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!
Get Hadestown tickets now.
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!
Get MJ The Musical tickets now.
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.
Get Sweeney Todd tickets now.
Get Merrily We Roll Along tickets now.
As of 2024, Alicia Keys is a 16-time Grammy Award winner. Her latest release, The Diary of Alicia Keys, won for Best Surround Sound Album, which is fitting, as there's another way to experience Keys's music all around you this year. That would be Hell's Kitchen, the new Broadway musical inspired by her coming of age in the title Manhattan neighborhood, where she ignited her passion for music.
Get Hell's Kitchen 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.
Get Kimberly Akimbo tickets now.
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.
Get Spamalot tickets now.
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 book writers, 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.
Doubt and Brooklyn Laundry
We're constantly (moon)struck by John Patrick Shanley's talent. Besides writing the Oscar-winning screenplay for Moonstruck, he's written dozens of acclaimed plays, perhaps the best known being Doubt. His Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning work follows a nun who suspects a priest of improper conduct at the school where she serves as principal.
Just before the first Broadway revival of Doubt in February 2024, his early-career work Danny and the Deep Blue Sea returned off Broadway with Aubrey Plaza and Christopher Abbott. He also directs the world premiere of his newest play, Brooklyn Laundry.
Get Doubt tickets now.
Get Brooklyn Laundry tickets now.
Cabaret and Chicago
Life was a cabaret for John Kander and Fred Ebb when they won the Best Composer And Lyricist Tony Award (now Best Original Score) for Cabaret in 1967. Their scores for Kiss of the Spider Woman and Woman of the Year later won, too, and Chicago is also among the iconic duo's other best-known works. Learn more about all of Kander and Ebb's musicals.
Get Chicago tickets now.
Days of Wine and Roses
Craig Lucas and Adam Guettel first collaborated on The Light in the Piazza, a musical whose soaring score earned composer/lyricist Guettel a Tony Award and book writer Lucas a nomination. In 2023, the pair teamed up for the first time since then to adapt the 1962 film Days of Wine and Roses, about a couple undone by alcoholism, for the Off-Broadway stage. The show now comes to Broadway with Kelli O'Hara and Brian d'Arcy James reprising their Off-Broadway roles.
Get Days of Wine and Roses tickets now.
The Who's Tommy
They're not gonna take anything but awards. The Who's 1969 album Tommy may not have won any major ones when it came out, but critics nonetheless dubbed it a masterpiece and the work that propelled The Who to a new level of fame.
In 1998, Tommy finally got its due when it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. And in 1993, when the stage musical adaptation premiered on Broadway, The Who co-founder Pete Townshend won the Tony Award for Best Original Score for the story of Tommy, a young boy who overcomes trauma and becomes a pinball wizard.
Get The Who's Tommy tickets now.
Andrew Lloyd Webber is one of the select few artists to earn an EGOT: a win for at least one Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony each. In fact, he's won seven Tony Awards, one of which was the Best Musical prize for the longest-running show in Broadway history: The Phantom of the Opera.
Another Webber show that won Best Musical — along with Best Original Score — is Sunset Boulevard, adapted from the Billy Wilder film. The upcoming Broadway revival features Nicole Scherzinger in the plum role of Norma Desmond, a fading film star with desperate delusions of a comeback.
Check back for information on Sunset Boulevard tickets on New York Theatre Guide.
This Russian political drama is by a playwright better known for dealing in British politics. Peter Morgan is the Emmy Award-winning creator of The Crown on Netflix, and he's written many other political dramas set in England, America, and more for the stage. His latest is the award-winning Patriots, which follows the power struggle between Vladimir Putin and the man who put him into power, Boris Berezovsky. Once Putin began his ruthless rise, Berezovsky became his fiercest critic and a public enemy.
Get Patriots tickets now.
Originally published on