“Slave Play” Snubs, “The Inheritance” Wins: A Queer Tony Awards Recap

The 74th Tony Awards were a mixed bag for some of the world’s most prominent LGBTQ playwrights.

After more than a year of pandemic-related delays, Broadway’s biggest night finally returned on Sunday (September 26) with a back-to-back award ceremony and performance. The long-awaited show contained some big surprises, and we’re not just talking about Wicked costars Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth reuniting to perform “For Good.”

Slave Play, the visionary 2019 play about a controversial kink from queer writer and 2020 Logo30 honoree Jeremy O. Harris, was up for Tonys in a record-high 12 categories. It won zero awards at Sunday’s show.

Meanwhile, two of the evening’s biggest honors, Best Play and Best Direction of a Play, went to The Inheritance, Matthew López’s Olivier Award-winning play about gay life in the wake of the AIDS crisis. The Inheritance actors Andrew Burnap and Lois Smith also scored Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play and Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play, respectively.

López is the first Latinx person to win a Tony for Best Play, a long-overdue victory he highlighted in his acceptance speech.

“We are a vibrant community reflecting a vast array of experiences and, yes, skin tones,” he added in a rousing call for diversity and inclusion on Broadway. “Let us tell you our stories.”

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Despite coming home empty-handed, Harris was in good spirits, tweeting at length about his “loser’s party.”

Slave Play has never won one of the major awards of any of the great voting bodies but changed a culture and has inspired thousands of ppl who didn’t care about theatre before,” the Zola co-writer added in a Twitter thread after the show. “I saw someone randomly reading the play in Slovenia. We already won.”

Harris also broke the news early Monday morning that Slave Play is officially returning to Broadway later this year.

Slave Play was a precursor to the historic number of plays on Broadway this fall written by Black artists and proudly joins them this November,” said Greg Nobile, the play’s producer, in a statement. “I remind myself that Jeremy’s words presaged the tough and necessary conversations the American theater is having right now.”

Find a full list of the evening’s nominees and winners here.

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