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The Tonys Have Never Been So Dominated By Women

Was last season the year of women on Broadway? Based on Sunday night’s Tony Awards, it might have been. This year, seven women won Tony Awards, the highest number in Tony history. The seven women won eight of 17 Tonys1 in non-acting categories won by individuals, the largest percentage ever for the Tony Awards. With the exception of two categories, women won every category in which they were nominated.

CATEGORY NAME SHOW
Best Book, Musical Lisa Kron “Fun Home”
Best Original Score Jeanine Tesori, Lisa Kron “Fun Home”
Best Direction, Play Marianne Elliott “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”
Best Scenic Design, Play Bunny Christie, Finn Ross “Curious Incident”
Best Lighting Design, Play Paule Constable “Curious Incident”
Best Lighting Design, Musical Natasha Katz “An American in Paris”
Best Costume Design, Musical Catherine Zuber “The King and I”

Six of the eight female Tony wins came from the two shows that won the most Tonys: “Fun Home” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” Both shows took home five Tonys each, including Best Musical and Best Play, respectively. “Fun Home” had six female nominees this year — a Tony record for musicals.

The women from the top winning shows Sunday won in categories where women are historically underrepresented on Broadway and in the Tonys. Since the beginning of the awards, less than 11 percent of Tonys for directing or writing a book for a musical have gone to women.

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But this year’s winners are hoping that their wins will encourage young women to pursue a career in theater. After her win, Lisa Kron of “Fun Home” told the press, “People take chances on men based on their potential, and people take chances on women based on their accomplishments.”

Footnotes

  1. This and historical counts exclude organizations, so 59 Productions isn’t represented for its shared win in the Best Scenic Design of a Musical category. Also, each individual on a Tony-winning team (e.g. Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron for Best Original Score) was counted separately.

Joanna Kao is a multimedia reporter with an interest in theater.

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