Women totally owned the Tonys this year
Last night’s Tony Awards, the prestigious celebration of the best of the stage, had one major recurring theme: The ladies dominated. Major awards went to a whole slate of women who worked on some of the year’s most celebrated productions, including Fun Home and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. It was an amazing moment of recognition for women in theater, and underlined the strength of women in the arts after the disappointingly male-dominated Oscars.
Fun Home was the show of the night, taking home a number of major awards, including Best Musical. The show is based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, which chronicles her coming out and childhood growing up with a closeted gay father. (If Bechdel sounds familiar, it’s probably because she coined the genius Bechdel Test, a litmus test for films used to judge their portrayal of women that counts when women talk to each other about a subject other than a man.)
Women tied to the show also took home some of the top awards of the night, including Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron for Best Original Score and Kron for Best Book of a Musical. They were the first female writing team to win in their categories, a major moment in both their careers and Tony Awards history.
But they weren’t the only women to take home statues. Marianne Elliot won Best Direction of a Play for her work on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, and Bunny Christie was awarded Best Scenic Design of a Play for the production as well. Catherine Zuber won Best Costume of a Musical for The King and I. Kelli O’Hara and Helen Mirren also took home awards for their roles in The King and I and The Queen respectively.
Compare that to the lack of diversity in this years Oscars, and it’s pretty astonishing. In the history of the Tonys, nine women have won the award for directing. In the history of the Oscars? Just one. (In fact, this year 33% of the shows eligible for a Tony were directed by women.)
The Tony Awards, much like the Oscars for film, are celebrations of the best in the theater industry (albeit with some decrying the show as recognizing big stars rather than those most deserving). The recognition of so many amazingly talented women is a huge win for ladies in the field, and every award was so mightily deserved! We’re just hoping that the Academy is watching and taking notes on how to include gender diversity in their rosters of nominees for next year’s Oscars.