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76th Annual Tony Awards


On the night of 12 June, 2023, the prestigious Tony Awards ceremony was held in the United Palace Theatre in New York City. The ceremony took place in an uncertain time in the entertainment industry due to the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) writers’ strike. The union has been on strike since May 2 fighting for fairer pay. 

The evening was entrenched in memorable moments and big wins. 


The big winner of the night: Jodie Comer

Killing Eve actress Jodie Comer won the highly sought after Best Leading Actress of the Year in a Play for her critically acclaimed Broadway debut role in the one-woman play written by Suzie Miller Prima Facie. The highly sensitive role  that Comer embodies in the play follows a lawyer that defends men who have been accused of sexual assault. Her characters world view shifts when she experiences sexual assault. The play follows the characters emotional journey through this dichotomy.


While accepting this award, Comer proclaimed that this Broadway play was her “greatest honour”. 


The WGA strike’s looming presence:

The WGA is the largest union for entertainment writers in the United States, and has been on a ceaseless strike since 2 May, 2023. This is the first strike the union has taken in 15 years. Many writers have felt under-compensated for their work during this new-era of streaming. Strike action was announced following disputes during contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Strike action has left the entertainment industry at a standstill for over forty days. 


This year’s Tony Awards was also affected by this strike action. Many questioned whether or not the ceremony would air due to the strike. Members of the union agreed not to picket the show and allow it to air. However, the writers did not write anything for the award show.

Moreover, this year’s host, West Side Story's, Oscar winning star Ariana Debose did not shy away from talking about this ongoing strike action. 

Bebose’s hosting of the night made many references to the WGA strike. She opened the show in her dressing room,  flipping through a script of blank pages. Debose then explained this symbol of support. She said, “Our siblings over at the WGA (Writer’s Guild of America)  are currently on strike in pursuit of a fair deal – and how many of us know what that is?” Debose delivered her opening speech unscripted. Furthermore, she explained the effects of the strikes on the show, saying “ The award shows are traditionally written by members of the WGA. In order for us to go on, they had to find a compromise.” 


Debose continued, explaining the agreement that was reached between the Tony's and the Writer’s Guild . Debose stated  “So now you are asking, well, what's the compromise? Well, we don't have a script”. The lack of writers meant that presenters did not have teleprompters with scripted jokes and dialogue to guide them. 


The improvisational presentation led to many natural funny moments throughout last night's ceremony. A hilarious moment of the night came while Comer’s win was being announced. The presenter of the award, Marcia Gay Harden, mistakenly called the name “Julie Comer”. This amusing moment sparked social media responses. 



Such moments shone a light on the importance of writers in the entertainment industry. Writers impact all sectors of the entertainment industry, even those we would not except like award ceremonies. The results of strike action were strongly felt at the 76th Annual Tony’s.

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