In the past decade, 16 performers have won a Tony Award for their debut work on stage in a Broadway musical or play.
Catherine Zeta-Jones in A Little Night Music and Cynthia Erivo in The Color Purple to Eddie Redmayne in Red and Daveed Diggs in Hamilton, take a look at the performers who earned Tony Awards for their Broadway debut performances.
16 Tony-Winning Debuts of the Last Decade
16 Tony-Winning Debuts of the Last Decade
2010 was a big year for Broadway debut performers with a total of five Tonys handed out to first-timers. Douglas Hodge won Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as the triumphant drag queen Albin in
La Cage Aux Folles.
Douglas Hodge in
La Cage Aux Folles
Also in 2010, Scarlett Johansson won Best Featured Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Catherine, torn between love and family, in Arthur Miller’s
A View From the Bridge. Johansson would tackle another American theatre stalwart in 2013 as Margaret in Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Scarlett Johansson and Liev Schreiber in
A View From the Bridge
That same year, Levi Kreis portrayed Jerry Lee Lewis in
Million Dollar Quartet, earning the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.
Hunter Foster and Levi Kreis in
Million Dollar Quartet
Eddie Redmayne made a splash on Broadway in 2010, winning Best Featured Actor in a Play as Ken, Mark Rothko’s fictional assistant, in
Red. The thespian’s star burned bright following a win here—he went on to appear in the film adaptation of Les Misérables and won the Oscar for Best Actor in 2014 for The Theory of Everything.
Eddie Redmayne in
Catherine Zeta-Jones won Best Actress in a Musical for portraying Desiree Armfeldt in Stephen Sondheim’s
A Little Night Music. While the star hasn’t been seen on Broadway since, she appeared in the film adaptation of Rock of Ages and played Olivia de Havilland in Ryan Murphy’s Feud: Bette and Joan.
In 2011, Ellen Barkin won the Tony for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play as Dr. Emma Brookner in Larry Kramer’s
The Normal Heart. The Animal Kingdom star played the sharp-tongued and wheelchair-bound Brookner with a steely reserve that captivated audiences eight times a week.
Ellen Barkin in
The Normal Heart
That same year, John Larroquette won the Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for his portrayal of J.B. Biggley, head honcho at World Wide Wicket Company, in
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Daniel Radcliffe also made his Broadway debut in this production at Al Hirschfeld Theatre.
Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette in
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning playwright of
August: Osage County Tracy Letts made his Broadway performance debut in 2012 as George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. The Steppenwolf ensemble member won Best Performance by an Actor in Leading Role in a Play.
Carrie Coon, Tracy Letts, Amy Morton and Madison Dirks in
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Sophie Okonedo made her Broadway debut in 2014 in
A Raisin in the Sun. Her stirring performance as Ruth Younger earned her the Tony for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play. The thespian would earn a Tony nomination four years later for her performance as Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible.
Denzel Washington and Sophie Okonedo in
A Raisin in the Sun
Bryan Cranston in
All The Way
Photo by Evgenia Elisseva
Richard McCabe won a Tony in 2015 for his debut as former U.K. Prime Minister Harold Wilson in
The Audience. The Scotsman won the Olivier Award for the same role before the production transferred to Broadway from the West End.
Richard McCabe and Helen Mirren in
As Lady Thiang in the 2015 revival of
The King and I, Ruthie Ann Miles brought the house down eight times a week with her rendition of “Something Wonderful.” For her Broadway debut, Miles won the Tony for Best Performance by an Actress in Featured Role in a Musical.
Ruthie Ann Miles and Kelli O'Hara
The King and I
The relatively unknown Alex Sharp made his Broadway debut in 2014 in
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. That spring, in 2015, Sharp became the youngest winner for the Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play category, having graduated from Juilliard only the year before.
Alex Sharp and cast in
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Fast-rapping Daveed Diggs made his Broadway debut in the summer of 2015 and won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for his portrayal of Thomas Jefferson in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking
Daveed Diggs and cast of
Cynthia Erivo in
The Color Purple
The most recent performer to win a Tony for their Broadway debut is Ari'el Stachel, who played the adventurous and romantic Haled in
The Band’s Visit. The show opened Fall 2017, and he won his Tony that spring. In his speech for his win for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, Stachel highlighted the representational changes the musical marked with Middle Eastern characters on Broadway. “I am part of a cast of actors who never believed that they would be able to portray their own races, and we are doing that,” the winner said.
Marc J. Franklin
Rachel Prather, Etai Benson, and Ari'el Stachel
As previously announced
, the Broadway League and
American Theatre Wing
have secured a date for the 74th annual Tony Awards. The ceremony will take place September 26 in a four-hour celebration spread across two separate televised events.As Broadway remains dark due to the coronavirus pandemic, the ceremony returns to celebrate an abbreviated theatrical season.