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75th Tony Awards

For the Milestone 75th Annual Presentation, the Tony Awards Return to the New Normal and Are Putting On a Spectacular Four Hour Televised Event; Ariana DeBose is Hosting

By Ellis Nassour

June 10, 2022: For the milestone 75th Annual Presentation, the Tony Awards return to the new normal and are putting on a spectacular four hour televised celebration. The   Tony are back to New York’s legendary Showplace of the Nation Radio City Music Hall on Sunday in a TV event that will telecast live coast to coast for the first time.   

For the Milestone 75th Annual Presentation, the Tony Awards Return to the New Normal and Are Putting On a Spectacular Four Hour Televised Event; Ariana DeBose is Hosting

By Ellis Nassour

June 10, 2022: For the milestone 75th Annual Presentation, the Tony Awards return to the new normal and are putting on a spectacular four hour televised celebration. The   Tony are back to New York’s legendary Showplace of the Nation Radio City Music Hall on Sunday in a TV event that will telecast live coast to coast for the first time.   

It all begins at 7 P.M, Eastern/4 P.M. PT with The Tony Awards: Act One, an hour telecast on Paramount + hosted by Emmy-winning Darren Criss (American Buffalo revival) and Julianne Hough (POTUS…).  They’ll bestow multiple craft honors, special awards, and introduce special performances. 

The Tony Awards, Act Two begins at 8 P.M. Eastern/5 P.M. PT when the American Theatre Wing’s Tonys go live on CBS and streaming on Paramount +.  In quite a swift move, the Tonys have reall thought outside the box and chosen Ariana DeBose, the dazzling delight of Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake who won the Featured Actress Oscar for her Anita. She also received a 2018 Tony Featured nomination for her portrayal of Disco Donna in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

Major highlights of the telecast will feature numbers from Tony Award-nominated musicals,  A Strange LoopGirl From the North CountryMJMr. Saturday NightThe Music ManParadise Square, and SIX; and, in celebration of Stephen Sondheim, the cast of Company will perform.

Also taking the stage will be Tony winners Bernadette Peters and Billy Porter, along with the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus. In addition, there will a reunion performance with the original cast members of the 2007 Tony-winner Spring Awakening.  

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre being bestowed are a Lifetime Achievement Award to beloved audience favorite and three-time Oscar, five-time Tony winner  and 15 time Emmy nominated Angela Lansbury. In 2014, Ms. Lansbury received an Honorary Oscar as “an entertainment icon who has created some of cinema’s most memorable characters, inspiring generations of actors.”

The prestigious Isabelle Stevenson Award [honoring the late and longtime American Theatre Wing president] was award to Robert E. Wankel,  president and co-CEO, Shubert Organization. Other Tony Honors went to the United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829/IATSE; the Asian American Performers Action Coalition; Broadway for All music copyist Emily Grishman, the Broadway music preparer since 1992; and cabaret Feinstein’/54 Below for Excellence in the  Theater. 

The Tony and Carnegie Mellon University Educator Award went to Roshunda Jones-Koumba, G.W. Carver Magnet High School, Houston, Texas. In tribute, a student wrote:  “I’ve been in awe of her vision, tireless work ethic, countless hours, blood, sweat, tears, money, and food she’s given to her students … And she taught us usually black and brown kids that we could do anything.” 

Talk about a season of diversity! Talk about a season of dancing! There was plenty of drama and comedy, too; and more than a bit of trepidation among audience members if they were caught mask less – especially at the Company revival under the watchful eye of Patti LuPone. 

Welcomed back to Broadway were Hugh Jackman (after almost eight years to the day) and Sutton Foster (a long eight years); writer and two-time Pulitzer Prize honoree Lynn Nottage (almost five years) with two certainly diverse works (Clyde’s, MJ); andSNL veteran Rachel Dratch (POCTUS…) (after four years and for a much longer run). 

In addition to Ms. LuPone. other all-time favorites were back trodding the boards, including   Sarah Jessica (Plaza Suite) (absent since 1996) and as sparkling as ever; two-time Tony winner Matthew Broderick (Plaza Suite) (since 2015); and Billy Crystal (Mr. Saturday Night) (for the first time since 2013).  

2021-2022 also introduced very young talent: 28-year-old playwright Selina Fillinger (POTUS…); and 23-year-old actor in a leading role not soon to be forgotten, Jaquel Spivey (A Strange Loop), jumping from university to Broadway debut. [A bit reminiscent of Laura Benanti, only 18, leaving NYU classes behind and inheriting Maria in the 1998 The Sound of Music revival from Rebecca Luker. [Benanti went on to gather five Tony nominations and a win in 2008 as Featured Actress for the Gypsy revival – not to mention a later recurring role on late night TV hilariously portraying a certain First Lady.].

