meta-scriptMeet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Alvvays' Molly Rankin On The Indie Darlings' Ascent, Dodging Expectations | GRAMMY.com
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Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Alvvays' Molly Rankin On The Indie Darlings' Ascent, Dodging Expectations

Riding the headwinds of their breakthrough album 'Blue Rev,' Alvvays have scooped up a nomination for Best Alternative Music Performance at the 2024 GRAMMYs. Read an interview with their leader, Molly Rankin, and watch a clip of her in conversation.

GRAMMYs/Jan 16, 2024 - 06:08 pm

On a scale of one to 10, how crazy was 2023 for the rock band Alvvays?

“I would say an eight, probably,” frontwoman Molly Rankin deadpans to GRAMMY.com. If that's true, she doesn't show it. “I'm pretty sedate as a person,” she explains during an on-camera portion of the interview, “So, if you want anything with more energy, I can certainly try.”

This belies that Alvvays poured a lot of energy into Blue Rev, their imagination and melody packed third album, which put them on the map for many back in 2022.

Blue Rev's third single, “Belinda Says,” was an instant favorite among the indie set — and now, it's netted a nomination for Best Alternative Music Performance at the 2024 GRAMMYs.). (They're up against Arctic Monkeys (“Body Paint”), boygenius (“Cool About It”, Lana Del Rey (“A&W”), and Paramore (“This Is Why.”)

Sure, Rankin might have a stoic air. But she's clearly also thoughtful, intent on cannily navigating these unfamiliar waters, shoulder-to-shoulder with her bandmates: keyboardist Kerri MacLellan, guitarist Alec O'Hanley, bassist Abbey Blackwell, and drummer Sheridan Riley.

“Just being included or mentioned has been exciting, because when we started, we couldn't even get a show. I just want to have that same mentality,” Rankin says. “I just don't ever want to feel entitled to an award or a review or a piece.”

Whatever happens at the 2024 GRAMMYs, Rankin's holistic attitude will ease the way forward — and we'll always have Blue Rev as an exemplar of lush, witty indie rock, with more hooks than a tackle box.

Read on for an interview with Rankin about Alvvays' [pronounced always] whirlwind 2023, and their road to Music's Biggest Night — along with a bonus, exclusive clip of her in conversation with GRAMMY.com.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

You've said you “didn't want to get swept up” in the GRAMMYs thing. What do you mean by that?

Well, the truth is that you apply for GRAMMYs. So, for anyone to say that they're not intrigued by that, after applying or having someone apply on your behalf, it's a little bit strange.

What do the GRAMMYs mean? We've always watched them as kids. I don't know, in recent years if I've been so up to date, but [there have been] a lot of big performances.

When we were recording Blue Rev, we were sitting on [engineer/producer] Shawn Everett's couch and he had probably four or something GRAMMYs just sitting on his console. It is a large presence.

Where do you personally place the GRAMMYs in your musical universe?

I think that it's cool to see lesser known artists crack into that world, whatever that ends up meaning. But awards as a concept have had such a low bar for expectation, and I've always just thought that every development with us has been this really rare bonus. Expecting anything, for me, has not been the right approach.

What do you remember about guiding the band out of the bar circuit — aiming your arrow a little higher?

We generally tried to play in the United States as much as we could, because staying in Canada and becoming a Canadian band can be limiting. I don't really know why, but it can be.

We always just wanted to crack into other regions and see if we could sustain ourselves. But I have so many friends who are so much more talented than I am that haven't gotten to do things like that with their music. So, again, it's all just exciting to us.

What do you remember about the biz 10 years ago as opposed to now?

It did seem like there were more venues. Maybe it was easier, in a way, to blow up.

Like, if you were mentioned on a blog, that would just be kind of like a platform for you to just take off and tour and be everywhere. But it's not so much that anymore. I think just with the cost of everything, and people [not being] so reliant on reviews, they can pick and choose what they like.

Things have changed. I don't know where things are going to go. We're all just hanging onto the bumper.

