For Ana Villafañe, the New York theater season just ended can be summed up in a line from “On Your Feet,” the show in which she stars: “This is what an American looks like.” This is what a Broadway performer looked like in 2015-2016:
Danielle Brooks of Orange is the New Black and The Color Purple, recalls being congratulated by her idol Tanya Pinkins, whose performances she used to study at the Lincoln Center Library of the Performing Arts. That drove home the realization, she says, that she is now part of the New York’s theater community.
In the videos below, 10 of the winners of the 2016 Theatre World Awards, given to performers who have made impressive New York stage debuts this season — besides Brooks and Villafane, they include Austin P. McKenzie and Daniel Durant of Spring Awakening, Carmen Cusack of Bright Star, Khris Davis of The Royale, Cynthia Erivo of The Color Purple, Sarah Charles Lewis of Tuck Everlasting, Ben Whishaw of The Crucible — are asked for the line or moment or memory that best sums up the season for them.
Cynthia Erivo sings “I’m Here” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert