The 74th Annual Tony Awards
Happy Tony Sunday!
It is Broadway’s biggest night, and tonight is even bigger as it is the awards show for the 2019/2020 season which ended early when theatres were shut down due to COVID-19.
But let’s start with a little bit of history about the Tony Awards:
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre (often referred to as the “Tony”), is considered the most prestigious award in the American Theatre. The award was founded by The American Theatre Wing in 1947 to recognize those who showed “distinguished stage acting and technical achievement” and is named after actress, director, and performer, Antoinette Perry.
Like everything else, the ceremony will be different this year, and here is all the information you need to tune in:
The 74th Tony Awards will be presented tonight at 7pm tonight on Paramount+! The ceremony will be hosted by Audra McDonald, with Leslie Odom Jr. taking over at 9pm for Broadway’s Back, the event’s second half, which will feature performances from a gathering of Broadway stars to celebrate the return of live theatre.
There are a lot of varying opinions on this year’s event and it has been the topic of discussion, which I will get to in a minute.
Because while there is a lot to discuss about the theatre industry, changes to the ceremony, or even having a ceremony at all, it does not take away the honour presented to this year’s nominees.
So let’s meet them:
Grand Horizons - Beth Whol
The Inheritance - Matthew Lopez
Sea Wall/A Life - Simon Stephens and Nick Payne
Slave Play - Jeremy O. Harris
The Sound Inside - Adam Rapp
Jagged Little Pill
Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Tina! The Tina Turner Musical
BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL:
Jagged Little Pill - Diablo Cody
Moulin Rouge! The Musical - John Logan
Tina! The Tina Turner Musical - Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar, and Kees Prins
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE:
A Christmas Carol - Christopher Nightingale
The Inheritance - Paul Englishby
The Rose Tattoo - Fitz Patton and James Michael Webb
Slave Play - Lindsay Jones
The Sound Inside - Daniel Kluger
BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY:
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune - Terrence McNally
A Soldier’s Play - Charles Fuller
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY:
Ian Barford - Linda Vista
Andrew Burnap - The Inheritance
Jake Gyllenhaal - Sea Wall/A Life
Tom Hiddleston - Betrayal
Tom Sturridge - Sea Wall/A Life
Blair Underwood - A Soldier’s Play
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY:
Joaquina Kalukango - Slave Play
Laura Linney - My Name Is Lucy Barton
Audra McDonald - Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune
Mary-Louise Parker - The Sound Inside
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL:
Aaron Tveit - Moulin Rouge! The Musical
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL:
Karen Olivo - Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Elizabeth Stanley - Jagged Little Pill
Adrienne Warren - Tina! The Tina Turner Musical
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY:
Ato Blankson-Wood - Slave Play
James Cusati-Moyer - Slave Play
David Alan Grier - A Soldier’s Play
John Benjamin Hickey - The Inheritance
Paul Hilton - The Inheritance
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY:
Jane Alexander - Grand Horizons
Chalia La Tour - Slave Play
Annie McNamara - Slave Play
Lois Smith - The Inheritance
Cora Vander Broek - Linda Vista
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL:
Danny Burstein - Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Derek Klena - Jagged Little Pill
Sean Allan Krill - Jagged Little Pill
Sahr Ngaujah - Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Daniel J. Watts - Tina! The Tina Turner Musical
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL:
Kathryn Gallagher - Jagged Little Pill
Celia Rose Gooding - Jagged Little Pill
Robyn Hurder - Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Lauren Patten - Jagged Little Pill
Myra Lucretia Taylor - Tina! The Tina Turner Musical
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY:
Bob Crowley - The Inheritance
Soutra Gilmour - Betrayal
Rob Howell - A Christmas Carol
Derek McLane - A Soldier’s Play
Clint Ramos - Slave Play
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL:
Ricardo Hernandez and Lucy Mackinnon - Jagged Little Pill
