Meet the 2023 Tony Nominees From This Season's New Musicals | Playbill

Tony Awards Meet the 2023 Tony Nominees From This Season's New Musicals

Go inside the Tony press day event with interviews and Playbill's portraits in the final installment of this four-part series.

Alex Newell, Betsy Wolfe, Lorna Courtney, Victoria Clark, Justin Cooley, and Clint Ramos Photos by Heather Gershonowitz

Every year, the Tony nominees gather to meet the press and share what's going on in their heads in the week after the nominations were announced. From little theatre kids all grown up to artists celebrating their community, the nominees were filled with expressions of gratitude and joy.

Get to know the 2023 nominees with moments from their interviews and Playbill's portraits. The four-part series continues here, with the nominees from this season's new musicals.

READ: Meet the 2023 Tony Nominees From This Season's New Plays

Justin Cooley

Justin Cooley Heather Gershonowitz

"Just two years ago, I was in high school, and it was one of those like quiet secret dreams. Like, 'Oh, I don't know if I'll ever get there, but how cool would it be to, in a fantasy land, be a Tony nominee?' And it's real!"

Cooley is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for his role as Seth in Kimberly Akimbo.

Colton Ryan

Colton Ryan Heather Gershonowitz

"I'm so proud of what all of us, the whole company, are doing on that stage. What we're doing for this city is, we're wearing our heart on our sleeves. We are fighters for this city. We are its biggest, ardent defenders."

Ryan is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for his role as Jimmy Doyle in New York, New York.

Helen Park

Helen Park Heather Gershonowitz

"It is in an incredible honor and responsibility. I'm also learning every day. And what I dreamed of and was trying to do wasn't to become a Broadway composer or a Tony nominee—I was just really focused on making a great K-pop musical. I knew that I had to put my best effort into it. Otherwise, I can't show the world what my culture is and what I grew up loving is. So, I was really focused on that."

Park is nominated with Max Vernon for Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre for KPOP.

Jack O'Brien

Jack O'Brien Heather Gershonowitz

"Comedy gets a bad rap. Everybody thinks it's not serious. But what is more serious than sitting in a room filled with thousands of people, that not only you don't know, but you don't want to know—and at the exact same moment, everybody laughs the same way. That's our humanity. That reminds us that we're vulnerable, that we're goofy, that we're accident prone, and that we're lovely people, united by laughter."

O'Brien is nominated for Best Direction of a Musical for Shucked.

NaTasha Yvette Williams

NaTasha Yvette Williams Heather Gershonowitz

"We only have this moment. I think if the last three years have taught us anything, it is to live in the moment and to love who you're with. Just surround yourself with love. And this production does that."

Williams is nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for her role as Sweet Sue in Some Like It Hot.

Kevin Cahoon

Kevin Cahoon Heather Gershonowitz

"Whether I'm in the audience watching a Broadway show, or whether I am in a show on Broadway, there is nothing like it in the world. And it feels like I am part of history. I am part of American popular culture. The greatest American art form—the singular American art form, which is musical comedy."

Cahoon is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for his role as Peanut in Shucked.

Amber Ruffin

Amber Ruffin Heather Gershonowitz

"We were very careful. We all understand that this show will affect people, like children will have to do this show in 10-15 years at their high school. And we want them to have something that they can feel OK saying. Grandparents are going to take their children to see this show. And then we're all going to agree that everything that happens in this show is normal, it's acceptable, and something we love. So we really wanted to be on purpose about what we stood for, and who can have fun and who's invited and who's included."

Ruffin is nominated with Matthew López for Best Book of a Musical for Some Like It Hot.

Scott Pask

Scott Pask Heather Gershonowitz

"It's incredible to be part of this community for this long and to be recognized for these two shows that couldn't be more different. Having developed them before the pandemic and through the pandemic, and to have them be celebrated in this way is massive."

Pask is nominated for Best Scenic Design of a Musical for both Shucked and Some Like It Hot.

Bonnie Milligan

Bonnie Milligan Heather Gershonowitz

"I've worked really hard for this for a very long time. And I think back across the years of the rooms I couldn't get into, and then the people that believed in me along the way—it took a village to get here. So, I just feel really grateful."

Milligan is nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for her role as Aunt Debra in Kimberly Akimbo.