As streaming continued its grip on everything and touring became even more of an insane, expensive ordeal, what do you remember about keeping the band ballasted?

We didn't have an overnight success type thing. Our album was out for probably a year before we really felt like we were touring in a really big way. And everything felt so gradual that we did have time to have those growing pains, but we also had jobs.

So, I don't know. Everything has been so incremental for us, even though maybe it doesn't seem like that to some people. But Alec's been in so many other bands and paid a lot of his dues — worked at various poutine restaurants. I'm trying to think of how to extrapolate on that.

What were you aiming to do with Blue Rev, as per your creative and professional trajectories?

Well, first, the goal was to write more songs, and that seems like a mountain to climb sometimes.

And then, to actually complete an album, for Alec and I to have the same opinion on where a song has ended up versus what the demo sounded like. And just coming to a place where we both feel the same way. That is such a process for us, and a labor of love.

But finishing the record was all that I was really pinning my hopes and dreams on, and everything else has so much more to do with the timing and who is believing you and listening to you and understanding what you're saying. And people put out things all the time that don't land, and a lot of it is not really in their hands.

I guess with this album, I did want everything to be a little bit more reflective of our live show, too, because I think that we can be a pretty aggressive band, guitar-wise, and can be an energetic band. But I'm not sure that was necessarily reflected in our previous recordings.

What do you remember about bringing Blue Rev to the finish line?

I think that there were so many different nights where me, Kerri, Alec, and Sean just never slept. And that can bring out the best in you and the worst in you.

But we did have a lot of fun doing it. And we did it in person, we did it on computers, like this [remote video interview], and Sean was there with us the whole way to help us through it.

Just going back at the end of mastering and listening to all the demos that I had lived with for years, and felt so unhealthily attached to, and realizing that every finished song was vastly better than those artifacts — that was really gratifying.

I recently interviewed Adrian from the Black Pumas about working with Shawn Everett; he remembers Shawn cranking up a minor detail until it became the soul of the song. Were there any particular instances like that?

He [Shawn] has such a great sense of moments of impact, and he just understands when something needs to feel moving and when something needs to shift.

I really think that we connected on that in a big way. And he has such a grasp of expansive sound. But yeah, he also hears things. He hears hooks, and is a musician in his own regard. So there were so many things that I feel like we've learned from him.

There's a bridge in this song called “Very Online Guy,” where he created this whole other experimental portion melodically in the chunk of the bridge because he will just take a random thing you say and copy and paste it into a song just as an experiment.

So that was basically what he did, and it ended up working with some editing. But he is a very unpredictable person and not afraid to be rejected, which is so important.

How are you preparing for the GRAMMYs? And what are you looking forward to in 2024 and beyond?

I think just us showing up and going there is really surreal for us. So we're excited to just put on an outfit and sit in a seat for six hours and watch the crazy production that is the GRAMMYs.

But I want to just keep making music that I like and that I feel good about putting out into the world. And hopefully that'll continue to be in the form of albums and pop songs that I like to write and mess around with.

I'm so lucky to have also the people that are in the band with us. And Alec has always been such a fruitful collaborator, and that collaboration is something that I really feel passionately about — and editing each other and bouncing ideas off of one another It's this really intangible element that I really appreciate, and just to continue to do that would be ideal.

Are you planning to go for the full monty on the red carpet? Are you guys going to serve looks or stay out of that racket?

I don't know if we're capable of being polished to that degree, but we'll see what's in store for us. I know that we have a lot of people that care about us. They might come through for us and get us some new pants. God knows we need them.

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Joy Oladokun
Joy Oladokun

Photo: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

video

Outside Lands 2023: Watch Interviews With Alvvays, Aespa, Joy Oladokun, Lovejoy, & More

On Aug. 11-13, Outside Lands returned to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park for the 15th time. Check out some stellar performances from the multi-day music and food festival.

