An exciting awards season came to a close Sunday night as Broadway toasted the best of the best at the 2023 Tony Awards.

It’s the biggest night of the year for theatre lovers and as always, there were some great words of wisdom to take from the honorees. Additionally, there was some incredible advice that easily translated to your program, no matter what size.

Take a look at some of the highlights of this year’s Tony awards and the valuable advice you can use to elevate your program. 

#1 Embrace the unexpected and don’t be afraid if things don’t go perfectly

Due to the WGA writer’s strike, it was originally reported that the Tony Awards were going to have to cancel the televised broadcast altogether. While most live productions rely on careful planning and rehearsal to present a polished performance, Sunday’s show proved that some of the spontaneous and unexpected moments are where the magic truly happens. And – if you ever do need someone to “wing it” – the theatre is the place to find them! 

From the opening number, when Ariana Debose found herself in the dressing room with (gasp!) a script binder with no script and launched into a riveting dance number instead, to the unique awards show structure with very little banter in-between awards and performances – the ceremony held all kinds of unexpected fun. With a little compromise, the producers were able to move forward with a great night honoring some incredible artists, while also maintaining a position in support of the WGA. 

A great lesson to carry forward in your organization – the show can always go on, and the best path to creating a magical live theatre experience is most often found in the spirit of determination, passion, and creativity!

#2 There is a place for everyone in the theatre

The 2023 Tony Awards marked a significant milestone in the ongoing journey towards greater inclusivity in the world of theatre. There were incredible and historic wins for Alex Newell and J Harrison Ghee, as well as shows featuring diverse casts and stories taking home top honors. The list of winners reflects a growing understanding of the importance of diverse representation in storytelling and the desire to provide opportunities for artists from all backgrounds.

As we heard in so many of the acceptance speeches, the theatre provides a safe haven for many people in marginalized groups who may not feel a sense of belonging anywhere else. In many instances, theatre is literally saving lives. The awards acknowledged the importance of creating spaces for underrepresented artists to shine and showed just what a difference it can make in someone’s life. 

The importance of the work theatremakers are doing cannot be overstated. Creating art may not always be an easy road, but at the end of the day, it really is a lifeline and worth every second of effort. So, when the going gets tough and you wonder if it’s worth it – remember the life-changing effects a theatrical experience can have – whether from the audience, the wings, or the stage. 

#3 Showstoppers are tried and true, and well worth the effort

One of the biggest highlights of the 2023 Tony Awards was the lineup of showstopper musical numbers from shows like Some Like it Hot, Camelot, and &Juliet, to name a few. By showcasing these performances, with their incredible costumes, choreography, and vocals, the Tony Awards reminds us why we love going to the theatre in the first place.  The goosebumps and magic you feel when sitting in the audience and witnessing a dazzling display of talent are unparalleled. There’s nothing quite like witnessing that type of spectacle live and it certainly creates lifelong memories for an audience member!

Lesson learned? Don’t be afraid to go big! Nothing gets an audience on their feet quite like a big number full of dancers, singers, and dramatic staging. Bring out all the sequins, tapping, and belting you can! 

#4 Breathe new life into old works 

The 2023 Tony Awards celebrated several classic shows like Camelot, Sweeney Todd, and Funny Girl, bringing back new productions that breathed fresh life into beloved theatrical works. While it’s always exciting to see groundbreaking new plays and musicals, the revisiting and reimagining of classic works is a different kind of delight! 

Directors, writers, and designers were able to find innovative approaches to well-known material, keeping the core themes but reworking the stories to be more relevant and impactful.  These productions honored the legacy of the original works while offering new perspectives and inviting audiences to rediscover their favorite stories.

The classics remain popular for a reason – don’t be afraid to sprinkle some of these treasured works into your season and but also get creative with your interpretations. 

#5 Theatre is a driver of social change

Theatre has the ability to foster empathy and understanding, allowing audiences to connect with characters and narratives that may be outside of their own experiences. It serves as a tool for education and advocacy, amplifying marginalized voices and driving social change.

On that note, by celebrating productions that center around social issues like anti-semitism and LGBTQIA+ discrimination, the Tony Awards brought attention to stories and characters that continue to pave the way to a more inclusive and equitable society. 

While it can feel risky at times, these Tony Awards reflected how important it is to create productions that include themes that may be difficult to talk about. By providing a place to authentically embrace these conversations, we have the power to forge a path toward a more compassionate, inclusive world.


Whatever you took from this year’s Tony Awards, it was clear that the magic of theatre remains an incredibly important and exhilarating experience for people of all backgrounds. This grand celebration of the stage, with its mesmerizing performances and breathtaking productions, was a testament to the enduring power of theatre as a transformative force not just on the West End, but on the world.


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