Named for actress, stage director and philanthropist Antoinette Perry (1888-1946), who founded the American Theatre Wing, The Tony Awards recognizes excellence in live Broadway theatre. Held at the United Palace Theater in New York City, the 2023 Tony Awards was unscripted due to the ongoing WGA writers' strike and a historic night with the first openly nonbinary actors to win.
With connections to "Leopoldstadt" and "Parade," which took home top prizes, musical thriller "Sweeney Todd," musical comedy "Some Like it Hot" and more, UNCSA made a strong appearance in the night's award-winning productions.
Here's a list of all the 2023 Tony Award-winning productions with UNCSA connections — in alphabetical order.
"Leopoldstadt" won the Tony Award for best play, featured actor in a play, direction in a play and costume design in a play. Regarded by the Wall Street Journal as an "inexpressibly moving, majestic play," "Leopoldstadt" is a passionate drama of love and endurance that begins in the last days of 1899.
Several School of Design & Production alumni have connections to the production, including Brad Peterson (B.F.A. '09), who served as the video programmer, Henry Wilen (B.F.A. '18), who served as the moving light programmer for the play and Tracy Cowit (M.F.A. '16), who served as was the Assistant Sound Engineer on Leopoldstadt.
"Life of Pi" won the Tony Awards for sound design – play, lighting design – play and scenic design – play. Based on Yann Martel's Bestselling Novel, "Life of Pi" is an epic tale of endurance and hope that follows a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi who survives a shipwreck on a lifeboat with the most unlikely of companions: a Royal Bengal tiger.
Several alumni have connections to the production, including School of Dance alumnus Matthew Murphy (H.S. '03) and Design & Production alumni Brad Peterson (B.F.A. '09). Additionally, School of Drama alumni Avery Glymph (B.F.A. '95) played the roles of Father Martin and Admiral Jackson and Brian Thomas Abraham (B.F.A. '99) played Cook and the voice of Richard Parker in the production.
"New York, New York" won the Tony Awards for scenic design – musical. Loosely based on the 1977 film of the same name, "New York, New York" is a glittering love letter to the most fantastic city in the world. The brand-new musical follows a group of New Yorkers who unite to chase their dreams of music, money and love.
Several School of Design & Production alumni have connections to the production, including Johnny Milani (B.F.A. '09) as the production stage manager; Romello Huins (B.F.A. '21) as the assistant scenic designer; JoAnn Battat (B.F.A. '21) as assistant hair supervisor and alumna Rose Rue (B.F.A. '22) as a hairstylist.
"Parade" won the Tony Awards for revival – musical and lighting design – musical. A musical with a book by Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, "Parade" is a dramatization of the 1913 trial and imprisonment, and 1915 lynching, of Jewish American Leo Frank in Georgia.
Several alumni have connections to the production. Design & Production alumni Bethany J. Itterly's (B.F.A. '11) company Bethany Joy Costumes created costume pieces for the play. Rebecca Eckes (B.F.A. '18, M.F.A. '21) is a draper for Bethany Joy Costumes and worked on the production with the company. Additional Design & Production alumni who worked on the production include M. Meriwether Goldstein (B.F.A. '10), who was the assistant costume designer on "Parade." Drama alumna Courtnee Carter (B.F.A. '16) played the role of Angela in "Parade."
"Prima Facie" won the Tony Award for the lead actress – play. The solo drama follows the young, brilliant criminal defense barrister (or attorney), Tessa, whose view of the legal system and its murky moral loopholes abruptly shifts when she is sexually assaulted.
Design & Production alumnus Brad Peterson (B.F.A. '09) served as the associate video designer for the play.
"Shucked" cast member Alex Newell made history as the first out nonbinary person to win the Tony Awards for featured actor – musical. The show follows the story of a brave small-town woman who leaves home searching for someone to figure out why all the corn in the county keeps dying.
Several alumni have connections to the production, including Dance alumnus Matthew Murphy (H.S. '03), who served as the production photographer, and Design & Production alumnus Kenneth Wills (B.F.A. '12), who served as the associate lighting designer for the production.
"Some Like It Hot" won the Tony Awards for orchestration, choreography, costume design – musical and lead actor – musical. Like fellow winner Alex Newell, "Some Like It Hot" star J. Harrison Ghee made history as the first nonbinary person to win the Tony Awards for lead actor – musical. Set in Chicago, when Prohibition has everyone thirsty for excitement, the musical tells the story of two musicians forced to flee the city after witnessing a mob hit. It follows the life-chasing, life-changing trip of a lifetime that ensues.
Several alumni have connections to the production, including Dance alumnus Matthew Murphy (H.S. '03), who served as the production photographer and School of Music alumna Mary Mitchell Campbell (H.S. '92) served as the the music supervisor for the production. Design and Production alumni Caitlin Molloy, who served as the production's hair and makeup supervisor, Sarah Penland (M.F.A. '22), who served as the assistant production manager and Sean Beach (B.F.A. '09), who served as the lighting programmer.
"Sweeney Todd" won the Tony Awards for sound design in a musical and lighting design in a musical. The show follows the unsettling tale of a Victorian-era barber who returns home to London after fifteen years of exile to take revenge on the corrupt judge who ruined his life.
Several alumni have connections to the production, including Dance alumnus Matthew Murphy (H.S. '03), who served as the production photographer. Design & Production alumni Alex Fogel (B.F.A. '09) served as the lighting programmer, Jaechelle Johnson (B.F.A. '16) served as the assistant sound designer and Craig Stelzenmuller (B.F.A. '01) served as the associate lighting designer.
"The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window" won the Tony Award for featured actress – play. Set amidst a stormy political campaign in 1960s Greenwich Village, the play focuses on events after Sidney hangs a political sign urging the end of bossism in the window of his Greenwich Village apartment.
Several Design & Production alumni are attached to the production, including Sarah Penland (M.F.A. '22), who served as the assistant production manager for the production, and Jeremiah Lamm (B.F.A. '09), who owns Empire Technical Fabrications and built the scenery for the production.
During the 2023 Tony Awards, the company of "Camelot" performs "The Lusty Month of May" and "Camelot." The performance featured Drama alumnus Matias De La Flor (B.F.A. '22) in the ensemble.
"Camelot" follows King Arthur from a young, ambitious, idealistic King who dreams of creating a just society to the despairing king bearing witness to his dream's demise.
Did you catch a connection to a 2023 Tonys win that is not included on this list? Send us an email and we will update the story.
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June 14, 2023