GRAMMYs/Aug 15, 2023 - 03:30 pm

In the midst of an unseasonably chilly August — a San Francisco trademark — Outside Lands raged once again.

Some 75,000 attendees flocked to the Bay Area to enjoy delicious food and an eclectic array of entertainment — among them Janelle Monáe, Foo Fighters, Kendrick Lamar, and other leading lights of today's music.

GRAMMY.com was there to soak up the tunes and the atmosphere — and film some truly inspired sets. Below, revisit Outside Lands — or, if you weren't there, experience it from afar — with some top-tier performances.

aespa

Lovejoy

Becky Hill

Blond:ish

Matt Hansen

Alvvays

Joy Oladokun

power pop albums 2022 Alvvays live
Molly Rankin and Kerri MacLellan of Alvvays perform in London

Photo: Lorne Thomson/Redferns

list

5 Essential Power Pop Albums From 2022: Dazy, Young Guv, The Beths & More

The beauty of well-executed power pop is how effortless it can sound, and as this year's releases have proven, even a song that clocks in under 2 minutes can make a long-lasting impact.

GRAMMYs/Dec 22, 2022 - 10:32 pm

Power pop may not necessarily be a genre en vogue, but there is something admirable about an artist who devotes their energy to crafting the perfect pop song with nothing but a guitar and a story to tell.

Like many things in music, its origins start with the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Byrds, and the Kinks. While the likes of Led Zeppelin, Cream and Jimi Hendrix were pushing the limits (and volume) of the delta blues, power pop upstarts like the Raspberries and Badfinger were trying their best to recapture the sound of Beatlemania. Cheap Trick, whose shows received Beatle-like hysteria abroad, brought power pop to the masses with songs like "Dream Police," "Surrender," and of course their effervescent jam "I Want You to Want Me."

But it was singer/songwriter Alex Chilton and his band Big Star who have remained power pop’s heroes. The band’s first two albums — #1 Record and Radio City — are considered cult classics in the genre. Chilton had a knack for writing catchy, danceable rock songs like  "September Gurls," "When My Baby’s Beside Me," and "In the Street," while at the same time delivering gentler ballads like "I’m In Love With A Girl" or "Thirteen" with the lovesick sincerity of a teenager with a crush.

Their music would go on to influence countless bands, many of whom had commercial success Big Star could only dream of. From Nick Lowe to the Cars, the Bangles to R.E.M., there is a long history of Chilton disciples who have plied their trade creating jangly and bright rock 'n' roll as sweet as candy-o.

Perhaps no disciple was more devoted than Paul Westerberg of Minnesotan misfits the Replacements. For Westerberg, Chilton was both his mentor and muse as a songwriter. "I never travel far without a little Big Star," he sang on the rollicking ode "Alex Chilton" from the Replacements' classic Pleased to Meet Me. On this track, Westerberg envisioned a world in which "children by the million sing for Alex Chilton." Thirty-five years later since that song was written, Westerberg’s power pop utopia has arrived.

2022 saw an explosion of vital power pop releases from artists who both carried that torch and pushed the genre in exciting new directions — a reminder that power pop isn't just fodder for grocery stores or radio replays, but rather music worthy of dissecting and embracing. The beauty of well-executed power pop is how effortless it can sound, and as this year's releases have proven, even a song that clocks in under 2 minutes can make a long-lasting impact. Here are five essential power pop albums from 2022 that you need to check out.

Young Guv – III & IV

For 15 years, Ben Cook was a guitarist for Canadian hardcore punk heroes F***ed Up, a band known for pummeling its listeners with loud guitar riffs and barking vocals. It’s about as far from power pop as you can get, which is why it’s surprising that since leaving that band, Cook has made a name for himself making gentler, catchy power pop under the moniker Young Guv.

In 2022, the band released not one but two albums: GUV III & GUV IV, each of which were recorded in the spring of 2020, when Young Guv’s tour was halted in Texas due to COVID. Cook and his bandmates spent the next nine months living at the foot of the Taos Mountains in New Mexico in an "earthship" made from Adobe clay, tires, and bottles. They spent their days writing music, swimming in the Rio Grande, and listening to a lot of Miles Davis, and emerged on the other side with two album’s worth of new music.

