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6 takeaways from the 2023 Tony Awards


NEW YORK - It was an unusual year for the 76th Annual Tony Awards. It was almost canceled due to the Writers Guild of America strike. There was no script. 

It was first held at the United Palace, an old, extravagant movie theater in the Dominican neighborhood of Washington Heights, where the previous Tony-winning musical was set — and which looked hilarious. 

(“It's so hot out there,” Sean Hayes said as he walked into the media room after winning the Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama for Goodnight, Oscar.) There was no big, sweeping winner. And yet, it was a surprisingly entertaining show.

Let's do it. If you just want a list of the major winners, here they are. But here are six things that impressed me after watching the Tony Awards on Sunday night:

Alex Newell in a sparkling gold dress won the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his role in Shook. He was the first non-binary actor to win a Tony Award.

He said, "I've wanted it all my life." "Broadway, thanks for watching me. I shouldn't be here as a queer, non-binary, fat, black little kid from Massachusetts."

And then, shortly after, J.J. Harrison Ghee became the second actor to win Best Leading Actor for his role as a jazz musician in Some Like It Hot. 

He came out as nonbinary just over a year ago and in the media room, surrounded by a packed room of reporters, he said it's important for others to be their authentic selves.

"You may think you're afraid—afraid of what? Whose opinion? If it makes you happy, do it," he said.

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