The show must go on for Tony Awards despite the persistence

Nabil Anas

Global Courant

New location? No script? No rehearsal? No sweat.

Welcome to the 2023 Tony Awards, a show with an added shock this time due to the Hollywood writers’ strike.

Unpredictability has been added to what is usually a happy, safe and cozy night.

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The strike has left Broadway’s biggest night unscripted at a new location far from New York City’s theater district. A 90-minute pre-show on Pluto TV from 6:30 PM to 8 PM ET, hosted by Julianne Hough and Skylar Astin, will then join the three-hour main event hosted by Ariana DeBose on CBS and Paramount+ starting at 8 PM ET.

A total of 26 Tony Awards will be presented on Sunday for a season of 40 new productions: 15 musicals, 24 plays and one special engagement during the first full season after the pandemic.

Broadway had some very serious works this season, such as the new plays Cost of Living and The Kite Runner, and revivals of Topdog/Underdog and Death of a Salesman, directed by Wendell Pierce.

A revival of Parade, about the lynching of a Jewish businessman starring Ben Platt, was also well received.

The season also had an element of the fantastic in a puppet-filled adaptation of the lifeboat book Life of Pi, satire in The Thanksgiving Play, and sheer silliness in Shucked and Peter Pan Goes Wrong.

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Actor Hiran Abeysekera performs in a scene from the play Life of Pi, an adaptation of Canadian author Yann Martel’s critically acclaimed novel. Life of Pi has been nominated for five Tony awards, but missed out on being nominated in the best game category. (Polk & Co./The Associated Press)

“Just as the country and the world are resetting, I think our stories and how we get our stories out there are also resetting,” said Kenny Leon, who directed Topdog/Underdog and Ohio State Murders this season.

“The positive thing I take away is the variety of material, from a Black-led Death of a Salesman to new plays like KPOP and Ain’t No Mo’ and Leopoldstadt and Prima Facie. I felt the diversity in almost every way – racially , generations.”

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LOOK | Writer’s Strike May Affect Fall TV Season:

Writers don’t look good for your favorite TV shows

With the Writers Guild of America strike entering its second month, there’s little sign that the jobs campaign will end anytime soon, which doesn’t bode well for fall TV programming.

Some Like It Hot leads nominations

Some Like It Hot, a musical adaptation of the classic 1959 cross-dressing film comedy starring Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, heads into the night with a whopping 13 Tony Award nominations.

For the top crown, it faces & Juliet, which re-imagines Romeo and Juliet and adds some of the biggest pop hits of recent decades; New York, New York, which combined two generations of Broadway royalty in John Kander and Lin-Manuel Miranda; and Shucked, a lightweight musical comedy riddled with puns.

Cast members of the Broadway musical Shucked, seen in an undated promotional photo, will perform at the Tony Awards ceremony in New York on Sunday. (DKC/O&M/The Associated Press)

Critical musical darling and intimate, funny-sad Kimberly Akimbo, with Victoria Clark playing a teenager who ages four times faster than the average human, rounds out the best musical category.

The Best New Plays category is a competition between Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt, which explores Jewish identity through an intergenerational narrative, and Fat Ham, James Ijames’ Pulitzer Prize-winning adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet set at a black family’s barbecue in the modern South.

The rest of the category consists of Ain’t No Mo’, the short-lived but critically acclaimed work of playwright and actor Jordan E. Cooper; Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play Between Riverside and Crazy; and Cost of Living, parallel stories of two caregivers and their respective patients.

The answers to some intriguing questions still linger: Can Audra McDonald (Ohio State Murders) extend her record as the most awarded actor in Tony Awards history?

Will J. Harrison Ghee (Some Like It Hot) or Alex Newell (Shucked) become the first non-binary person to win a Tony for acting? (Last year, Six composer and writer Toby Marlow became the first non-binary winner.)

Performances are scheduled from the casts of Camelot, Into the Woods, & Juliet, Kimberly Akimbo, New York, New York, Parade, Shucked, Some Like It Hot, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

In addition, Joaquina Kalukango – last year’s Tony winner for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical – will sing, as will the casts of A Beautiful Noise and Funny Girl.

That means there will be plenty of star power, from Josh Groban to Lea Michele.

It will all take place at the United Palace Theater, in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood – a new venue for the ceremony, many miles from Times Square and the theater district.

LISTEN | Sharon Washington discusses her Tony-nominated musical New York, New York:

11:16Sharon Washington has been nominated for a Tony Award for her musical tribute to New York, the city she loves

Actor and writer Sharon Washington grew up in an apartment in one of New York City’s public libraries, and wrote a play about it. New York, New York opened on Broadway in March and has been nominated for nine Tonys, including Washington’s nomination for Best Book of a Musical. She tells Brent Bambury about the play and writes about the town she loves.

The show must go on for Tony Awards despite the persistence

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