David Thompson and Sharon Washington

David Thompson and Sharon Washington Heather Gershonowitz

Thompson: "It was such a wonderful thing to be able to say that we had captured that feeling of New York at a time when everything was possible. And then to be able to continue that today. We're coming out of a pandemic, all of us are here to see what's possible in the city again, and I think that's the story we wanted to tell. And that's the story, I think, that's resonating."

Washington: "This is my Broadway writing debut. So I was just grateful to be in the room, creating art with my friends. So to be a Tony nominee is extraordinary. But the reward is telling these stories. It's making stories that were sometimes invisible, visible."

Thompson and Washington are nominated for Best Book of a Musical for New York, New York.

Victoria Clark

Victoria Clark Heather Gershonowitz

"This show is like no other show I've ever read or seen or done. And it deserves all the attention that comes its way. I'm so proud to represent it."

Clark is nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for her role as Kimberly in Kimberly Akimbo.

Tom Kitt and Cameron Crowe

Tom Kitt and Cameron Crowe Heather Gershonowitz

Crowe: "The reward is to be a part of a community that brings their whole heart and all of their feeling to the stage every night and every day."

Kitt: "Cameron's work has spoken to me my entire life. And when I was lucky enough to get to meet with Cameron and pitch myself for the musical, I told him I was going to take care of it. It's his baby."

Kitt and Crowe are nominated for Best Original Score for Almost Famous.

Susan Stroman

Susan Stroman Heather Gershonowitz

"We all know what we all go through to mount these shows. It is a miracle a musical gets up. Everyone here who has mounted a musical knows that. So, there's a great sort of kinship. We're all soulmates in this room today."

Stroman is nominated for Best Choreography for New York, New York.

Robert Horn

Robert Horn Heather Gershonowitz

"Shucked has been my passion project—I've been writing the show for 10 years. This is my heart. This show is my baby. And there were so many stops and starts; there was so many times we were like, 'This just isn't gonna happen.' It is such a feeling of achievement and relief."

Horn is nominate for Best Book of a Musical for Shucked. 

Paloma Young

Paloma Young Heather Gershonowitz

"The reward, especially for my work which is costume design, is getting to see the actors post pictures of themselves on their Instagram in their costumes, because I know that means they feel confident, and cute, and excited. And then you see people doing cosplay of those things. And that means that the story behind the costume has resonated with the actor, it's resonated with the audience."

Young is nominated for Best Costume Design of a Musical for & Juliet.

Kevin Del Aguila

Kevin Del Aguila Heather Gershonowitz

"There are so many talented people in my show, that I often look around and think, 'Am I the weak link? I better step up my game. I don't want to let these people down!' So on a personal level, just to be nominated alongside them feels like 'Oh, thank God, I didn't let them down.' Also I'm just so proud of the show and proud of everybody involved and so glad that it's been embraced in the way it has."

Del Aguila is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for his role as Osgood in Some Like It Hot.

Lorna Courtney

Lorna Courtney Heather Gershonowitz

"It's an honor to represent this production at this time because our production stands for everything positive, everything inclusive and diverse, uplifting and empowering."

Courtney is nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for her role as Juliet in & Juliet.

Jessica Stone

Jessica Stone Heather Gershonowitz

"I think that we women internalize some conflict that we have around leadership. Some of it comes from the inside, and some of that comes from the outside. But I feel really proud of this accomplishment and achievement. I do."

Stone is nominated for Best Direction of a Musical for her work on Kimberly Akimbo.

Jennifer Weber

Jennifer Weber Heather Gershonowitz

"KPOP and & Juliet were the first two shows I made on Broadway, and then to have this kind of recognition for my debut shows is mind-blowing. I think my style is not your traditional Broadway style. So it's really exciting to see more styles get recognized for the art that they are."

Weber is nominated for Best Choreography for both KPOP and & Juliet.

J. Harrison Ghee

J. Harrison Ghee Heather Gershonowitz

"I set out to do this project to be a mirror to audiences, to be a representation for so many people, and to expand our vision and our world and our existence. And it is so special for us to be honored in such an incredible way."

Ghee is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for their role as Jerry/Daphne in Some Like It Hot.

