The 76th Tony Awards® celebration will take place on June 11, 2023, in New York City. Presented annually, the awards honor playwrights, directors, actors, composers, costume designers, choreographers, and other professionals for outstanding contributions to theater.
Winners of certain awards have been announced in anticipation of the June 11 ceremony (Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre, Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award). Nominations for other awards were announced live on May 2 by Lea Michele and Myles Frost.
While we wait to learn who the rest of this year’s winners will be, we want to take a moment to recognize the countless artists, stage managers, and other talented individuals who collaborate – to such brilliant effect – in the American theater industry.
To that end, we’ve rounded up insights from some theater professionals whom we have interviewed over the years for our #StandCreative series.
Chris Stasiuk, Head Treasurer of St. James Theater
The total Broadway workforce is around 100,000 people. You have to think about every ticket seller, ticket taker, usher, stagehand, dresser, hair and make-up artist, security member, and housecleaner – every single person that it takes to put on a show, including of course all the actors, musicians, directors, and writers.
And then you think, what does Broadway bring in? Tourists. New York hotels get busy, in part, because of Broadway. The restaurants fill up with Broadway ticket holders when Broadway is thriving. The Uber and cab drivers get more riders. The guy selling coffee on the corner gets more business.
Broadway’s closure [during COVID-19 lockdowns] has been a catastrophe for New York. It didn’t just employ so many people – it brought so many people in. It brought our city to life.
Read our full conversation with Chris Stasiuk here.
Georgia Stitt, Composer and Lyricist (Snow Child, Big Red Sun)
In college, because I played the piano, I started getting work as an accompanist for little musical theater productions. My conducting teacher asked me if I wanted to go work at a summer stock theater, which was one of those “nine shows in 11 weeks” deals. You do a different show every week, which meant I would have to sit there on the piano and work intensely on a show for a week, and then they would move into performance and I would start learning the score for the next show. I realized that these theatrical scores were complex pieces of music in their own right and that somebody had written them. Also, they were fun to work on and theater people were also fun. I started wondering how one makes a life in the theater. I tried writing a musical myself and then got into grad school for musical theater writing. …
It’s safe to say that the goal of most new musicals, even if distantly, is to get a series of productions that lead to Broadway. Broadway is where a piece gets branded. A logo gets designed for it, marketing gets put behind it, it receives a cast album, and it gets sent out into the world with the validity of the Broadway stamp of approval behind it.
Read our full conversation with Georgia Stitt here.
Doug Wright, Playwright (Quills, I Am My Own Wife)
… [S]ometimes I feel like the diverse subjects that I’ve undertaken throughout my career have been a kind of liability. You hear a few poetic phrases of a Tennessee Williams play and you immediately recognize it as Tennessee Williams. You hear some really vivid, staccato cursing and you know it’s David Mamet. But I think my writing voice might be somewhat elusive because the works I have chosen are pretty autonomous and distinct from one another.
But I really disagree with the notion, “write what you know,” and when I have occasion to teach, I always tell students to write into the gritty heart of something that confuses you profoundly. Don’t write for a perceived marketplace. Don’t write what you think will be commercial. If you sit down and open a vein and tell the world something so precious and so secret that you have never even verbalized it before, then you will break through the marketplace.
I think that’s the noblest thing to do as a playwright, and the hardest thing to do – but if you can do that then you’re almost guaranteed to break through.
Read our full conversation with Doug Wright here.
As fun or glamorous as working on Broadway sounds and, frequently, is, our friends in the theater business know that it requires more than talent. To achieve success, they have done a great deal of difficult, soul-searching work!
Enlighted and inspired by their examples, we’ll be watching the Tony Awards® with keen appreciation for the efforts of all the workers who make Broadway a terrific success.
Until the awards celebration, find some creativity wherever you can. Stay safe, and be well. #StandCreative