Michael Arden was named the winner of the 2023 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical at the 76th Annual Tony Awards, held at the United Palace in Washington Heights June 11. Arden took the category for helming Broadway's Parade.
Arden used his acceptance speech to talk about bigotry, linking Parade's depiction of violent anti-semitism to his own childhood experiences of homophobia. "We must come together, we must battle this. Otherwise, we are doomed to repeat the horrors of our history," said Arden from the stage. "Your queerness is what makes you beautiful and powerful.”
Arden went on to speak directly to the bullies from his youth, getting a bleep from CBS while reclaiming an anti-gay slur. "All I can say is that now I'm a faggot with a Tony.” The camera immediately panned to queer Parade star Ben Platt and his husband, fellow Broadway favorite Noah Galvin, standing and cheering for Arden.
Arden takes home his first Tony win for Parade. He also directed the production at New York City Center, where the show had a successful Off-Broadway run last fall. He previously earned nominations for directing Once On This Island and Spring Awakening. This season, Arden also directed A Christmas Carol starring Jefferson Mays.
Others in the 2023 Best Direction of a Musical category included Lear deBessonet for Into the Woods; Casey Nicholaw for Some Like It Hot; Jack O'Brien for Shucked; and Jessica Stone for Kimberly Akimbo.
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