There was a huge roster of Broadway debuts thanks to Jerry Zaks and Warren Carlyle with 20-plus newcomers in The Music Man; and Lynn Nottage and Christopher Wheeldon who introduced 15- plus to the stage in MJ.

Remember the old M-G-M axiom: “More stars than there are in the heavens!” The 2022 Tonys on Sunday will boast a line-up of more stars than can fit on RCMH’s great stage. Check ‘em out: Utkarsh Ambudkar, Skylar Astin, Zach Braff, Danielle Brooks, Danny Burstein, Len Cariou, RuPaul Charles, Jessica Chastain, Lilli Cooper, Bryan Cranson,  Wilson Cruz, Colman Domingo, Anthony Edwards, Cynthia Erivo, Raúl Esparza, Laurence Fishburne, Andrew Garfield, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Tony Goldwin, David Alan Grier, Vanessa Hudgens, Jennifer Hudson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Nathan Lane, Telly Leung, Judith Light, Josh Lucas, Gaten Matarazzo, Ruthie Ann Miles, Patina Miller, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bebe Neuwirth, Kelli O’Hara, Sarah Paulson, Bernadette Peters, Jeremy Pope, Billy Porter, Chita Rivera, tony Shalhoub, Phillipa Soo, Sarah Silverman, George Takei, Aaron Tveit, Adrienne Warren, Patrick Wilson, and Bowen Yang. {Were you able to pick out previous Tony winners?}

After more than two years waging war against Covid variants, let’s not forget those we lost. They include producer and longtime chair/CEO of the Shubert Organization Philip J. Smith, Oscar-nominated/Emmy and Tony-winning Cicely Tyson, Tony-winning Christopher Plummer, Tony-winning director/writer/actor Douglas Turner Ward, the unforgettable soprano Rebecca Luker, costumer Anthony Powell, composer Jim Steinman, Olympia Dukakis, dancer/ choreographer Jacques d’Amboise, Tony-nominated Karla Burns, actress Lisa Banes, longtime Tony Awards music director Elliott Lawrence, Tony honoree Paul Huntley who designed wigs for over 250 Broadway shows, three-time Tony nominee Micki Grant, Ed Asner, Tony-winning prodigious producer Elizabeth I. McCann, Melvin Van Peebles, Oscar-winning and Tony-nominated composer Leslie Bricusse, Peter Scolari, playwright Ed Bullins, Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning composer Stephen Sondheim, who left behind a legacy of brilliance; Tony nominee Anthony Sher, Tony-nominated actress/singer Sally Ann Howes, Tony-winning producer and theatre owner James M. Nederlander, casting director Jay Binder, Tony-winner Rae Allen Best Actor, Musical (How to Succeed…) and Best Actor, Tony-winner, Play (Tru) Robert Morse, dancer/choreographer Yuriko Kikuchi, dancer/Tony-nominated choreographer Sammy Dallas Bayes, and Ray Liotta. 

The Tonys have aired on CBS since 1978, and were first presented on network TV by ABC from 1967-1977. The 1968 the 21st annual Awards were hosted by Mary Martin and Robert Preston. They are produced in collaboration with Tony Award Productions, a joint venture of the  American Theatre Wing and Broadway League with White Cherry Entertainment. Ten-time Primetime Emmy winners for Tony telecasts Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss are executive producers. Weiss will serve as the 2022 director. 

The American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. At The Broadway League, Lauren Reid is chair and Charlotte St. Martin is president. At the American Theatre Wing, Emilio Sosa is chair and Heather A. Hitchens is president and CEO. Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment are the executive producers of the 74th Annual Tony Awards. Weiss is also  directing the telecast. 

For more information, photo galleries, video, Awards history, a printable ballot, and an array of fun and entertaining content, visit www.TonyAwards.com. Follow the Tonys @TheTonyAwards and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. 

CBS Entertainment executive vice president, Specials, Music, Live Events and Alternative Programming, Jack Sussman, states, “We’re thrilled to bring the best of Broadway to television viewers who have been through so much without the joys, comfort and excitement that live theater provides. With the combination of  CBS-TV an Paramount+, the show will honor Tony Award nominees and winners in a format unlike any other, and celebrate the iconic music, memorable performances and unique personalities that make Broadway so special.”

Nomination Highlights, the 2022 American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards

 In a season of some extraordinary performances it’s great that the Tonys expanded the acting and Musical categories.  

