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And now that the books have been officially closed on the 2023-2024 season and the Tony Awards, I’ve been answering a great many questions from relatives, friends and (let’s face it) frenemies.

Q. Did you think that THE OUTSIDERS would win Best Musical?

A. Yup! I had no doubts at all.

No matter that some people told me that “SUFFS will win because Hillary Clinton is one of the producers.”

I wasn’t swayed by “ILLINOISE will win because it was the musical that made me cry the most.”

No, it had to be THE OUTSIDERS. That it’s a fine musical whose book, music and lyrics fit the characters and its terrific performers are only some of the reasons.

Name recognition is another. True, a couple of OUTSIDERS’ rivals have that as well. Still, none has the marquee value as powerful as the musical based on S.E. Hinton’s classic novel and its ever-popular 1983 film. That’ll make it easier to sell on the road, which is hardly insignificant.

It will also appeal to young people, an increasingly important demographic.

In addition, it will have a long afterlife after its life on Broadway in student productions. Longtime regional director Bert Silverberg once said to me, “Getting boys to do a musical is very hard – until you tell them that they can be Jets or Sharks.” Similarly speaking, boys will flock to play Socs and Greasers in future years when this new hit finally becomes available.

Are you already asking, “If that’s a consideration, wouldn’t that suggest that SUFFS would win, because girls love to be in musicals, and here’s one that offers at least 18 roles?”

It’s an excellent rebuttal, and certainly SUFFS has a bright amateur future ahead of it, too. But too many people have told me that the title is somewhere between confusing and off-putting, not to mention awkward-sounding.

Yes, SUFFS is a title that makes sense when you finally find out what the show deals with, but not until. THE OUTSIDERS gives a better indication what it’s about.

Q. Did you expect Daniel Radcliffe to win Best Featured Actor in a Musical?

A. Yup again – not only because it was a galvanizing performance, but also because the Tonys wanted to make up for not nominating Radcliffe for his three previous trips to Broadway.

Let’s bring up the Drama Desk Awards, which nominates off-Broadway achievements as well as those on Broadway. So, Radcliffe in his three appearances in New York theater before MERRILY, would be less likely to get a nomination from that organization because he had far more competition. And yet, he still received a nomination for each of his appearances on the New York stage.

Q. But did you expect Maria Friedman to win Best Director of a Musical?

A. Of course – although my prediction turned out to be off-course.

Nothing against Danya Taymor, who did exemplary work on THE OUTSIDERS (and was well-rewarded for it).

But many directors in regional theater have staged MERRILY in the last four decades, only to see none of their productions deemed worthy enough by enough people to transfer it to Broadway.

Friedman’s did, making it the hottest ticket in years. As I said while introducing Friedman at The Theatre World Awards on June 10, “If you’d like to see MERRILY, go to Mt. Sinai Hospital where they’ll remove the arm and the leg that might get you enough money for a ticket.”

Q. What would you never have predicted at the beginning of the season that turned out to be the case?

A. Well, who would have expected that a play would wind up winning more Tonys than a musical?

If you’re scoring with us, STEREOPHONIC landed five, ahead of both THE OUTSIDERS and MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, each of which netted four.

This is impressive, because musicals automatically have the edge on receiving more awards thanks to the additional awards of Best Book and Best Score; the former is never one in which plays are eligible.

As for the latter, the category rarely puts plays in contention, although there’s always a possibility that a comedy or drama can sneak in ever since its rebranding as “Best Original Score Written for the Theatre.”

And that’s where STEREOPHONIC comes in. There were those who thought that it just might win in Best Score, too. No; what hurt its chances was that Will Butler’s terrific songs for David Adjmi’s play are seldom heard in their entirety.

Granted, quality over quantity should always be a consideration. But one can understand why Butler’s work would finish behind Shaina Taub’s equally impressive but more bountiful work on SUFFS.

So, although a sixth Tony for STEREOPHONIC was simply too much to ask, its five did make it the night’s big winner.

Q. Were there other surprises?

A. Who would have expected that the Best Revival of a Musical winner would snag just as many Tonys as the Best (New) Musical winner? That’s never happened before.

And how nice of Jonathan Groff in his acceptance speech to thank “Jim, Ann, and Lonny” – the original old friends from 43 years ago who endured the slings and arrows of outraged critics and audiences who expected more from Prince and Sondheim.

Q. In conclusion?

A. This was not a juggernaut year, such as the seasons that saw DOLLY win 10 Tonys, HAMILTON land 11, or THE PRODUCERS tally an even dozen. The season will be remembered as one of the quintessential years when the Tonys truly shared the wealth with its musicals.

And yet, most every theater-centric party that I attended during May had people talking about STEREOPHONIC more than any other production.

During one party, when I went to the corner where the bar was, three people were trading opinions on their favorite STEREOPHONIC song.

At another corner, where I crudely dove into the crudites, a man said he believed that STEREOPHONIC’s Tom Pecinka would win the Tony, followed by a woman’s insisting that STEREOPHONIC’s Eli Gelb would emerge victorious.

Corner Three also had a man and a woman debating the same category, although she gave the edge to STEREOPHONIC’s Will Brill (which tuned out to be correct). As for the final corner, there a woman was saying that if the Tonys went gender-neutral, STEREOPHONIC would have had five out of the 12 nominees.

Suddenly I smiled as a thought hit me. With STEREOPHONIC sounds coming out of each of the four corners, maybe Adjmi’s play should be retitled QUADRAPHONIC.

Peter Filichia can be heard most weeks of the year on His new book – BRAINTEASERS FOR BROADWAY GENIUSES – is now available on Amazon and at The Drama Book Shop.