David West Read

David West Read Heather Gershonowitz

"The Best Musical nomination is really a celebration of the collaboration of so many people—from our original London cast through our current Broadway cast, everyone on the creative side, all the producers. It's been such a team effort from the beginning, and we all get to share and that. And now, the attention it brings to the show to bring even more audiences in, it's just so wonderful."

Read is nominated for Best Book of a Musical for & Juliet.

Dominic Fallacaro and Bill Sherman

Dominic Fallacaro and Bill Sherman Heather Gershonowitz

Fallacaro: "It's amazing to watch an audience like it and then this is the other side of it. It's very nice to be recognized in a sort of critical way as well. It's really nice."

Sherman: "When you work on something that long, you have no concept of what's happening. And then for this to come along and be some sort of gratification at the end of the tunnel that all your hard work has really paid off is really incredible and really heartwarming."

Sherman and Fallacaro are nominated for Best Orchestration for & Juliet.

Clint Ramos

Clint Ramos Heather Gershonowitz

"That this news came during AAPI Heritage Month for a show that was so special to a lot of people, specially to my heart, and it was one of the earlier shows that opened the season—it really means a lot. It means we made a dent in the zeitgeist here."

Ramos is nominated with Sophia Choi for Best Costume Design of a Musical for KPOP.

Christian Borle

Christian Borle Heather Gershonowitz

"I'm so happy to be in this company of artists and sweet people that I've fallen in love with over the last several years. I want J. Harrison Ghee to win in my category. And so I have the luxury of just showing up at the party and rooting for someone else. It's very liberating."

Borle is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for his role as Joe/Josephine in Some Like It Hot.

Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally

Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally Heather Gershonowitz

Clark: "What I can't believe is, since we've been nominated, the people who have reached out. It's like we've gotten a Kennedy Center Honor. I mean, the Tonys have so much prestige. And I knew that, but I didn't really feel it until we were nominated."

McAnally: "It feels so foreign, because it wasn't something I ever practiced in the mirror, you know, rowing up in a small town in Texas, and honestly, not knowing much about this world—except what we did in our small little theatre in high school. We always want to win awards, and we all imagine ourselves doing that. But the Tony seemed like another land. How would you even get there?"

Clark and McAnally are nominated for Best Original Score for Shucked.

Casey Nicholaw

Casey Nicholaw Heather Gershonowitz

"The reward is the people. Always. We were doing The Today Show when the nominations were announced, so we all were together. That was thrilling and so unlike any other time that I've been nominated."

Nicholaw is nominated for both Best Direction of a Musical and Best Choreography for Some Like It Hot.

Betsy Wolfe

Betsy Wolfe Heather Gershonowitz

"I love telling the story every night. I fell in love with the script the moment I read it. It really resonated with me, and I knew I immediately had to do the show. Immediately."

Wolfe is nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for her role as Anne Hathaway in & Juliet.

David Lindsay-Abaire and Jeanine Tesori

David Lindsay-Abaire and Jeanine Tesori Heather Gershonowitz

Lindsay-Abaire: "It's a little surprising. We've got a weird, scrappy show. We hope people liked it, they did like it. So it's gratifying that people are coming to the show and liking the show and rewarding all of our actors and our director."

Tesori: "For every nomination, there are 100 people behind it that made it happen. So there are 800 people behind the eight nominations that we're grateful for: all the musicians, the ushers, the crew, the people at the box office, the people who are publicizing it. It's a real family group business."

Lindsay-Abaire and Tesori are nominated for Best Original Score for Kimberly Akimbo.

Alex Newell

Alex Newell Heather Gershonowitz

"When I was developing this character, I said I want her to be the fan favorite. I want people to love her just as much as I love her, and learn something from her and find themselves in her. Being plus size and Black and queer on Broadway is such a rarity—and to have people across that spectrum, and away from that spectrum, love her just as much as I do is beautiful."

Newell is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for their role as Lulu in Shucked.

Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman

Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman Heather Gershonowitz

Wittman: "It's very thrilling, especially after the years Broadway has been through. So it's nice to come back with a big Broadway musical that has something to say and get the most Tony nominations in town! So, that's really thrilling, because it was hard work, ladies and gentlemen.'

Shaiman: "And all I want to do is retire. So this sort of put a crimp in that. Still, I gotta be happy!"

Wittman and Shaiman are nominated for Best Original Score for Some Like It Hot.

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