While the album covers may look similar, the two records have different feels. Songs on III like "It’s Only Dancing" and "Couldn’t Leave U If I Tried" offer a more immediate rush of danceable, jangle rock, while IV feels a bit more meditative and lived in — like the wilting "Change Your Mind" or minimalistic "Cry 2 Sleep." To put it in a different perspective, III is made for the days out swimming under the sun, while IV sounds like a night best spent gazing at the bright stars in the middle of the desert.

2nd Grade – Easy Listening

For more than a decade, Philadelphia has become the  hotspot for indie rock. Artists like The War on Drugs, Japanese Breakfast, Kurt Vile, and countless others have made a name for themselves in the City of Brotherly Love before becoming embraced by fans far beyond Broad Street. Peter Gill, frontman of Philadelphia’s 2nd Grade, may not be a household name just yet, but after releasing his band’s excellent new album Easy Listening in September, perhaps album opener "Cover of Rolling Stone" won’t be a work of fiction for very long.

The best power pop doesn’t take itself too seriously, and on Easy Listening, Gill writes with a childlike playfulness about Keith Richards’ guitar and the episode of "Seinfeld" when Kramer moves to L.A. Then there are songs like "Me & My Blue Angles" and "Teenage Overpopulation'' that feel as if they have been around forever — like old friends back in town for a beer. "Strung Out On You," in particular, sounds like a classic left off of one of Big Star’s first two records. Easy Listening is exactly as the album title advertises: a breezy and fun power pop gem that makes power pop sound easy.

DAZY – OUTOFBODY

James Goodson is a music publicist living in Richmond, Virginia who, on a whim during the pandemic, recorded and released songs as DAZY, a solo-project of loud, fuzzy power pop. Following a collection of demos MAXIMUMBLASTSUPERLOUD: The First 24 Songs and 2022’s "Pressure Cooker," the one-off hookfest of a collab single with Militarie Gun, DAZY unleashed a debut full-length.

Clocking in at just over 25 minutes, OUTOFBODY is a quick and dizzying hit of electric dopamine, delivered solely via computer and a guitar. These songs rip with huge refrains, thumping drum machines, and buzzy guitars.

Goodson was a child of punk rock, and grew up listening to the likes of Nirvana, Green Day and Rancid. "I wanted to tap into the music that I’ve always loved and will always love so it will never get old to me," Goodson told Stereogum.  Throughout the record, Goodson uses these  influences as a sort of cathartic expression of the existential dread he maps out on OUTOFBODY. You can hear that early pop-punk, college rock, and grunge on "Split" and "On My Way," as well as Oasis and Britpop within the hooks on "Ladder" and "Choose Yr Ramone."

Within all the noise, however, is the comfort in knowing that music you love will never leave your side.

The Beths – Expert in a Dying Field

It’s easy to take what the Beths do so well for granted. Since they first arrived on the scene with 2018’s Future Me Hates Me, the New Zealand quartet has done nothing but write sincere, lasting power pop. In 2022 the Beths released their best album yet, Expert in a Dying Field, a collection of songs that dive into the anxieties and heartbreak of everyday life.

On "Silence Is Golden," the album's loudest song, frontwoman Liz Stokes propels into the unending noise.  Elsewhere, on "Your Side," "Knees Deep," and the excellent title track, Stokes’ lovelorn characters toggle between relationship autopsies and dreams about what’s next, "mixing drinks and messages." "When You Know You Know" wouldn’t sound out of place next to Avril Lavigne on the radio, and features some of Stokes’ best turn of phrases ("Running down the road to jog the memory"). Whether or not the album title is a bit self-deprecating remains to be seen, but the Beths are the heroes that power pop needs.

