The Biggest Nominees of the 76th Tony Awards

76th Tony Awards poster

(Courtesy of CBS)

By Haley Freeman, Arts Writer


Why talk when you can sing, and why sing when you can dance? Musicals and plays have been an integral part of entertainment inhabiting the theaters along Broadway in Manhattan, New York City, since the 1700s. Classic musicals like “Wicked” and, until its April 2023 closure, “The Phantom of the Opera” have brought countless audiences together on Broadway, London’s West End and national tours.

Musicals challenge relationships, giving us some of the most valuable stories of love and loss. Storytelling, sharing the stage with epic feats of singing and dancing in musicals, also involves skillful costume design, set design and lighting design. The first Tony Awards was held in 1947 to give musical theater lovers a night to recognize and celebrate each of the new shows produced in one of Broadway’s 41 theaters each year. This year, The 76th Tony Awards are June 11 and will be hosted by Ariana DeBose for the second year in a row.

Below, I break down the 76th Tony Award Show nominees for the “big four” categories: Best Musical, Best Musical Revival, Best Play and Best Play Revival. 

("Some Like It Hot" ensemble via
“Some Like It Hot” (Courtesy of NBC News)

Best Musical

There are five nominees for Best Musical this year: “Shucked,” “& Juliet,” “Some Like It Hot,” “Kimberly Akimbo” and “New York, New York.”

Shucked” is a comedy musical inspired by the viral vegetable, corn. The show had its world premiere right here at the Pioneer Theatre and has had audiences in stitches ever since.

“& Juliet” was a hit in the West End and now makes its debut for U.S. audiences. Using pop music as the soundtrack, “& Juliet” asks what would happen if Juliet didn’t end her life for Romeo.

Set in Chicago during prohibition, “Some Like It Hot” is a musical comedy about two musicians who are forced to leave the Windy City after witnessing a mob hit.“Some Like It Hot” rakes in the most nominations this year with a lucky 13. The other musicals nominated in the Best New Musical category have nine nominations, other than “Kimberly Akimbo” with 8.

“Kimberly Akimbo” has been a little low on the radar, coming from Off-Broadway to Broadway in late 2022. “Kimberly Akimbo” is about a girl and her family as they navigate moving to a new town in New Jersey and the hysterical circumstances as a result.

“New York, New York” is a new musical with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb with additional lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton”). The show is a snapshot of multiple people in New York trying to make ends meet as they dream of “music, money and love.”

I saw “New York, New York” in early May 2023, and think it has great award potential in terms of choreography and set design. I met up with former New York City Ballet principal dancer Stephen Hanna after the show and spoke on how fabulous the dance numbers were. While nominated, I don’t think lead actor Colton Ryan will be taking home a Tony for his part though, despite the massive internet crush on him. I am however surprised that the lead actress of “New York, New York,” Anna Uzele, wasn’t nominated. I think Uzele had great vocals and portrayed a much more interesting and motivated character than Ryan. Her character works to success while entertainment executives treat her horribly due to race and gender.

("New York, New York" ensemble via
(“New York, New York” ensemble via

Best Musical Revival

Did somebody say Sondheim? I know I did. Taking personal bias aside from my favorite Broadway lyricist, we see four musicals nominated for best revival this season:“Sweeney Todd” and “Into the Woods,” both with music and lyrics written by Stephen Sondheim in the late 1970s and ’80s respectively, “Parade” from the late ’90s, and “Camelot,” from 1960.

These musicals have absolutely star-studded casts and creative teams. Sara Bareilles (“Waitress”) and Phillipa Soo (“Hamilton”) were The Baker’s Wife and Cinderella, respectively, in “Into the Woods” until the show’s closing in January. Bareilles’ Best Leading Actress in a Musical nomination is one of six nominations for the show. Meanwhile, Soo now stars as Guenevere in “Camelot,” the classic story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is played by Josh Groban in “Sweeney Todd.” Receiving eight nominations, the most of any show in the Best Musical Revival category, “Sweeney Todd” is about a barber and pie shop owner who put their talents together to cook up some revenge. “Stranger Things” star Gaten Matarazzo plays Tobias Ragg, adding just a little more star power.

In “Parade,” a 13-year-old girl is found dead in a pencil factory, resulting in the Jewish superintendent of the factory, played by Ben Platt, being falsely accused of the crime. “Parade” has six nominations. Each of these revivals has brought new energy to their respective musicals, and I think “Sweeney Todd” could be the winner of Best Musical Revival.

(Annaleigh Ashford and Josh Groban in "Sweeney Todd" via
(Annaleigh Ashford and Josh Groban in “Sweeney Todd” via

Best Play

Nominees for Best Play are “Ain’t No Mo’,” “Cost of Living,” “Fat Ham,” “Leopoldstadt” and “Between Riverside and Crazy.”

I’ll describe the comedy “Ain’t No Mo’” with its one-line question: “What if the U.S. government offered Black Americans one-way plane tickets to Africa?” “Ain’t No Mo’” has six total Tony nominations.

While only on Broadway for one month, “Cost of Living” racked up five nominations. The play revolves around people, many of whom have disabilities, and their relationships which bring them together. The original stars of the play, Gregg Mozgala and Katy Sullivan, return for the Broadway production.

“Fat Ham” received five Tony Award nominations and is a “playful” riff of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

“Leopoldstadt” follows the rise and fall of the Jewish community in Vienna from 1899 to 1955 through the lens of one family. This play is a downer as the family experiences death, the Great Depression, the rise of Bolshevism and the Nazi invasion. “Leopoldstadt” ties with “Ain’t No Mo’” for six Tony nominations. All plays seem to be strong contenders for Best Play this year.

("Fat Ham" ensemble via
(“Fat Ham” ensemble via

Best Play Revival

A Doll’s House,” “Topdog/Underdog,” “The Piano Lesson” and “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” are the Best Revival of a Play nominees.

“A Doll’s House” was written by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen and premiered in 1879. This revival is a reworked version by Amy Herzog, focusing on a family and the parents’ relationship. 2022 Academy Award Winner for Best Actress Jessica Chastain plays the lead and is no doubt the competition to beat this year for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play. The show has six total nominations.

“Topdog/Underdog” premiered Off-Broadway in 2001 and is a dark comic fable about two brothers from rivalry confronting their haunted past. The show received three nominations.

Samuel L. Jackson is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for “The Piano Lesson,” written in 1987. “The Piano Lesson” follows the Charles family after the Great Depression, revolving around their family heirloom piano, decorated with carvings by their enslaved ancestor. Jackson originated the role of Boy Willie in the show’s original run.

“The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” holds another star studded cast as we see Oscar Isaac (“Star Wars”) and Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”). The show is a 1964 play set at the same time in Sidney and Iris Brustein’s apartment in Greenwich Village. “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” reflects the changing world at the time and how this pressures the Brusteins’ marriage. Miriam Silverman holds the only other nomination for the play being nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Play.

(Okieriete Onaodowan and Jessica Chastain in "A Doll's House" via
(Okieriete Onaodowan and Jessica Chastain in “A Doll’s House” via

The Tonys Amidst the WGA Strike

Offstage there has been a lot of drama concerning if the Tonys would even be able to air due to the Writers Guild of America strike. The WGA won’t picket the award show this year, but is discouraging any guild members who are nominated from attending. The 2023 Tonys will also consist only of material written prior to the strike, leaving the rest unscripted for the first time ever. Check out our article for more information.

The Tony Awards Show is June 11, broadcasting live on CBS and Paramount+ from the United Palace Theater in New York City. After the awards, be sure to check out Josi Hinds’ article covering the winners and recapping theater’s biggest night.


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