On Sunday, June 11, the Tony Awards went on as planned amid cancellations because of the ongoing writers strike. Without writers to finalize a script, host Ariana DeBose went without – a seriously impressive feat. With DeBose hosting, there were many historical wins. Actors Alex Newell and J. Harrison Ghee were the first non-binary actors to win a Tony. Kimberly Akimbo won best musical, Leopoldstadt won best play, and Parade best revival for a musical. Even big-time Hollywood stars Jodie Comer and Sean Hayes took home a few awards as well. The show went smoothly and ended on time, thanks to quick speeches and introductions.
When the show began, according to the Hollywood Reporter, the host “acknowledged and informed the audience about the WGA strike. She even thanked all the parties for coming to a compromise to allow the show to move forward.” The show is one of the first major shows to be affected by the strike. WGA members were told not to attend the ceremony, send in pre-recorded acceptance speeches, or let a non-member accept the award in their behalf.
The iconic awards ceremony has been moved in recent years from Radio City Music Hall to the United Palace Theatre, and it is not the first time the show has been held during a WGA strike or gone unscripted. The last time it happened was 1988, the year the Phantom of the Opera came out and Angela Lansbury hosted.