Best Play ‘Stereophonic’ wins big at the Tony Awards

David Adjmi and Will Butler's play with music took home the most awards of the night with five — the show's winners and nominees shared their reactions.

Joe Dziemianowicz
Joe Dziemianowicz

Stereophonic, which follows a fictional band’s yearlong struggle to record an album in the 1970s, scored the 2024 Tony Award for Best Play plus bragging rights to the night’s most wins at five. The other victories included Best Featured Actor, Best Direction, Best Scenic Design, and Best Sound Design of a Play.

Before the annual celebration of Broadway excellence, David Adjmi’s slice-of-life show, which also features original songs by Arcade Fire's Will Butler, made Tony history by earning 13 nominations, a record for a play. By all accounts, the Best Play triumph went according to script.

Speaking of which, during their acceptance speeches, director Daniel Aukin and scenic designer David Zinn both quoted the play's script to describe being on team Stereophonic: “This was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Even before the Tony Awards ceremony, the five nominees in the cast expressed that same feeling about being in the show at the Golden Theatre following its Off-Broadway premiere at Playwrights Horizons. Check out some of the Stereophonic winners' and nominees' thoughts on being part of the play before and after the Tonys were handed out.

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Hear from the Stereophonic Tony Award winners

While accepting their awards and in the Tonys press room, the cast and creative team members honored with prizes shared the challenges of bringing Stereophonic to life — and how it all paid off.

David Adjmi (Best Play winner)

Running over 3 hours and requiring ensemble members to act, sing, and play instruments, Stereophonic is a heavy lift. Asked about future productions beyond Broadway, Adjmi acknowledged that his play, like other ambitious works, pushes “people to the limit.” That said, he can imagine “an awesome high school” stepping up.

“I’m very curious to see how this would translate and how it would go,” he said, adding that he hopes for a future run in London's West End, that city's equivalent of Broadway.

“I want [audiences there] to see what I can do, and I want them to see my collaborators and what we’ve made," Adjmi said. "I think this is a very original play in some ways, even though it’s drawn on pop culture myths and other stuff that’s very familiar.”

Will Brill (Best Featured Actor in a Play)

Will Brill's Stereophonic character, bassist Reg, grapples with demons, including substance abuse and the collapse of his marriage. The actor shared advice for anyone who might be struggling behind the scenes.

For a lot of artists, “there’s a lot of people-pleasing that happens,” said Brill. “We sacrifice being honest […] for that sake. There’s a tendency to cover up what we are going through.

"Try to be honest with yourself and try to be honest with the people who love you, because they will continue to love you if they see you suffering," Brill continued. "That was a really hard lesson for me to learn.”

Ryan Rumery (Best Sound Design of a Play)

In terms of musical style and the relationships among band members, the unnamed band in the play has a lot in common with Fleetwood Mac. Asked how that influenced his work on the play, Rumery acknowledged a deep dive into the period of the story for authenticity’s sake. That’s how he always approaches a project.

“I listened to a ton of Fleetwood Mac albums,” he said. “Since I was a kid, I’ve loved Fleetwood Mac. The thing that’s quintessential are those dry drums – no reverb […] They have that muffled quality.”

He was also meticulous about how the sound of the bass came through and letting the audience “really feel the music. That was one of the most important things to me.”

David Zinn (Best Scenic Design of a Play)

The play takes place in a recording studio, where band members lay down tracks for their next LP. That reality came with tricky technical requirements for the fully functioning set.

Stereophonic is a show in which the sound is an enormous part of character and part of the show,” said Zinn. “If that doesn’t function correctly, then nothing functions correctly.” He added that the play “was really fun to do […] once we were able to figure out the […] technical needs.”

Daniel Aukin (Best Direction of a Play)

Asked about the challenges of guiding a multitasking cast, integrating Butler's songs, and overseeing the various design elements, Aukin noted that every piece of the puzzle had to fall perfectly into place for Stereophonic to click.

“If any element didn’t work, the whole thing felt like it could fall apart,” he said. “All departments really had to get a home run. That’s what made it so terrifying and also so satisfying to work on.”

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Hear more from the Stereophonic Tony nominees

Leading up to the ceremony, some of the nominated actors shared their thoughts on being honored alongside the play. Though they all didn't win, they are key parts of Stereophonic's success.

Juliana Canfield (Best Featured Actress nominee as pianist/vocalist Holly): “We made this play painstakingly, and lovingly, and together. I’m so proud that the collaborative efforts of every single genius department are being recognized. I am so happy to get to do the play with this very special group of actors for such enthusiastic, thoughtful audiences every night.”

Tom Pecinka (Best Featured Actor nominee as guitarist/vocalist Peter): “I keep calling this play ‘the gift that keeps on giving.’ As an actor, you dedicate yourself to so many projects that even if you love them, they may not be seen by many or loved in the same way by audiences. To be a part of something that I care so much about that people have responded to in such an overwhelming and adoring way is a true gift.”

Sarah Pidgeon (Best Featured Actress nominee as singer/songwriter/tambourinist Diana): “I’ve watched every person on this production pour so much time, energy, and artistry, and that began long before I joined the production. To have not only performances but lighting, sound, direction, and score recognized highlights what a great collaboration this has been.”

Will Brill: "People seem to love it very much. We love doing it very much and it is also really taxing, emotionally and physically. The attention and praise is lovely, but when the thing is this fun to do by itself, the rest is frosting."

Get Stereophonic tickets now.

Book Tickets CTA - LT/NYTG

Gillian Russo contributed reporting to this story.

Photo credit: Stereophonic on Broadway. (Photos by Julieta Cervantes)

Originally published on

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