Tony’s packed nominations show pre-pandemic Broadway return


NEW YORK (AP) — After a frantic end to the Broadway season and a few jittery moments as shows struggled to meet the eligibility deadline amid fresh COVID-19 outbreaks, the Tony Award nominations are finally in. at hand.

Tony Award winner Adrienne Warren and three-time nominee Joshua Henry were due to help reveal the list of 26 categories on Monday morning on Tony’s YouTube channel.

The season – with 34 new productions – represents a full return to theaters after nearly two years of pandemic-enforced shutdown. It’s also notable for a surge of plays by black playwrights, reflecting the impact on Broadway of the global conversation about race following the 2020 murder of George Floyd.

Potential shows eligible for nominations range wildly, from a David Mamet cover to Paula Vogel’s. There are golden age classics like “Funny Girl” and “The Music Man” and very current entries like “Thoughts of a Colored Man” and “Pass Over.” There’s Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” and a show celebrating Michael Jackson.

One of the season’s most critically acclaimed new musicals is “A Strange Loop,” playwright Michael R. Jackson’s theatrical meta-journey – a melodious spectacle about a black gay man writing a show about a black gay man. It’s a brave work that has put Tony nominees in a bind, applauding its freshness and directness but perhaps worried about its commercial viability outside of New York.

The main potential challengers for the best new musical crown include “Six”, the corrective feminist version of the six wives of Henry VIII of England, and “Girl From the North Country”, which uses the songs of Bob Dylan to weave a story from the Depression era. in the Midwest.

There’s also “Mrs. Doubtfire,” based on Robin Williams’ film about an actor who poses as his children’s portly Scottish nanny in order to spend time with them after a divorce, and “MJ,” a comedy The King of Pop’s organic musical, jam-packed with his biggest hits, including “ABC,” “Black or White,” “Bad,” “Billie Jean,” “Off the Wall,” “Thriller,” and “I’ll Be There”.

Major new game entries could include two on the economy – “Skeleton Crew,” Dominique Morisseau’s play about blue-collar job insecurity at a Detroit auto stamping plant in 2008, and “The Lehman Trilogy”, Stefano Massini’s play spanning 150 years about what led to the collapse of financial giant Lehman Brothers.

There’s also “The Minutes,” Tracey Letts’ description of a small-town city council meeting that exposes backstabbing, greed, and the greatest delusions in American history, and “Thoughts of a Colored Man”, Keenan Scott II’s examination of being black in America, told with a series of vignettes over the course of a single day.

There were four musical covers during the season – ‘Funny Girl’, the classic American show featuring Beanie Feldstein about the rise of a comedic star of the Ziegfeld Follies, and ‘The Music Man’ which celebrates the American soul with a traveling con man in small-town Iowa starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, who each have two Tonys and are likely to be nominated this time around.

The other two likely entries in the musical revival category are “Caroline, Or Change,” the Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori show that explores America’s racial, social, and economic divisions in 1963 Louisiana, and “Company,” Sondheim’s exploration of one person’s conflicting feelings. about engagement, this time with a gender reassignment of the main character.

Leading contenders in the play’s revival category are “Trouble in Mind,” Alice Childress’ take on a Broadway play that explores the racial divide in the 1950s, and “How I Learned to Drive,” the Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, told by the survivor of childhood sexual abuse, featuring two likely candidates: Mary-Louise Parker and David Morse.

Others are “Take Me Out,” Richard Greenberg’s exploration of what happens when a baseball superstar comes out as gay, and “for girls of color who’ve thought about suicide/when the rainbow -sky is enough,” playwright Ntozake Shange’s exploration of black femininity. There’s also a “Macbeth” with an experimental theatrical sensibility starring Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga.

The best actor in a musical race will likely include a trio of veterans – Jackman in “The Music Man”, Rob McClure in “Mrs. Doubtfire” and Billy Crystal of “Mr. Saturday Night” – and two newcomers, Jaquel Spivey of “A Strange Loop” and Myles Frost playing the lead moonwalking role in “MJ.”

Probably the top nominees for Best Actress in a Musical are Sharon D. Clarke of “Caroline, Or Change,” Foster of “The Music Man,” Katrina Lenk of “Company,” and Joaquina Kalukango for “Paradise Square.” Other possibilities include Brittney Mack (“Six”) and Mare Winningham (“Girl From the North Country”).

The vote could go down in history if ‘A Strange Loop’s L Morgan Lee nabs a star actress in a music nomination, which would make her the first openly transgender performer to be nominated for a Tony Award.

The eligibility deadline for the 2021-22 season has been extended to May 4 after several Broadway shows had to cancel performances due to reported COVID-19 cases among cast and crew.

The Tony Awards will take place at Radio City Music Hall on June 12. The ceremony will air live on CBS and Paramount+ beginning at 8 p.m. ET. Film and stage star Ariana DeBose will host.

Tony’s producers made a point of telling attendees this year he had a ‘strict no-violence policy’, a clear nod to the fallout when actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars .


Marc Kennedy is at


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