By Jose Useche, Communications Associate
The wait is over! The Broadway community and fans alike can rejoice that nominations for the 76th Annual Tony Awards have arrived. Of this year’s nominees, musical film adaptation Some Like It Hot led the pack with a total of 13 nominations, and musicals Shucked, New York, New York and & Juliet are in tow with nine nominations each.
Here’s how LGBTQ people and storylines fared in this year’s crop of the best of Broadway:
Openly LGBTQ actors were featured across multiple categories in this year’s nominations including Sean Hayes (Good Night, Oscar) for Best Leading Actor in A Play; J. Harrison Ghee (Some Like It Hot) and Ben Platt (Parade) for Best Leading Actor in a Musical; Jordan E. Cooper (Ain’t No Mo’) and Brandon Uranowitz (Leopoldstadt) for Best Featured Actor in A Play; Alex Newell (Shucked) and Kevin Cahoon (Shucked) for Best Featured Actor in a Musical; and Julia Lester (Into The Woods) for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Openly gay directors Casey Nicholaw, Michael Arden, and Jack O’Brien are also up for Best Direction awards for their work in musicals Some Like It Hot, Parade, and Shucked, respectively.
LGBTQ themes shined in multiple Tony nominated plays on the Great White Way for this year’s season, including Black queer powerhouses Fat Ham and Ain’t No Mo’, both nominated for Best New Play.
In the Best New Musical category, more LGBTQ content than not earned a nom, including Kimberly Akimbo which delights audiences each night at the Booth Theatre with its hilarious, heartwarming queer teen Greek chorus.
Akimbo joins Some Like It Hot, the most nominated show of the season, which brings Black queer themes front and center through the story and songs of lovestruck musician “Jerry/Daphne,” an arc carried fearlessly and expertly by nonbinary performer J. Harrison Ghee. Ghee joins the show-stopping Alex Newell (Lulu in Shucked) in making history as the first-ever nonbinary performers to be nominated for a Tony in acting categories. Some Like It Hot was also written by openly gay Latino playwright and screenwriter, Matthew Lopez, whose resume boasts the upcoming film adaptation of queer literature fav “Red, White and Royal Blue,” and the 2020 Tony-award winning production of The Inheritance.
Other LGBTQ Best New Musical notable includes country comedy Shucked, which features two openly gay leads, Grey Henson as Storyteller 2, the show’s cheeky and slick narrator, and Kevin Cahoon as Peanut, Cobby County’s whacky but wise townsperson, and a largerly queer creative team. The music was written by the now Tony nominated queer country songwriting duo Shane McAnally and Brandy Clark, with a story crafted by openly gay writer Robert Horn, who is now up for Best Book Of A Musical.
And of course, this would not be a roundup of musical queer storylines on Broadway without a special mention to the beloved coming-of-age jukebox musical & Juliet which boldly explores gender identity and sexuality with a little help from Max Martin classics like Katy Perry’s “ROAR” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone.”
Lastly, despite the LGBTQ representation across multiple categories, this year’s Tony’s are not without an important call to be more inclusive and welcoming for trans and non-binary performers and creators. ” & Juliet’s Justin David Sullivan gained national attention and praise when they withdrew from Tony Awards consideration this February, citing that as a nonbinary performer, gendered categories have no place for their excellence.
View this post on Instagram
The 76th Tony Awards will be hosted by Academy-Award winning actress Ariana DeBose, for a second time. Tune in Broadway’s biggest night LIVE on Sunday, June 11, 2023 from the historic United Palace in Washington Heights, in New York City from 8:00-11:00 PM, ET/5:00-8:00 PM, PT on the CBS Television Network and on Paramount+.