Play
Clyde’sbyLynn Nottage
Hangmen Martin McDonagh
The Lehman Trilogy – Stefano Massini
The Minutes
–  Tracy Letts
Skeleton CrewDominique Morisseau

Musical
Girl from the North Country (Music and lyrics by: Bob Dylan; lyrics; book by: Conor McPherson)
MJ  [Music and lyrics by Michael Jackson, numerous pop, rock, and soul artists]
Mr. Saturday Night 
Paradise Square 
SIX
A Strange Loop

Performance, Actor, Leading Role, Play
Simon Russell Beale – The Lehman Trilogy
Adam Godley – The Lehman Trilogy 
Adrian Lester (Broadway debut) – The Lehman Trilogy
David Morse – How I Learned to Drive 
Sam Rockwell – American Buffalo
Ruben Santiago-Hudson – Lackawanna Blues 
David Threlfall – Hangmen

Performance, Actress, Leading Role, Play
Gabby Beans (Broadway debut)  – The Skin of Our Teeth 
LaChanze – Trouble in Mind
Ruth Negga – Macbeth
Deirdre O’Connell – Dana H.
Mary-Louise Parker – How I Learned to Drive

Performance, Actor, Leading Role, Musical
Billy Crystal – Mr. Saturday Night 
Myles Frost (Broadway debut) – MJ
Hugh Jackman – The Music Man 
Rob McClure – Mrs. Doubtfire 
Jaquel Spivey (Broadway deubt) – A Strange Loop

Performance, Actress, Leading Role, Musical
Sharon D Clarke (Broadway debut) – Caroline, or Change
Carmen Cusack – Flying Over Sunset
Sutton Foster – The Music Man
Joaquina Kalukango – Paradise Square
Mare Winningham – Girl from the North Country

Performance, Actor, Featured Role, Play
Alfie Allen (Broadway debut) – Hangmen
Chuck Cooper – Trouble in Mind 
Jesse Tyler Ferguson – Take Me Out 
Ron Cephas Jones – Clyde’sMichael Oberholtzer – Take Me Out 
Jesse Williams (Broadway Debut) – Take Me Out

Performance, Actress, Featured Role, Play
Uzo Aduba – Clyde’s
Rachel Dratch – POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive 
Kenita R. Miller – for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf
Phylicia Rashad – Skeleton Crew
Julie White – POTUS: Or Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive
Kara Young (Broadway debut) – Clyde’s

Performance, Actor, Featured Role, Musical
Matt Doyle – Company
Sidney DuPont – Paradise Square
Jared Grimes – Funny Girl
John-Andrew Morrison (Broadway debut)  – A Strange Loop
 
A.J. Shively – Paradise Square

Performance, Actress, Featured Role, Musical
Jeannette Bayardelle – Girl From The North Country 
Shoshana Bean – Mr. Saturday Night
Jayne Houdyshell – The Music Man
L Morgan Lee (Broadway debut) – A Strange Loop
Patti LuPone – Company 
Jennifer Simard – Company 

Direction, Play
Lileana Blain-Cruz – The Skin of Our Teeth
Camille A. Brown – for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf 
Sam Mendes – The Lehman Trilogy
Neil Pepe – American Buffalo
Les Waters – Dana H.

Direction, Musical
Stephen Brackett – A Strange Loop
Marianne Elliott – Company
Conor McPherson – Girl from the North Country 
Lucy Moss  and Jamie Armitage – SIX 
Christopher Wheeldon – MJ

Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics), Written for the Theatre
Flying Over Sunset – Music by Tom Kitt; Lyrics by Michael Korie
Mr. Saturday Night – Music, Jason Robert Brown; Lyrics, Amanda Green
Paradise Square –Music, Jason Howland; Lyrics, Nathan Tysen and Masi Asare
SIXMusic and lyrics, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss
A Strange LoopMusic and lyrics, Michael R. Jackson

Book, Musical
Girl from the North Country by Conor McPherson
MJLynn Nottage
Mr. Saturday Night – Billy Crystal, Lowell Ganz, and Babaloo Mandel
Paradise Square – Christina Anderson, Craig Lucas, and Larry Kirwan
A Strange Loop – Michael R. Jackson

Revival of a Play
American Buffalo by David Mamet
for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf  –
Ntozake Shange
How I Learned to Drive – Paula Vogel
Take Me Out – Richard Greenberg
Trouble in Mind – Alice Childress

Revival of a Musical
Caroline, or Change – Music by Jeanine Tesori; book and lyrics, Tony Kushner
Company – Music and lyrics, Stephen Sondheim; book, George Furth
The Music Man – Music and lyrics, Meredith Willson

Choreography
Camille A. Brown – for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf 
Warren Carlyle – The Music Man
Carrie-Anne Ingrouille – SIX
Bill T. Jones – Paradise Square
Christopher Wheeldon – MJ  

Visit www.TonyAwards.com for the complete list of nominations (Scenic Design, Play and  Musical; Costume Design, Play and Musical; Lighting Design, Play and  Musical; Sound Design, Play and Musical; and Orchestrations). 

2022-23 Tony & Drama Desk Predictions by David Sheward Click Here