Tony Awards slammed for not letting winners Joel Grey and John Kander speak


The 76th annual Tony Awards, held at United Palace Theater on Sunday, were not without controversy.

The annual show celebrating all things Broadway received backlash after Lifetime Achievement Award winners Joel Grey, 91, and John Kander, 96, were not allowed to speak after receiving their award.

The iconic duo were announced as winners and joined on stage by host Ariana DeBose and Julianne Hough.

However, just as soon as they appeared they were awkwardly ushered off, all without saying a word.

Grey was previously given the opportunity to make a speech as he accepted the award, however it was at the pre-show. Kander also received his award at the pre-show from New York, New York writing partner Lin-Manuel Miranda – who dropped out as writer of the opening segment in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America Strike.

Backlash: The 76th annual Tony Awards received backlash after Lifetime Achievement Award winners Joel Grey, 91, and John Kander, 96, were not allowed to speak onstage

Backlash: The 76th annual Tony Awards received backlash after Lifetime Achievement Award winners Joel Grey, 91, and John Kander, 96, were not allowed to speak onstage 

The pair stood on stage for a quick beat while getting a standing ovation, before the ladies walked them back out. 

Fans quickly took to social media to point out the situation, with one writing on Twitter, ‘So why Joel Gray and John Kander not allowed to say something about their lifetime Tony awards.’ 

‘I wanted to hear Joel Gray and John Kander speak for their lifetime achievement awards,’ another added. 

Comments from disappointed fans continued to pour in, with someone else writing, ‘Please, there is NO REASON that these aren’t in the “main” show. It’s infuriating.’ 

‘Disrespectful to John Kander and Joel Gray. They are living legends. Stop pandering to people who were born since 2000.’ 

‘Wait no recap for Joel Gray and John Kander?? Good thing they and their moment moment in Act 1,’ someone else chimed in.

Earlier on Sunday Grey received his award from daughter Jennifer Grey, 63, during the Tony Awards: Act One, Live Pre-Show.

‘It’s ultimately the people, the community… all of you… who have made this ride more outstanding than I could have imagined,’ the actor proudly stated.

No speech? The iconic duo were announced as winners and joined on stage by host Ariana DeBose and Julianne Hough

No speech? The iconic duo were announced as winners and joined on stage by host Ariana DeBose and Julianne Hough

Leaving without a word: However, just as soon as they appeared they were awkwardly ushered off, all without saying a word

Leaving without a word: However, just as soon as they appeared they were awkwardly ushered off, all without saying a word

Pre-show: Grey was previously given the opportunity to make a speech as he accepted the award, however it was at the pre-show

Pre-show: Grey was previously given the opportunity to make a speech as he accepted the award, however it was at the pre-show

Writing partner: Meanwhile Kander received his award from New York, New York writing partner Lin-Manuel Miranda, also at the pre-show

Writing partner: Meanwhile Kander received his award from New York, New York writing partner Lin-Manuel Miranda, also at the pre-show

Upset: Fans quickly took to social media to point out the situation, with one writing on Twitter, 'So why Joel Gray and John Kander not allowed to say something about their lifetime Tony awards'

Upset: Fans quickly took to social media to point out the situation, with one writing on Twitter, ‘So why Joel Gray and John Kander not allowed to say something about their lifetime Tony awards’

Infuriating: 'Please, there is NO REASON that these aren't in the

Infuriating: ‘Please, there is NO REASON that these aren’t in the “main” show. It’s infuriating’

Unfair: 'I wanted to hear Joel Gray and John Kander speak for their lifetime achievement awards,' another added

Unfair: ‘I wanted to hear Joel Gray and John Kander speak for their lifetime achievement awards,’ another added

Living legends: 'Disrespectful to John Kander and Joel Gray. They are living legends. Stop pandering to people who were born since 2000'

Living legends: ‘Disrespectful to John Kander and Joel Gray. They are living legends. Stop pandering to people who were born since 2000’

Disappointed: 'Wait no recap for Joel Gray and John Kander?? Good thing they and their moment moment in Act 1'

Disappointed: ‘Wait no recap for Joel Gray and John Kander?? Good thing they and their moment moment in Act 1’

TONY AWARDS 2023: Winners at a glance

Best Musical — Kimberly Akimbo

Best Play — Leopoldstadt

Best Musical Revival — Parade

Best Leading Actress in a Musical — Victoria Clark, Kimberly Akimbo

Best Leading Actress in a Play — Jodie Comer, Prima Facie

Best Leading Actor in a Musical — J. Harrison Ghee, Some Like It Hot

Best Leading Actor in a Play — Sean Hayes, Good Night, Oscar

Meanwhile an emotional Jennifer teared up as she watched her father accept the honor. 

She introduced him earlier saying, ‘Hello, friends and colleagues of my dad.’

The star added that it was an ‘honor’ to present the award to her father, who is best known for playing the Master of Ceremonies in the film and stage versions of Cabaret, which earned him an Oscar, a Tony and a Golden Globe award.