Alvvays – Blue Rev

Toronto indie darlings Alvvays first arrived on the scene in 2014 with their self-titled debut that included the indie-pop anthem "Archie, Marry Me." They leveled up on their next record, 2017’s Antisocialites, and then… well… the band went silent. For a little while, it felt like Alvvays would never return, but it turns out that the band had to overcome roadblocks of biblical proportions to record their fantastic new record. Not a pandemic, a studio flood, and stolen demos could derail Blue Rev.

On Blue Rev, Alvvays teamed up with GRAMMY-winning producer Shawn Everett to turn power pop on its head and send it in new directions. Blue Rev is awash in shoegaze-y guitars and lush synths, and songs such as "After the Earthquake," "Many Mirrors," and "Easy On Your Own?" sound like if R.E.M.’s Murmur and Monster were put into a blender.

Meanwhile, singer/guitarist Molly Rankin has a unique talent for making life’s mundanities feel high stakes; she writes about running into an ex-lover’s sibling on "Pharmacist," a tale that lands with a gut-punch, singing "You know it happens all the time, it’s alright. I know I never crossed your mind." It’s endlessly captivating and inviting, and with Blue Rev, Alvvays have established themselves as power pop’s new pioneers.

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Megan Thee Stallion performing in Houston June 2024
Megan Thee Stallion performs in Houston on June 15, 2024.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation

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5 Iconic Moments From Megan Thee Stallion's Houston Hometown Shows

Megan Thee Stallion returned to Houston on June 14 and 15 for an epic homecoming filled with surprise guests, gifts and plenty of twerking. Revisit five of the most exciting moments from the Houston stops on the rapper's Hot Girl Summer Tour.

GRAMMYs/Jun 17, 2024 - 08:31 pm

Seven years into her career, Megan Thee Stallion is no stranger to a sold-out crowd. The rapper has been dubbed "Sold-out Stalli" since selling out nearly 20 shows on her Hot Girl Summer Tour — and though her stops at Houston's Toyota Center weren't the first sellouts on the trek, they were considerably the most meaningful ones.

"I'm so happy to be home," Megan, a lifelong Houstonian, told the crowd on June 14, night one of the back-to-back shows. After honing her rap skills and launching her career in H-Town, the star expressed her gratitude for the support her Houston fans have shown her from the start. 

"Hotties, y'all know what we've been through, y'all been rocking with me since day motherf—in' one," she gushed on night one. "I love y'all, I appreciate y'all, I respect y'all and I'm very grateful for y'all because, without the Hotties, there would be no motherf—in' Hot Girl Coach."

The two-night stint highlighted Megan's vulnerability, drive and exceptional showmanship. But above all else, her hometown shows reminded fans that she's just a strong-kneed, animé-loving girl from Houston. 

Below, check out five of the most memorable moments from Megan Thee Stallion's Houston homecoming.

She Organized A Hottie Egg Hunt

Before stepping on stage on June 14, Megan sent Houston fans on a Hottie Egg Hunt for a chance to win merchandise and tickets to the show that night. The three-part interactive adventure featured clues, documented on Instagram and X, that helped fans locate the golden eggs. 

The first clue reads, "A wild stallion can't be tamed…meet me at the place where I'm gonna rock the stage!" The second, "Where I run through the mall with your daddy." The last, "People are smart, my Hotties are smarter, find this egg where I got one degree hotter."

Eager fans scoured the whole city and eventually found the eggs at Megan’s favorite spots in Houston: Toyota Center, The Galleria and Texas Southern University. So far, Houston has been the only city Megan has done this for, making for another special moment between her and Houston hotties.

She Continued To Prove She's A Girls Girl

An unfortunate rap show trend has seen several female opening acts receive hate ahead of male headliners. Luckily this hasn't been the case for Memphis rapper GloRilla, who has noticeably been enjoying her experience as an opener on the Hot Girl Summer Tour. 

