Tony Awards 2023: A night of unscripted magic and historic moments!

New York, New York - The 76th annual Tony Awards defied expectations and delivered an epic celebration of Broadway's star talents, even making history along the way.

The 76th annual Tony Awards went off without a hitch in first-ever unscripted territory with major historical wins, which saw (from l. to r.) J. Harrison Ghee, Jodie Comer, and LaChanze nab big wins.
The 76th annual Tony Awards went off without a hitch in first-ever unscripted territory with major historical wins, which saw (from l. to r.) J. Harrison Ghee, Jodie Comer, and LaChanze nab big wins.  © Collage: Jemal Countess, Cindy Ord / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Lights, camera, and unscripted action!

The 2023 Tony Awards took center stage Sunday night at a brand-new venue, the United Palace, in New York City, delivering an evening filled with unexpected winners, show-stopping performances, and surprises galore.

Host Ariana DeBose set the stage on fire with a spontaneous opening performance that knocked the audience's socks off.

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Selena Gomez Selena Gomez wows with stunning back-to-back fashion in Cannes

"I'm live and unscripted. You're welcome," DeBose said. "So to anyone who may have thought that last year was a bit unhinged, to them, I say, 'Darlings, buckle up.'"

Despite the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, which left the event unscripted, the Tony Awards proved that spontaneity could lead to some incredible moments.

One of the most unexpected moments came when Kimberly Akimbo stole the show, earning a well-deserved five Tony Awards, including Best Book and Score.

In an incredible feat for the LGBTQ+ community, J. Harrison Ghee and Alex Newell became the first nonbinary actors to nab Tony Awards for their outstanding and awe-inspiring performances in Some Like It Hot and Shucked.

The awards ceremony also embraced important stories like Leopoldstadt, a play exploring Jewish identities across generations, which touched hearts and took home the Best Play award.

Standout moments of the 2023 Tony Awards in New York City

Actor Denée Benton took a jab at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis while speaking at the 2023 Tony Awards.
Actor Denée Benton took a jab at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis while speaking at the 2023 Tony Awards.  © THEO WARGO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Jodie Comer, known for her captivating role in Killing Eve, won Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for her powerful performance in Prima Facie, shining a spotlight on flaws within sexual assault laws.

And Bonnie Milligan, winner of Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Kimberly Akimbo, had an empowering message for everyone.

"I want to tell everybody that doesn't maybe look like what the world is telling you what you should look like - whether you're not pretty enough, you're not fit enough, your identity is not right, who you love isn't right - that doesn't matter."

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Denée Benton, a talented actor and CMU alum, made a bold statement on stage amidst the controversy surrounding Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

"Earlier tonight, CMU and the Tony Awards presented the 2023 Excellence in Theatre Education Award. And while I am certain that the current Grand Wizard… I'm sorry, excuse me, governor of my home state of Florida will be changing… I am sure that he will be changing the name of this following town immediately," she said, referencing Plantation, Florida.

Meanwhile, Tony Award-winning director Parade Michael Arden's bleeped-out speech had everyone on social media talking.

"Growing up, I was called the F-word more times than I could remember," he said. "And all I can say now is I'm a f****t with a Tony!"

This year's Tony Awards proved that even without a script, the magic of Broadway could shine through and light up the world with important conversations.

Cover photo: Collage: Jemal Countess, Cindy Ord / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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