Check out these shows by award-winning writers in New York
The playwrights and composers behind these shows have Tonys, Pulitzers, Grammys, and more to their names.
We've all seen a movie, or read a book, or listened to a song just because an artist we love wrote or starred in it. We cheer especially hard for them when their work gets recognized with critical acclaim and awards at the most prestigious ceremonies. If you're one of these people, or just someone who likes to see what all the hype is about when a writer gets awards, we can tell you about plenty of acclaimed writers whose works are on and off Broadway, and are worth checking out.
Plenty of writers have received most of their accolades in theatre, like Tony Awards and Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. However, music, literary, and film creators also write scripts, lyrics, and music for the stage, each bringing their unique style to the New York theatre landscape. But they all have two things in common: They've been recognized with various honors, and you can see their work live right now. Read on to learn about the award-winning writers behind Broadway and Off-Broadway shows.
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda's list of awards is so long, it could be its own article. In fact, it is: Read about all the awards Lin-Manuel Miranda has won. Most of his accolades — including multiple Tonys, a Grammy, an Emmy, an Olivier, and the Pulitzer Prize — are for his blockbuster hip-hop history musical Hamilton. However, his other hit show, In the Heights, received its fair share too, including a Tony, a Grammy, and an Olivier. And if he wins an Oscar for the Disney film Encanto this year, he'll have the prestigious EGOT status. History is happening in Manhattan as long as Miranda is writing!
Get Hamilton tickets now.
Anaïs Mitchell has been livin' it up on top since the debut of Hadestown. Mitchell's folk-music retelling of Greek mythology took home eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in 2019. She herself won the Best Original Score Tony and was also nominated for Best Book of a Musical. The next year, Hadestown got the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. She'd been working on the Hadestown musical, which began as a 2010 concept album, for years, so all that hard work paid off! Long before Hadestown, too, Mitchell received the 2003 New Folk Award from the Kerrville Folk Festival for her music. Go way down Hadestown and see her award-winning tunes live!
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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
J. K. Rowling has won more awards than every Triwizard Tournament champion put together. Her Harry Potter novels have won, among other accolades, multiple British Book Awards, Bram Stoker Awards, a Hugo Award, and a Whitbread Book Award — not to mention the hearts of countless fans across multiple generations. Rowling herself won personal achievement awards from the British Book Awards, too, as well as an Order of the British Empire and a place in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
Since co-creating the original story for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the theatrical sequel to her novels, she's added some theatre awards to her shelf, too, including a Best New Play Olivier Award and Best Play Tony Award. She and Cursed Child co-creator John Tiffany shared those two with Jack Thorne, who actually penned the Cursed Child script. He has five BAFTA Awards, a Drama Desk Award, and many more accolades to his own name as a playwright and screenwriter. When it comes to literary fame, they're the chosen ones.
MJ The Musical
There aren't many double Pulitzer winners out there, but Lynn Nottage is one of them. The playwright won once in 2009 for Ruined and again in 2017 for Sweat, and she has many other critically acclaimed shows to her name. In fact, for a brief time in winter 2022, she had the unique distinction of having a play, a musical, and an opera on Broadway all at the same time! The musical is MJ, a bio-musical about Michael Jackson for which Nottage wrote the book. MJ was briefly joined in the 2021-2022 theatre season by Nottage's play Clyde's and the opera Intimate Apparel, based on her 2003 play of the same name. She truly does it all — and has the accolades to prove it!
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Sweeney Todd and Merrily We Roll Along
Stephen Sondheim is a mainstay on stages in New York and worldwide. His inventive melodies and witty lyrics have won over generations of audiences and earned him many accolades. Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's bloody brilliant Sweeney Todd, about a murderous barber and pie shop owner, is but one example. The show won Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, and more for its 1979 debut, and plenty of worldwide revivals have since won awards of their own.
Merrily We Roll Along, a flop in its time and now a beloved classic, is another example. More broadly, Sondheim is an Oscar, eight-time Tony, eight-time Grammy, and Pulitzer winner.
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Get Merrily We Roll Along tickets now.
David Lindsay-Abaire won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for his play Rabbit Hole, but he was a mainstay on the theatre scene for years before and has continued to be so. For example, in 2001, he wrote the play Kimberly Akimbo, about a teenager with a disease that speeds up her aging process. He and composer Jeanine Tesori — who has a Tony and multiple Drama Desks to her own name — have now adapted that show into a critically acclaimed Broadway musical.
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Melissa Etheridge: My Window
Melissa Etheridge's multi-decade musical career has won her two Grammys (among 15 nominations) and an Oscar. Her smoky, raspy voice sets her apart in the music scene, making soulful hits like "Come to My Window" and "I'm the Only One" instant classics. Now, audiences get to hear those award-winning tunes in this intimate Broadway concert, which also intersperses stories from Etheridge's life.
Get Melissa Etheridge: My Window tickets now.
Barry Manilow has won one Grammy Award, and he's been nominated at least once in every decade from the 1970s to the 2010s. That's an achievement in itself! He's one of the world's most beloved showmen, and he's now represented on Broadway with Harmony. He composed the music for this show about the Comedian Harmonists, a real-life 20th-century choral group.
Spamalot writers Eric Idle and John Du Prez had a lot of reasons to look on the bright side of life when Spamalot premiered in 2005. The show won three Tony Awards, including Best Musical, out of 12 nominations. Idle is also a founding member of the award-winning Monty Python comedy troupe, whose classic 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail is the basis for this musical spoof on Arthurian legends.
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Prayer for the French Republic
Playwright Joshua Harmon is a two-time winner of the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play. He received both those honors for Admissions, and did so once again for Prayer for the French Republic, an epic story about a French Jewish family grappling with their safety over 70 years. After its acclaimed Off-Broadway premiere, the show now makes its Broadway debut.
Among the show's seven Tony Awards from 1975 was a win for Best Original Score, for composer/lyricist Charlie Smalls. His music was instrumental (pun intended) in transforming the age-old story of The Wizard of Oz into a celebration of Black art and culture. Diana Ross and Michael Jackson later sang his songs in the 1978 film adaptation, and Wayne Brady leads the cast doing so in the 2024 Broadway revival.
And lest we forget the bookwriters, William F. Brown earned a Tony nomination of his own for his work on The Wiz. The revival features additional material by Amber Ruffin, also a Tony nominee for Some Like It Hot.
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