On night two in Houston, GloRilla presented Megan with a blown-up art piece commemorating her upcoming album, Megan, on stage. In return, Megan complimented the 24-year-old rapper, saying, "Glo is one of the realest women I've ever met." 

That evening, Megan showed her love for another rising star — and fellow Houston female rapper — Monaleo. The Mo City rapper sent the crowd into a frenzy as she sang her 2023 hit song "Beating Down Yo Block," which samples the classic "Knocking Pictures Off Da Wall" by Houston's Yungstar.

She Paid Homage To Houston Legends

Monaleo was far from the only Houston native to take the stage with Megan during her hometown visit. On night one, Megan surprised fans with a legendary performance from a few Houston all-stars. The room filled with excited screams as H-Town''s Bun B popped out to perform UGK's "Int'l. Players Anthem (I Choose You)." As if it couldn't get more iconic, Megan joined the legend on stage to rap Pimp C's verse of the song. 

The night also featured a legendary performance of "Southside" by Lil Keke, which Megan teased prior in the show with her "Southside Royalty Freestyle." Fans also got to enjoy Slim Thug's verse from "Still Tippin," a song he shares with Mike Jones and Paul Wall. (Wall also performed the song on Megan's tour the previous night at Austin's Moody Center.)

On night two, Megan brought out another Houston great, Z-Ro to rap a classic, "Mo City Don." Though a Hot Girl at heart, Megan couldn't help but celebrate the legendary men who paved the way and left a historic mark in Houston's dynamic hip-hop scene. 

She Showed — And Received — Hometown Love

As Megan arrived at the Toyota Center on June 14, she received a surprise welcome by students from her alma mater, the Pearland High School Band and Prancers — a heartwarming kickoff to a night of mutual love between Megan and Houston that put her in high-spirits before the show. 

Both nights were filled with an immense amount of energy and support, from Megan signing autographs throughout the show to making sure she got the perfect selfie with her beloved supporters. Even during more tender moments — like “Cobra," a song about suicide and her depression — felt particularly moving because of the interaction between Megan and her hometown fans.

She Put The "Hot" In Hottie

Taking notes from another H-Town hero and fellow Houstonian, Megan put on an impressive show reminiscent of Beyoncé, from jaw-dropping choreography to stunning wind-blown poses. Megan also tapped into her past life as a Prairie View A&M Panther Doll with majorette-inspired dancing during her song "Cognac Queen." 

Of course, she wouldn't be Thee Stallion if she didn't show off her twerking skills and famously powerful knees during her two-hour show run. Fans even got to participate in the twerk-fest during intermission, as a "Hottie Cam" panned through the audience, showing love to the girls and boys.

If her hometown shows were any indication, Megan Thee Stallion's future is not just bright — it's smoking hot as well. 

GRAMMY Rewind: Megan Thee Stallion Went From "Savage" To Speechless After Winning Best New Artist In 2021

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys perform  at the 77th annual Tony Awards in New York City, Sunday, June 16.
Jay-Z and Alicia Keys perform "Empire State Of Mind" at the 77th annual Tony Awards on June 16.

Photo: Mary Kouw

news

2024 Tony Awards Recap: Musical Theater Wins And Exciting Performances

From the big wins for "Merrily We Roll Along" to "The Outsiders" taking home Best Musical and "Suffs" unexpected win, musicals made a splash at the 2024 Tonys.

GRAMMYs/Jun 17, 2024 - 05:36 pm

Broadway had a jam-packed slate of musicals this year, with everything from originals to adaptations and highly anticipated revivals. It would only follow, then, that it would be a busy race toward the 77th Tony Awards

Fifteen musicals were eligible for nomination this year, up from nine in 2023. Fittingly, the June 16 telecast from Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater in New York City had some dramatic surprises — especially in the music-related categories. 

One race that was anyone’s game was Best Musical. While many thought Alicia Keys' "Hell’s Kitchen" would take the big win, the award went to "The Outsiders." Featuring music by folk duo Jamestown Revival, the book/film adaptation won a handful of awards, including Direction Of A Musical for Dayna Taymor. It was a landmark year, in which four of the five nominees for direction were women.  

