NEW YORK—I will admit the 76th Annual Tony Awards was something different. Perhaps it was the fact that we had a host, but not really. The fact that there were no scripts seemed to have a show that was a bit more authentic and fun to watch people. I’ve never really been a fan of the Tony Awards because they drag a bit for me that changed in 2022 with that wickedly fantastic performance by Joaquina Kalukungo who tore the house down with “Let It Burn.” It gave me chills watching America, and if you didn’t witness it live on TV, you missed something amazing.

With that said, Oscar-winner and Tony nominee Ariana DeBose hosted the ceremony with a musical number that was fun and exciting. She transitioned by addressing the elephant in the room regarding the Writer’s Guild of America strike and I was glad she did not shy away from it people. DeBose handled the situation with poise and grace, which I enjoyed thoroughly. As for the big winners of the night, “Kimberly Akimbo” won Best Musical, while “Leopoldstadt” won for Best Play. “Parade” was victorious for the Best Musical Revival, while “Topdog/Underdog” was victorious in the Best Play Revival. “Kimberly Akimbo” closed out the night with a total of five trophies, while “Leopoldstadt” and “Some Like It Hot” walked away with 4 awards each. Lead Actress in a Musical went to Victoria Clark for “Kimberly Akimbo.”

There were some momentous moments of the night with Alex Newell and J. Harrison Ghee, openly non-binary performers took home Tony Awards for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for “Shucked” which is all about corn and Best Actor in a Musical for “Some Like It Hot.” It was fantastic to see these performers have their moment in the spotlight and to shed the light to those dreamers out there, that anything is possible and never give up fighting for that dream even if no one else believes you.

Some household names like Sean Hayes of “Will & Grace” walked away with the Tony for Best Actor in a Play for “Good Night, Oscar.” “Killing Eve” star Jodie Comer won Best Actress in a Play for “Prima Facie” over potential favorites Jessica Chastain and Tony darling Audra McDonald.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the Tony Awards without a sleuth of musical performances throughout the night which included, “Shucked,” “New York, New York,” “Kimberly Akimbo” and plenty more. Were there any moments that truly wowed like in previous years? Not quite, but I will admit seeing Joaquina Kalukungo back on the stage during the In Memoriam segment was fun, as well as “Glee” alum Lea Michele tackling that Barbra Streisand classic people. She has the pipes for it that is all I can say.

Other winners of the night included Miriam Silverman for Best Feature Actress in a Play for “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window,” Brandon Uranowitz for Best Featured Actor in a Play for “Leopoldstadt,” Bonnie Milligan for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for “Kimberly Akimbo,” Michael Arden winning Best Direction of a Musical for “Parade” while Patrick Marber won Best Direction of a Play for “Leopoldstadt.”

Overall, Broadway’s biggest night was more entertaining than past years because we didn’t have to listen to awkward joke that failed to land and had a bit more improve that actually works when you are acting people. Perhaps a ceremony without scripts permanently will become the norm moving forward, we shall see.