The 2024 Toni Awards

Happy Tony Awards Day! This year has been one of the most exciting years for theatre with a record number of new shows opening, as well as some pretty distinct innovative works. There’s been a lot of speculation surrounding this year’s awards, and after seeing most of the shows eligible for awards this year, it’s hard to pick a single standout winner in each category. I have yet to see The Outsiders, The Great Gatsby, An Enemy of the People, and Merrily We Roll Along, and I did not get the chance to see Prayer for the French Republic, Patriots, Doubt, or Uncle Vanya. However, I felt that a few nominations were missing from this year’s docket. I do believe everyone nominated was incredibly deserving of their recognition, but here are just a few individuals and teams I wish would have had the opportunity to be recognized as well!

Once Upon a One More Time

Once Upon a One More Time was genuinely and unironically one of my favorite shows of the season, and while I know it wasn’t the most popular, I do wish it got a bit more credit. Justin Guarini was an absolute standout in his role as Prince Charming, enough that I thought he would have earned at least a nomination for Best Actor. However, the greatest disappointment was that the show did not receive a nomination for best choreography. The show’s choreographers, Keone and Mari Madrid, did an incredible job adapting commercial dance styles for a theatrical environment and even highlighted the original Britney Spears choreography at all the right moments without being completely reliant on the source material. 

How to Dance in Ohio

When I said I thought How to Dance in Ohio was going to get a special Tony Award or nomination, I meant it! The cast and creative team made a huge step forward in theatrical representation and building an inclusive environment for both the performers and the audience. I wish they would have received more large-scale recognition for the work they had done not only to celebrate but also to help pave the way forward for more inclusive works, especially at a time when the accessibility of Broadway has become a centerpiece of industry conversation.

Lempicka

I know Lempicka was not a perfect show and it needed some more editing before going to Broadway, but it was such a fun show and it developed quite a cult following. I was anticipating George Abud to receive a Featured Actor nod for his role as Marinetti and was very surprised to see his name not mentioned during the nominations. I also know I am biased since I have been a fan of her entire portfolio of work, but I was hoping to see Paloma Young nominated for her costume designs for the production. 

The Cottage

Seeing The Cottage was one of the first times I walked away from a show immediately saying, “Yes, that performer is absolutely getting a Tony nomination.” And yes, “that performer” was Dana Steingold. The entire cast was hilarious, but Dana stood out amongst seasoned professionals with her extravagant comedic performance and her dedication to a role that might have otherwise been just a background character. The Cottage also had such a lavish and intricate set design with so many interactive pieces that I thought a second nomination would have been secured. 

The Notebook

X (FKA Twitter) has said it enough, but I will say it again: The Notebook should have been nominated for Best Score and Best Production of a Musical. It was a beautiful and moving show and there’s no other way to describe the music than gorgeous. I’m so happy that at least several of the performers were nominated, but I felt the production should’ve gotten a little more recognition. 

Melissa Etheridge: My Window

I know that technically Melissa Etheridge: My Window was ineligible for most of the Tony Awards since it didn’t fit into either the play or musical category, but the projection work on this show, as well as the live sound mixing, was so impressive and memorable. While storytelling and personal narrative were at the core of the production, the technical elements helped the audience to feel immersed in Etheridge’s perspective.

 

It’s going to be quite exciting to see who wins tonight, but regardless of who takes the award home, there are so many incredible pieces of theatre to see on and off Broadway this summer. Members of every production team should be incredibly proud of the work they put forward this season, and here’s to an equally exciting 2024-45 Broadway season, too!

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