She already started getting choked up before a video package was played showing footage from her father’s work.

After the presentation she concluded by presenting, ‘your hero, my hero, Joel Grey’ to the stage, earning a standing ovation.

‘My daughter, my beauty, my sweetness. Seven pounds, 11 ounces, no more. No more! Thank you, darling!’ Joel said.

Eight years earlier, Jennifer Grey also presented her father Joel with another lifetime achievement award, and she also got teared up as well.

Jennifer honored Joel with the Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award at the 33rd Annual Fred & Adele Astaire Awards in New York City back in 2015.

Sweet moment: Earlier on Sunday Grey received his award from daughter Jennifer Grey, 63, during the Tony Awards: Act One, Live Pre-Show

Sweet moment: Earlier on Sunday Grey received his award from daughter Jennifer Grey, 63, during the Tony Awards: Act One, Live Pre-Show

Touching: 'It’s ultimately the people, the community… all of you… who have made this ride more outstanding than I could have imagined,' the actor proudly stated

Touching: ‘It’s ultimately the people, the community… all of you… who have made this ride more outstanding than I could have imagined,’ the actor proudly stated

Emotional: Meanwhile an emotional Jennifer teared up as she watched her father accept the honor

Emotional: Meanwhile an emotional Jennifer teared up as she watched her father accept the honor

Cute: At one point she sweetly cuddled up to her dad

Cute: At one point she sweetly cuddled up to her dad 

Fab trio: The duo later posed with host Ariana backstage

Fab trio: The duo later posed with host Ariana backstage 

No hard feelings: They appeared to have no hard feelings about being snubbed from the main show and smiled for snaps

No hard feelings: They appeared to have no hard feelings about being snubbed from the main show and smiled for snaps

Relaxing: They relaxed at the event sitting side by side backstage

Relaxing: They relaxed at the event sitting side by side backstage 

‘I didn’t expect to feel like that,” Jennifer said to the crowd at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, already getting choked up.

She joked, ‘I feel like Liza [Minnelli], all gaspy and stuff!’ She started to speak again but added, Just give me a moment, sorry about that,’ as the crowd broke out in applause.

‘I’m so inspired by my dad. By the sheer breadth of his work, his love of life,’ Grey continued.

‘As someone who has clung to his every move my entire life his incredible career only pales in comparison to the accomplishment of how he lives his life, his gigantic heart. This world is just markedly better for him being here,’ she added.

This year’s ceremony was the latest production to have been impacted by the ongoing Writers Guild of America Strike. 

It marks the first time in 35 years that the Tonys had been afflicted by the WGA strike. 

The ceremony aired on CBS in an unscripted format, and the union agreed not to picket the event. 

TONY AWARD WINNERS 2023

Best Musical

& Juliet

Kimberly Akimbo — WINNER

New York, New York

Shucked

Some Like It Hot

 

Some Like It Hot

Some Like It Hot

Best Play

Ain’t No Mo’

Between Riverside and Crazy

Cost of Living

Fat Ham

Leopoldstadt — WINNER

 

Best Musical Revival

Bob Fosse’s Dancin’

Camelot

Into The Woods

Parade — WINNER

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

 

Best Revival of a Play

 A Doll’s House

The Piano Lesson

The Sign In Sidney Brustein’s Window

Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog — WINNER

 

Best Leading Actress of a Musical

Annaleigh Ashford — Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

Sara Bareilles — Into The Woods

Victoria Clark — Kimberly Akimbo — WINNER

Lorna Courtney — & Juliet

Micaela Diamond — Parade

 

Jessica Chastain, A Doll's House

Jessica Chastain, A Doll’s House

Best Leading Actress of a Play

Jessica Chastain — A Doll’s House

Jodie Comer — Prima Facie — WINNER

Jessica Hecht — Summer, 1976

Audra McDonald — Ohio State Murders

 

Best Leading Actor of a Musical

Christian Borle — Some Like It Hot

J. Harrison Ghee — Some Like It Hot — WINNER

Josh Groban — Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

Brian D’Arcy James — Into The Woods

Ben Platt at the Met Gala 2023

Ben Platt at the Met Gala 2023

Ben Platt — Parade

Colton Ryan — New York, New York

 

Best Leading Actor of a Play

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II — Topdog/Underdog

Corey Hawkins — Topdog/Underdog

Sean Hayes — Good Night, Oscar — WINNER

Stephen McKinley Henderson — Between Riverside and Crazy

Wendell Pierce — Death of a Salesman

 Best Book of a Musical

 & Juliet — David West Read

Kimberly Akimbo — David Lindsay-Abaire — WINNER

New York, New York — David Thompson & Sharon Washington

Shucked — Robert Horn

Some Like It Hot — Matthew López & Amber Ruffin 

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Jordan E. Cooper — Ain’t No Mo’