Broadway is perhaps trying to capitalize on pop music fans more due to post-pandemic struggles and the reputation of Broadway being for the elderly elite. The uptick in pop stars gracing the Great White Way led the New York Times’ Michael Paulson to declare that Broadway was entering its pop era; fittingly half of the eligible new musicals had scores composed by people who primarily work as recording artists. 

Broadway is rife with recording artist-helmed scores and jukebox musicals, including Alicia Keys, David Byrne, Fatboy Slim, Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens, the Who, and Jamestown Revival. Recording artist-driven musicals were also among some of the notable snubs at the Tonys. Shows that failed to secure Best Musical or Original Score nominations included Ingrid Michaelson for "The Notebook," Barry Manilow for "Harmony," Huey Lewis for "The Heart of Rock and Roll," and Britney Spears for "Once Upon a One More Time."

The music categories did offer up some big name winners. Best Original Score was set to be an interesting category this year because a play, "Stereophonic," with music by Arcade Fire’s Will Butler was in the running. However, the suffragette musical "Suffs" written and starring Shaina Taub took home the award. She also scored Best Book of a Musical, which was predicted by several experts. "Stereophonic" did win five awards total including Best Play and Sound Design Of A Play. 

Orchestrator and musical director Jonathan Tunick expectedly won Best Orchestrations for "Merrily We Roll Along." While the orchestrations aren’t terribly different from the original production, the Sondheim show flopped when it first opened in 1981. Yet the "Merrily" revival has found huge success due to the strength of the music and its three famous leads — perhaps the biggest name on the show's Playbill,  Daniel Radcliffe, won  Best Performance By A Featured Actor In A Musical.

Radcliffe was joined in the winners’ circle by costar "Merrily" Jonathan Groff, who took home Best Performance By An Actor in a Leading Role In A Musical. Costar Lindsay Mendez lost out on Best Actress in a Featured Role of a Musical to "Hell’s Kitchen’s" Kecia Lewis, whose performance in the Alicia Keys bio-musical was very well reviewed. Considered a front runner for Best Musical, "Hell’s Kitchen" only ended up taking home two awards: Lewis’ actress award and Best Performance by a Leading Actress In A Musical, which went to Maleah Joi Moon, who was the frontrunner in predictions.  

Beyond wins and upsets, performances were the highlight of the Tonys. "The Outsiders" has been garnering praise for its rumble scene, a segment of which made up the show’s Tonys performance, complete with rain. Meanwhile, "Merrily" featured its three stars with a sweet rendition of "Old Friends." Other notable performances showcased the "wow-factors" from many of the nominated shows, including a number from the passionate dance-focused show, "Illinoise," and circus tricks in the number from "Water for Elephants." Jay-Z and Alicia Keys brought the audience to their feet with their performance of "Empire State Of Mind" from "Hell’s Kitchen." Meanwhile, "Suffs" leaned into the history lessons of the show.  

Non-nominee performances that stood out include a Fosse-fueled tribute to Chita Rivera, which also included a dance from "West Side Story" performed by host Ariana DeBose (who won an Oscar for the 2021 re-make for the role of Anita, which Chita Rivera originated on Broadway). Nicole Scherzinger, who will appear in "Sunset Boulevard" next season, sang the "In Memoriam." Speaking of West End, the London-transfer production of "Cabaret" included an immersive rendition of "Willkommen," led by Eddie Redmayne, who got dragged on social media and in the press for the clown-like performance many found "terrifying." 

Next year we will be getting even more pop-artist driven musicals, including Elton John leading the charge with two musicals in the works, "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Tammy Faye." Other notable upcoming shows will have music by John Legend, Elvis Costello, Nas, Neko Case, and Mitski. Plus, a production of "Romeo and Juliet" will feature music by frequent Taylor Swift collaborator (as well as 2024 Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical) Jack Antonoff

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