2024 Tony Awards Recap

June 20, 2024

Last Sunday, the 2024 Tony Awards graced the stage, bringing us a brand new set of Tony Award-winning actors, designers, and productions! "The Outsiders" took home the award for best musical and "Stereophonic" earned the coveted Best Play award. "Hell's Kitchen," the jukebox musical featuring songs by and inspired by the life of Alicia Keys, and "Stereophonic," a play that, while not a musical, does feature several original songs from Arcade Fire's Will Butler, both earned the most nominations with 13 each coming into the night. 

This year’s awards celebrated women in a historic way, with a record-breaking seven of the ten director nominations being women. 

Costume designer Dede Ayite, a winner for Jaja's African Hair Braiding, was the first Black woman to win a Tony for best costume design of a play. In the press room after the awards show, she called her history-making win “huge”. “People like me that are just starting out and aren’t sure and are fearful and just don’t know what it’s going to take, and you don’t know how to find that step to take you forward, so I’m just hopeful that this moment says, ‘Just keep at it.’ You know, tell the stories that matter to you, tell the story that you find value in, and the moment will meet you. That’s what’s happening for me right now.”

She added, “It’s not just about me, but we did it: the community that supports me, the community of people that love me each day and cheer me on. For me, I just feel like it’s not just about me right now. It’s the community. It’s that we have done it together.”

Nikiya Mathis received a Special Tony Award for wig and hair design for Jaja’s African Hair Braiding. In fact, Mathis is the first hair and wig designer to be given a Tony for a single show. Wig and hair design for the theater, which is not a regular Tony category, requires great artistry. “I don't think people understand all that goes into wig design,” says Mathis. “[Just like costume designers do], you have to build the underlying foundation. You take measurements, create a mold of the head, and lay a lace foundation. There is intricate sewing and detail.” Additionally, hairs are added one by one and must be sourced. “We have to know where we are going to get kinky, curly hair. It’s such an intricate process,” says Mathis.

Other noteworthy USITT winners include Abe Jacob, who received a special Tony Award for Achievement in Sound Design. His remarkable career has spanned over six decades. He started in Rock and Roll at McCune Sound in San Francisco and went on to create concert sound for such legendary artists as Jimi Hendrix; The Mamas and the Papas; Peter, Paul, and Mary; and the historic rock celebration, The Monterey Pop Festival and then brought that rock sensibility to Broadway audiences with the original production of Hair. Abe’s remarkable achievements in theater sound design virtually brought the field into existence. Abe’s extraordinary career was acknowledged by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology with its highest honor, the USITT Award in 2008. In 2022, he was inducted into The Theater Hall of Fame. Abe also teaches sound design master classes and has mentored several generations of talented sound designers, many of whom are Broadway’s top theatrical sound designers today. You can purchase a collection of his design work from USITT's online bookstore here!

Wendall K. Harrington also won a special Tony award for her projection design work. Her career has embraced many diverse disciplines including theater, publishing and multi-image/video design and production and academia. As a designer of scenic projections for the stage, her work has been seen on Broadway including Paradise Square, Annie, All the Way, Driving Miss Daisy, Grey Gardens, In My Life, The Good Body, Drowning Crow, They’re Playing Our Song, The Elephant Man, among others. In 1993, Ms. Harrington designed the projections for the award-winning THE WHO’S TOMMY on Broadway, which toured the U.S. in 1994, and has had productions in Toronto, London, and Frankfurt, Germany. See her keynote speech at our 2018 Annual Conference & Stage Expo here!

Below you’ll find a list of winners in our technical and design categories. For a full list of winners and nominees, visit the CBS website here!

Best Musical

The Outsiders; Winner

Hell's Kitchen



Water for Elephants


Best Revival of a Musical

Merrily We Roll Along; Winner

Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Gutenberg! The Musical!

The Who's Tommy


Best Direction of a Musical

Danya Taymor, The Outsiders; Winner

Maria Friedman, Merrily We Roll Along

Michael Greif, Hell's Kitchen

Leigh Silverman, Suffs

Jessica Stone, Water for Elephants


Best Scenic Design in a Musical

Tom Scutt — Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club; Winner

Amp featuring Tatianna Kahvegian — The Outsiders

Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini — Hell’s Kitchen

Takeshi Kata — Water for Elephants

David Korins — Here Lies Love

Riccardo Hernández and Peter Nigrini — Lempicka

Tim Hatley and Finn Ross — Back to the Future


Best Costume Design in a Musical

Linda Cho — The Great Gatsby; Winner

Dede Ayite — Hell’s Kitchen

David Israel Reynoso — Water for Elephants

Tom Scutt — Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Paul Tazewell — Suffs


Best Lighting Design in a Musical

Brian MacDevitt and Hana S. Kim — The Outsiders; Winner

Brandon Stirling Baker — Illinoise

Isabella Byrd — Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Natasha Katz — Hell’s Kitchen

Bradley King and David Bengali — Water for Elephants

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Cody Spencer — The Outsiders; Winner

M.L. Dogg and Cody Spencer — Here Lies Love

Kai Harada — Merrily We Roll Along

Nick Lidster for Autograph — Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Gareth Owen — Hell’s Kitchen


Best Play

Stereophonic; Winner

Jaja’s African Hair Braiding

Mary Jane

Mother Play

Prayer for the French Republic

Best Revival of a Play

Appropriate; Winner

An Enemy of the People

Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch


Best Direction of a Play

Daniel Aukin — Stereophonic; Winner

Anne Kauffman — Mary Jane

Kenny Leon — Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch

Lila Neugebauer — Appropriate

Whitney White — Jaja’s African Hair Braiding


Best Scenic Design in a Play
David Zinn — Stereophonic; Winner

dots — Appropriate
dots — An Enemy of the People
Derek McLane — Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch
David Zinn — Jaja’s African Hair Braiding

Best Costume Design in a Play

Dede Ayite — Jaja’s African Hair Braiding; Winner

Dede Ayite — Appropriate

Enver Chakartash — Stereophonic

Emilio Sosa — Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch

David Zinn — An Enemy of the People


Best Lighting Design in a Play

Jane Cox — Appropriate; Winner

Isabella Byrd — An Enemy of the People

Amith Chandrashaker — Prayer for the French Republic

Jiyoun Chang — Stereophonic

Natasha Katz — Grey House


Best Sound Design of a Play

Ryan Rumery — Stereophonic; Winner

Justin Ellington and Stefania Bulbarella — Jaja’s African Hair Braiding

Leah Gelpe — Mary Jane

Tom Gibbons — Grey House

Bray Poor and Will Pickens — Appropriate

For a complete list of nominees and winners, visit CBS News here.