‘Stereophonic’ Wins the Tony Award for Best New Play

‘Stereophonic’ Wins the Tony Award for Best New Play

“Stereophonic,” which eavesdrops on a folk-rock quintet whose members make up and break up as they lay down tracks for what will become a smash LP, won the Tony Award for best new play on Sunday. Its 13 Tony nominations are the most a play has ever received.

It was the fifth award of the night for “Stereophonic.” Daniel Aukin won for best direction of a play; Will Brill, who plays the band’s bassist, for best featured actor in a play; David Zinn, for best scenic design of a play; and Ryan Rumery for best sound design of a play.

A meditation on the joy and torture of creative collaboration, “Stereophonic” — written by David Adjmi and directed by Daniel Aukin, with songs by Will Butler — is a transporting work of naturalistic drama and a star-making break for its cast. Set over the course of a year, first in a recording studio in Sausalito, Calif., and later in Los Angeles, it embraces the technical aspects of recording.

“I took that as a challenge,” Adjmi told The New York Times. “So much of it, the banality of the process, is part of what’s so beautiful about it, the granularity of it.”

“Stereophonic,” which opened in April at the Golden Theater, is a critical hit. “The play is a staggering achievement and already feels like a must-see American classic,” Naveen Kumar wrote in a review for The Times.

Remarkably, many of the cast members had barely played an instrument before rehearsals began. And none of them had played professionally. But after an unusually rigorous rehearsal period, they became a band, supporting one another even through bum notes and fitful tempo.

“We all hit wrong notes all the time,” Sarah Pidgeon, a star of the show, said. “But it still works because it’s real.”

The other nominees for best new play were “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding,” “Mary Jane,” “Mother Play” and “Prayer for the French Republic.”

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