2022 Tony Awards winners list: ‘A Strange Loop,’ ‘MJ’ and more win big

Michael R. Jackson's 'big, Black and queer' musical previously won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Drama

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Broadway is back! After a complete year-long shutdown and a slow return last season, the theater community came together on Sunday night to celebrate its first full season since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, “A Strange Loop,” took home the biggest prize of the night.

75th Annual Tony Awards - Show
Barbara Whitman, Michael R. Jackson, Jaquel Spivey and the cast and crew accept the award for Best Musical for “A Strange Loop” on June 12, 2022 at the “75th Annual Tony Awards” at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

Described as a “big, Black and queer-ass American Broadway show,” “A Strange Loop” has earned raves since it premiered off-Broadway in 2019. The musical by Michael R. Jackson centers on an usher at “The Lion King” on Broadway, who is writing a musical about an usher at “The Lion King” on Broadway, who is writing a musical about … get it? What lies beneath, however, is a story centered in the Black, queer experience and what it means to make authentic art. Since its 2019 off-Broadway premiere, the show earned the Pulitzer Prize in Drama and has finally made its way to The Great White Way in 2022. On Sunday night, “A Strange Loop” took home the coveted prize of Best Musical, as well as Best Book of a Musical (Michael R. Jackson).

Jackson, who started working on the project almost 20 years ago, said in his speech, “I wrote it at a time when I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. I didn’t know how I was going to move forward. I felt unseen. I felt unheard. I felt misunderstood, and I just wanted to create a little bit of a life raft for myself as a Black gay man.”

The show also made history when Jennifer Hudson earned a Tony for co-producing the musical, ushering her into the esteemed EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award winner) category of artists. “A Strange Loop” even made history during the announcement of the nominations earlier this year when L. Morgan Lee, an actress in the show, became the first openly trans actress to ever be nominated for a Tony Award.

75th Annual Tony Awards - Press Room
Myles Frost poses in the press room on June 12, 2022 with the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for “MJ” during the 75th Annual Tony Awards at 3 West Club in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

“MJ the Musical” also took home some major awards, including Best Choreography and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical. Myles Frost, who plays Michael Jackson in the jukebox musical, gave a powerful speech dedicated to his craft and family, all after taking to the stage to perform “Smooth Criminal” with his castmates.

“Mom, I made it. I am so honored and so blessed and so grateful,” he said before gleefully singing, “I just can’t control my feet” from “Blame it On the Boogie” by the Jacksons.

Another standout performance of the night came from “Paradise Square” actress Joaquina Kalukango, who brought the house down with her big song, “Let it Burn.” In her speech for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, she dedicated it to God, her ancestors that came before her and her family.

75th Annual Tony Awards - Show
Joaquina Kalukango performs a number from “Paradise Square” on June 12 ,2022 at the 75th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

The show also featured a rousing speech from Phylicia Rashad, who took home the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her work in Skeleton Crew. While accepting the award, Rashad stressed that a win like this is “the work of many people,” and that no one comes to it alone.

Ariana DeBose, fresh off her history-making win at the Oscars this year, hosted the ceremony, which was a rousing tribute to all things Broadway. From reference to famous shows like “A Chorus Line” and “Chicago,” to some of her own credits including “Hamilton” and “Bring it On!”, DeBose sang and danced throughout the entire show, which focused not only on the big stars of Broadway, but the understudies, crew and COVID-19 team members who were vital in helping the industry bounce back.

Check out the full list of winners below:

Best Play 

Clyde’s
Hangmen
Skeleton Crew
The Lehman Trilogy
The Minutes

Best Musical 

Girl From the North Country
MJ
Mr. Saturday Night
Six
A Strange Loop
Paradise Square

Best Revival of a Play 

American Buffalo
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf
How I Learned to Drive
Take Me Out
Trouble in Mind

Best Revival of a Musical 

Caroline, or Change
Company
The Music Man

Best Book of a Musical 

BIlly Crystal, Lowell Ganz, and Babloo Mandel, Mr. Saturday Night
Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop
Lynn Nottage, MJ
Christina Anderson, Craig Lucas, and Larry Kirwan, Paradise Square
Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Six
Conor McPherson, Girl From the North Country

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre 

Tom Kitt and Michael Korie, Flying Over Sunset
Jason Robert Brown and Amanda Green, Mr. Saturday Night
Jason Howland, Nathan Tysen, and Masi Asare, Paradise Square
Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Six
Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop

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

Simon Russell Beale, The Lehman Trilogy
Adam Godley, The Lehman Trilogy
Adrian Lester, The Lehman Trilogy
David Threlfall, Hangmen
David Morse, How I Learned to Drive
Sam Rockwell, American Buffalo
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Lakawanna Blues

