges, but when looking at the 76th Annual Tony Awards as a whole, it would be difficult to have any complaints about the way it was presented.