Samuel L. Jackson — August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson

Arian Moayed — A Doll’s House

Brandon Uranowitz — Leopoldstadt — WINNER

David Zayas — Cost Of Living 

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical 

Kevin Del Aguila — Some Like It Hot

 Kevin Cahoon — Shucked

Justin Cooley — Kimberly Akimbo

Jordan Donica — Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot

Alex Newell — Shucked — WINNER

 

Best Scenic Design of a Play 

Tim Hatley & Andrzej Goulding — Life Of Pi — WINNERS

Miriam Buether — Prima Facie

Rachel Hauck — Good Night, Oscar

Richard Hudson — Leopoldstadt

Dane Laffrey & Lucy Mackinnon — A Christmas Carol 

 

Best Costume Design of a Play

Brigitte Reiffenstuel — Leopoldstadt — WINNER

Tim Hatley, Nick Barnes & Finn Caldwell — Life Of Pi

Dominique Fawn Hill — Fat Ham

Emilio Sosa — Ain’t No Mo’

Emilio Sosa — Good Night, Oscar

 

Best Lighting Design of a Play 

Neil Austin — Leopoldstadt

Natasha Chivers — Prima Facie

Jon Clark — Jon Clark

Bradley King — Fat Ham

Tim Lutkin — Life Of Pi — WINNER

Jen Schriever — Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman

Ben Stanton — A Christmas Carol 

 

Best Direction of a Play

Saheem Ali — Fat Ham

Jo Bonney — Cost Of Living

Jamie Lloyd — A Doll’s House

Patrick Marber — Leopoldstadt — WINNER

Stevie Walker-Webb — Ain’t No Mo’ 

Max Webster — Life Of Pi 

 

Best Sound Design of a Play

Carolyn Downing — Life Of Pi — WINNER

Joshua D. Reid — A Christmas Carol

Ben & Max Ringham — A Doll’s House

Ben & Max Ringham — Prima Facie

Jonathan Deans & Taylor Williams — Ain’t No Mo’ 

 

Best Choreography

Casey Nicholaw — Some Like It Hot — WINNER

Steven Hoggett — Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

Susan Stroman — New York, New York

Jennifer Weber — & Juliet

Jennifer Weber — KPOP 

 

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre 

Joel Grey

John Kander 

 

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre

Victoria Bailey

Lisa Dawn Cave

Robert Fried 

Best Original Score (music and/or lyrics) Written for the Theatre

Kimberly Akimbo — David Lindsay-Abaire/Jeanine Tesori — WINNER

Almost Famous — Tom Kitt/Cameron Crowe & Tom Kitt

KPOP — Helen Park & Max Vernon

Shucked — Brandy Clark & Shane McAnally

Some Like It Hot — Marc Shaiman/Scott Wittman & Marc Shaiman

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play 

Nikki Crawford — Fat Ham

Crystal Lucas-Perry — Ain’t No Mo’

Miriam Silverman — The Sign In Sidney Brustein’s Window — WINNER

Katy Sullivan — Cost Of Living

Kara Young — Cost Of Living 

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical 

Julia Lester — Into The Woods

Ruthie Ann Miles — Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

Bonnie Milligan — Kimberly Akimbo — WINNER

NaTasha Yvette Williams — Some Like It Hot

Betsy Wolfe — & Juliet 

 

Best Scenic Design of a Musical 

Beowulf Boritt — New York, New York — WINNER

Mimi Lien — Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

Scott Pask — Shucked

Scott Pask — Some Like It Hot

Michael Yeargan & 59 Productions — Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot

 

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Gregg Barnes — Some Like It Hot — WINNER

Clint Ramos & Sophia Choi — KPOP

Susan Hilferty — Parade

Jennifer Moeller — Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot

Paloma Young — & Juliet 

 

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Ken Billington — New York, New York

Lap Chi Chu — Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot

Heather Gilbert — Parade

Howard Hudson — & Juliet

Natasha Katz — Some Like It Hot

Natasha Katz — Sweeney Todd: THe Demon Barber Of Fleet Street — WINNER

 

Best Direction of a Musical

Michael Arden — Parade — WINNER

Lear deBessonet — Into The Woods

Casey Nicholaw — Some Like It Hot

Jack O’Brien — Shucked

Jessica Stone — Kimberly Akimbo

 

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Kai Harada — New York, New York

Scott Lehrer & Alex Neumann — Into The Woods 

Gareth Owen — & Juliet

John Shivers — Shucked

Nevin Steinberg — Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street — WINNER

 

Best Orchestrations

Charlie Rosen & Bryan Carter — Some Like It Hot — WINNERS

John Clancy — Kimberly Akimbo

Daryl Waters & Sam Davis — New York, New York

Bill Sherman & Dominic Fallacaro — & Juliet

Jason Howland — Shucked 

 

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award

Jerry Mitchell 

 

Regional Theatre Tony Award

Pasadena Playhouse 



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