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

LaChanze, Trouble in Mind
Deirdre O’Connell, Dana H.
Mary-Louise Parker, How I Learned To Drive
Gabby Beans, The Skin of Our Teeth
Ruth Negga, Macbeth

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

Billy Crystal, Mr. Saturday Night
Myles Frost, MJ
Hugh Jackman, The Music Man
Rob McClure, Mrs. Doubtfire
Jaquel Spivey, A Strange Loop

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

Sharon D Clarke, Caroline or Change
Carmen Cusack, Flying Over Sunset
Sutton Foster, The Music Man
Joaquina Kalukango, Paradise Square
Mare Winningham, The Girl From the North Country

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

Alfie Allen, Hangmen
Chuck Cooper, Trouble in Mind
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Take Me Out
Michael Oberholtzer, Take Me Out
Jesse Williams, Take Me Out
Ron Cephas Jones, Clyde’s

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

Uzo Aduba, Clyde’s
Kara Young, Clyde’s
Phylicia Rashad, Skeleton Crew
Rachel Dratch, POTUS
Julie White, POTUS
Kenita R. Miller, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf

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

Matt Doyle, Company
Jared Grimes, Funny Girl
Sidney DuPont, Paradise Square
A.J. Shively, Paradise Square
John-Andrew Morrison, A Strange Loop

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

Jeannette Bayardelle, Girl From The North Country
Shoshana Bean, Mr. Saturday Night
Jayne Houdyshell, The Music Man
L Morgan Lee, A Strange Loop
Patti LuPone, Company
Jennifer Simard, Company

Best Scenic Design of a Play 

Anna Fleischle, Hangmen
Beowulf Borrit, POTUS
Scott Pask, American Buffalo
Michael Carahan and Nicholas Hussong, Skeleton Crew
Adam Rigg, The Skin of Our Teeth
Es Devlin, The Lehman Trilogy

Best Scenic Design of a Musical 

Arnuflo Maldonado, A Strange Loop
Beowulf Boritt ad 59 Productions, Flying Over Sunset
Bunny Christie, Company
Derek McLane and Peter Nigrini, MJ
Allen Moyer, Paradise Square

Best Costume Design of a Play 

Emilio Sosa, Trouble in Mind
Montana Levi Blanco, The Skin of Our Teeth
Jane Greenwood, Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite
Sarafina Bush, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf
Jennifer Moeller, Clyde’s

Best Costume Design of a Musical 

Toni-Leslie James, Paradise Square
Santo Loquasto, The Music Man
Gabriella Slade, Six
Paul Tazewell, MJ
Fly Davis, Caroline, or Change
William Ivey Long, Diana, The Musical

Best Lighting Design of a Play 

Joshua Carr, Hangmen
Jiyoun Chang, For Colored Girls…
Jon Clark, The Lehman Trilogy
Jane Cox, Macbeth
Yi Zhao, The Skin of Our Teeth

Best Lighting Design of a Musical 

Neil Austin, Company
Tim Deiling, Six
Donald Holder, Paradise Square
Natasha Katz, MJ
Bradley King, Flying Over Sunset
Jen Schriever, A Strange Loop

Best Sound Design of a Play 

Justin Ellington, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf
Mikhail Fiksel, Dana H.
Palmer Hefferan, The Skin of Our Teeth
Mikaal Sulaiman, Macbeth
Nick Powell and Dominic Bilkey, The Lehman Trilogy

Best Sound Design of a Musical 

Simon Baker, Girl From the North Country
Ian Dickinson for Autograph, Company
Paul Gatehouse, Six
Drew Levy, A Strange Loop
Gareth Owen, MJ

Best Direction of a Play 

Sam Mendes, The Lehman Trilogy
Neil Pepe, American Buffalo
Les Waters, Dana H. 
Camille A. Brown, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf
Lileana Blain-Cruz, The Skin of Our Teeth

Best Direction of a Musical 

Stephen Brackett, A Strange Loop
Marianne Elliott, Company
Conor McPherson, Girl From the North Country
Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage, Six
Christopher Wheeldon, MJ

Best Choreography 

Camille A. Brown, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf
Warren Carlyle, The Music Man
Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, Six
Bill T. Jones, Alex Sanchez, Garrett Coleman and Jason Oremus, Paradise Square
Christopher Wheeldon, MJ

Best Orchestrations 

David Cullen, Company
Tom Curran, Six
Simon Hale, Girl from the North Country
David Holcenberg and Jason Michael Webb, MJ
Charlie Rosen, A Strange Loop

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