‘The Outsiders’, ‘Merrily We Roll Along’ and ‘Stereophonic’ win big at Tony Awards

June 18, 2024 - 10:53 AM
1098
David Adjmi, John Johnson, Sue Wagner, Ryan Rumery, Will Butler, David Zinn, Will Brill, Daniel Aukin pose with the award for Best Play for "Stereophonic" at the 77th Annual Tony Awards in New York City, U.S., June 16, 2024. (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

 “The Outsiders,” a musical based on S.E. Hinton’s coming-of-age novel, snagged the coveted Tony Award for best musical Sunday, while a celebrated revival of a Stephen Sondheim classic and a tale of a 1970s rock band also won big.

The ceremony took place for the first time at New York City’s Lincoln Center with Tony-nominated and Oscar-winning actress Ariana DeBose hosting for the third year in a row. This year, DeBose is also producing and she choreographed the sultry song-and-dance number that opened the show.

Danya Taymor won for direction of a musical adaptation of “The Outsiders,” upsetting favored “Merrily We Roll Along” director Maria Friedman.

Best revival of a musical award winner “Merrily We Roll Along” has been a favorite narrative of the season, delighting audiences and critics with the revived production of Sondheim’s most famous flop, which closed after 52 previews and 16 performances in its first go-round on Broadway in 1981.

“Stereophonic” took the Tony Awards for best play and best direction for Daniel Aukin. David Adjmi’s play about a 70s-era rock band making an album, featuring original songs by Will Butler, formerly of Arcade Fire, broke the record for the most nominations for a play in Tonys history.

“Appropriate,” playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ story about three adult siblings reuniting at their family home after the death of their father only to discover troubling family secrets, won best revival of a play.

Jonathan Groff won for best lead actor in a musical for “Merrily We Roll Along” while Maleah Joi Moon won best lead actress in a musical for her role in “Hell’s Kitchen.”

Shaina Taub won best score and best book of a musical for “Suffs,” the story of the suffragette movement, featuring an all-woman cast.

“Succession” star Jeremy Strong won best lead actor in a play for his role in the Henrik Ibsen play “Enemy of the People,” and Daniel Radcliffe, best known for his starring role in the Harry Potter movie franchise, won best featured actor in a musical for “Merrily We Roll Along.”

Sarah Paulson won best lead actress in a play for “Appropriate” while Will Brill beat out two other actors in his production, “Stereophonic,” for best featured actor in a play.

Kecia Lewis, who made her Broadway debut 40 years ago in “Dreamgirls,” was nominated for the first time this season. She won the best featured actress award in a musical for her role as the piano-playing mentor in “Hell’s Kitchen.”

Kara Young, who is the first Black actor, male or female, to be nominated for a Tony three years in a row, won the award for best featured actress in a play for her role in “Purlie Victorious.”

Justin Peck won the best choreography Tony for the dance musical “Illinoise,” which brought Sufjan Steven’s 2005 concept album “Illinois” to the stage.

Dancers including DeBose, reviving her Oscar-winning role as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s film version of “West Side Story,” paid tribute to Broadway legend Chita Rivera, who died in January at the age of 91.

During a pre-show event hosted by actors Julianne Hough and Utkarsh Ambudkar and streamed on the free platform Pluto TV, Tonys were awarded mostly in technical categories.

The pre-show included the award for best regional theater, which went to Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater, and the Isabelle Stevenson Award, which was awarded to Billy Porter for his work as an activist and spokesperson for the LGBTQ+ communities.

Director Jack O’Brien and writer, director and producer George C. Wolfe each received the 2024 Special Tony Award for lifetime achievement in the theater.

Special Tony Awards were also presented to Alex Edelman for his one-man show “Just For Us,” Abe Jacob for his work in sound design, and Nikiya Mathis for her wig design in “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding.”

—Reporting by Kathryn Lurie in New York; editing by Miral Fahmy