Derek McLane - Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Mark Thompson and Jeff Sugg - Tina! The Tina Turner Musical
BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY:
Dede Ayite - Slave Play
Dede Ayite - A Soldier’s Play
Bob Crowley - The Inheritance
Rob Howell - A Christmas Carol
Clint Ramos - The Rose Tattoo
BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL:
Emily Rebholz - Jagged Little Pill
Mark Thompson - Tina! The Tina Turner Musical
Catherine Zuber - Moulin Rouge! The Musical
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY:
Jiyoun Chang - Slave Play
John Clark - The Inheritance
Heather Gilbert - The Sound Inside
Allen Lee Hughes - A Soldier’s Play
Hugh Vanstone - A Christmas Carol
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL:
Bruno Poet - Tina! The Tina Turner Musical
Justin Townsend - Jagged Little Pill
Justin Townsend - Tina! The Tina Turner Musical
BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY:
Paul Arditti and Christopher Reid - The Inheritance
Simon Baker - A Christmas Carol
Lindsay Jones - Slave Play
Daniel Kluger - Sea Wall/A Life
Daniel Kluger - The Sound Inside
BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL:
Jonathan Deans - Jagged Little Pill
Peter Hylenski - Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Nevin Steinberg - Tina! The Tina Turner Musical
BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY:
David Cromer - The Sound Inside
Stephen Daldry - The Inheritance
Kenny Leon - A Soldier’s Play
Jamie Lloyd - Betrayal
Robert O’Hara - Slave Play
BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL:
Phyllida Lloyd - Tina! The Tina Turner Musical
Diane Paulus - Jagged Little Pill
Alex Timbers - Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui - Jagged Little Pill
Sonya Tayeh - Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Anthony Van Laast - Tina! The Tina Turner Musical
Tom Kitt - Jagged Little Pill
Justin Levine with Katie Kresek, Charlie Rosen, and Matt Stine - Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Ethan Popp - Tina! The Tina Turner Musical
SPECIAL TONY AWARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE THEATRE RECIPIENT:
SPECIAL TONY AWARD RECIPIENTS:
The Broadway Advocacy Coalition
David Bryne’s American Utopia
Freestyle Love Supreme
ISABELLE STEVENSON TONY AWARD RECIPIENT:
TONY HONORS FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE THEATRE RECIPIENTS:
New Federal Theatre, Woody King Jr., Founder
You can check back tomorrow, when I will have updated this post with the winners in each category!
That being said, EVERYONE working in and supporting the theatre arts right now is a winner in my heart, especially after the hits we have taken during the last year. It’s been terrifying and very sad, but theatre humans have rallied and breathed new life into the art form.
But that doesn’t mean the industry isn’t in dire need of change.
The theatre arts need to become more accessible, equitable, diverse, and safe. Especially when it comes to including and uplifting BIPOC, trans and non-binary artists.
There were many conflicting opinions on the Tonys this year, including discussions about putting it behind a paywall (but most of us are going to use the free trial anyways, right?), and the shows and artists who were ineligible for the awards or unable to open last year.
For me, I believe that creating a safe space for everyone is something that should come before the glitz and glam of this commercial event.
That being said, I understand that the financial benefits of the Tony Awards are very important after a year of Broadway being dark.
There’s a lot to think about and even more to discuss, but when it comes to tonight’s ceremony, many of us are wondering whether or not to tune in.
I guess it depends on the individual.
In my opinion, I think the industry should celebrate coming out of its shutdown. I believe that you can criticize and push for change in the theatre and still celebrate what it is. Truly loving something means wanting it to be the best version of itself.
So watch the Tonys, or don’t. But continue to talk about what needs to change in the industry and ask the hard questions.
There is a lot to celebrate tonight, and I will be raising a glass to not just the fabulous nominees, but to every brilliant theatre person who uses their gifts to make magic for others. I honour the resilience of our industry, and hope that we can use our adaptability to create the change we wish to see.
Happy Tony Sunday, everyone!
Let’s come back better next year.