The actors J Harrison Ghee and Alex Newell made history at this year’s Tony Awards 2023 by winning awards as the first openly nonbinary performers.
According to Variety, Ghee won the lead actor (musical) award for their portrayal of J Harrison Ghee and Alex Newell made history at this year’s Tony Awards 2023 by winning acting awards as the first openly nonbinary performers. Jerry/Daphne in Casey Nicholaw’s ‘Some Like It Hot’, while Newell earned the featured actor (musical) award for their performance as Lulu in Jack O’Brien’s ‘Shucked’. “My mother raised me to understand that the gifts God gave me were not about me,” Ghee said. “To use them to be effective in the world. For every trans, nonbinary, gender non-conforming human — whoever was told they couldn’t be, couldn’t be seen, this is for you. ‘Some Like It Hot’ and that ain’t bad.”
Ghee discussed their choice to submit as the lead actor for this year’s Primetime Emmys and the Tony Awards for their role in Fox’s anthology series ‘Accused’ in an interview with Variety.
“It’s not a gendered profession to me, and I was grateful to be asked for consideration on where I wanted to be viewed,” said Ghee. “Making that decision wasn’t hard on my spirit. It was just to be confident and intentional about my work and meeting the moment.”
The win comes with the Emmy nomination voting period opening this Thursday, June 15.
“Thank you for seeing me Broadway,” Newell said. “I should not be up here as a queer, non-binary, fat, Black, little baby from Massachusetts. And to anyone that thinks that they can’t do it, I’m going to look you dead in your face that you can do anything you put your mind to.”
Newell outlined their decision to enter the supporting actor category in an interview with Variety.
“I went based off the English language,” Newell said. “Everyone who does acting is an actor. That is genderless,” she says, wearing a slouchy sweater and ripped jeans in their dressing room at the Nederlander Theater before a recent performance.
“Shucked” premiered on April 4 at the Nederlander Theatre and features music and lyrics by Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, as well as a book by Robert Horn.
The 76th Tony Awards acknowledged the achievements in Broadway productions during 2022-23.