Tony Awards 2024: Highlights and top winners from Broadway's biggest night

New York, New York - The coming-of-age musical The Outsiders and Stereophonic, a play about a 1970s band putting together an album, earned top honors Sunday at the Tony Awards, the highest accolades in Broadway theater.

Producer Matthew Rego and the cast and crew of The Outsiders accept the award for Best Musical at the 77th Annual Tony Awards in New York City.
Producer Matthew Rego and the cast and crew of The Outsiders accept the award for Best Musical at the 77th Annual Tony Awards in New York City.  © REUTERS

The Broadway community celebrated its best and brightest at New York's Lincoln Center, hosted by Oscar winner Ariana DeBose for the third year running.

The Outsiders, a stage adaptation of the S.E. Hinton novel about class conflict between two high school gangs in Oklahoma in the 1960s, took home the award for best musical – its fourth on the night, after best director, lighting, and sound design.

"Society changes but the experience of being an outsider is universal," said one of the show's producers, Angelina Jolie, as she introduced the cast's performance, which includes a gritty fight scene.

Zendaya puts tenniscore spin on boho fashion for London theater outing
Zendaya Zendaya puts tenniscore spin on boho fashion for London theater outing

"To any young person, any person feeling on the outside, you are not wrong to see what is unfair, you are not wrong to wish to find your own path."

Stereophonic, written by David Adjmi, took the award for best play. It tells the story of the making of an album by a fictional rock band and features original music from former Arcade Fire member Will Butler.

It won five awards on the night, including best featured actor and best director, after making history as the most nominated play ever with 13 nods.

More acclaimed productions earn Tony Awards

Alicia Keys (l.) and Maleah Joi Moon perform Empire State of Mind at the 77th Annual Tony Awards in New York City.
Alicia Keys (l.) and Maleah Joi Moon perform Empire State of Mind at the 77th Annual Tony Awards in New York City.  © REUTERS

Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along – about the complicated relationship of three friends, told in reverse – was a flop when it originally opened in 1981, but earned redemption by taking four awards including best revival of a musical.

Stars Jonathan Groff and Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame earned trophies for their performances in the show.

The best musical win for The Outsiders was a bit of an upset over Hell's Kitchen, a jukebox musical loosely based on the life of pop singer Alicia Keys, which won prizes for lead actress Maleah Joi Moon and featured actress Kecia Lewis.

Khloé Kardashian makes shocking Ozempic confession!
Khloé Kardashian Khloé Kardashian makes shocking Ozempic confession!

Keys herself took the stage with the cast to perform her massive hit Empire State of Mind – which featured a surprise cameo from Jay-Z, who rapped his verse from outside the theater, where she joined him to end the song.

Sarah Paulson took the Tony for best lead actress in a play for her work in family drama Appropriate, which also won the award for best revival of a play.

Jeremy Strong of Succession fame was named best lead actor in a play for his turn in the revival of Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People.

Broadway flourishes after pandemic closures

Brian Stokes Mitchell, Ariana DeBose, Audra McDonald, and Bebe Neuwirth perform a tribute to Chita Rivera at the 77th Annual Tony Awards in New York City.
Brian Stokes Mitchell, Ariana DeBose, Audra McDonald, and Bebe Neuwirth perform a tribute to Chita Rivera at the 77th Annual Tony Awards in New York City.  © REUTERS

It was a return to form for the Tonys after last year, when the live nationally televised ceremony almost didn't happen due to a strike by the Writers Guild of America. Ultimately, that show went on – unscripted.

Highlights this year included a sizzling rendition of Willkommen from Cabaret starring Eddie Redmayne and high-flying acrobatics from the cast of circus musical Water for Elephants.

Broadway luminaries Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Bebe Neuwirth led a special tribute to the late Chita Rivera, who died in January at the age of 91.

DeBose danced a snippet from West Side Story playing Anita, the character originated by Rivera and for which DeBose won an Academy Award.

And Pete Townshend, the legendary co-founder of The Who, played the opening notes of the performance from the band's rock opera Tommy.

The Broadway League, the industry's national trade association, released data last month indicating that theatergoers were still flocking to Manhattan to catch new productions and revivals of time-honored favorites.

During the 2023-24 season, nearly 90% of available seats were filled, up slightly from last season, which was the first full one since the pandemic, the league said in a statement. That translated to an attendance of 12.3 million.

"Headlines are frankly terrifying most of the time. But the theater is a safe place for us all," DeBose said in her opening monologue.

"And in the most trying of times, art is imperative because art reflects society and provides context for the very real situations that we find ourselves in today."

Cover photo: REUTERS

More on Entertainment: