2019 Tony Awards Cheat Sheet

Update: Check out the complete list of 2019 Tony Award winners.

The American Theatre Wing’s 73rd Annual Tony Awards, with host James Corden, will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall on CBS  tonight, Sunday, June 9, 2019 from 8:00 to 11:00 PM, Eastern Time. Here’s a preview guide..
How to Watch

Why Watch

Scheduled Performances

Scheduled Presenters

What to Look For

Nominations and Special Awards

How To Watch

You can buy a ticket to the Tony Awards ceremony and attend the ceremony in person at Radio City Music Hall. But The Tony Awards have been televised since 1956; this year it will be broadcast once again on four continents. Check local listings. In England, for example, Elaine Paige will serve as host on BBC Radio 2.

In the United States, the broadcast will air on CBS from  8 to 11 p.m.

You can also watch it online on CBS All Access or on your subscription live streaming TV service (such as YouTube TV or Hulu with Live TV)

If three hours is not enough for you, you can start watching the red carpet arrivals at 5 p.m. with hosts Denny Directo and Montego Glover, on Twitter at @CBS, and also on ET LIVE.

The “creative arts awards” will be handed out before the broadcast or during the commercial breaks. You can watch them online on this page at TonyAwards.com

And then of course you can also follow along on your Twitter feed, best probably as a supplementary source.

There are, for the more gregarious New York theater lovers, innumerable Tony Watch Parties. There is the annual Tony Watch fundraiser for Theatre Resources Unlimited at Jack Doyle’s Pub, the fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS at Feinstein’s/54 Below,  as well as the Skivvies at Green Room 42 and the annual bash at Laurie Beechman Theater. (both of which are sold out; keep them in mind for next year.)  Among the free viewing parties (most of which require an RSVP or registration) are SVA Theater/Show Score  party (which begins in the afternoon with screenings of Hello,Dolly and All That Jazz), Madame Tussaud’s Tony Awards Viewing Party, and Harlem Celebrates Broadway   — or you can create your own Tony viewing party (which doesn’t have to be as elaborate as these ideas from Pinterest.)

Why Watch

If you haven’t seen the plays or musicals up for awards, you might ask, what’s the point?

A goodly number of theatergoers apparently asked that question last year, when the Tony Awards broadcast attracted 6.3 million viewers, less than half the number of people who attended a Broadway show during the season.

A big answer is you get to see performances from nine shows that opened on Broadway this season, eight of which are still running.

A bigger answer is that it’s fun once a year to feel part of a national community of theatergoers (enhanced via your Twitter feed.)  Remember the opening number “Bigger”  in 2013 written by Tom Kitt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, and sung by Neil Patrick Harris?

“There’s a kid in the middle of nowhere sitting there, living for Tony performances singin’ and flippin’ along with the Pippins and Wickeds and Kinkys, Matildas and Mormonses.
So we might reassure that kid and do something to spur that kid.
Cause I promise you all of us up here tonight.
We were that kid…”

And then there are the theater lovers and especially theater artists I know who say: Broadway is not what I care about/what I do; what would be the point in watching? The answer to that is to see what most Americans understand to be “theater.” Spending one night a year to ascertain that is surely worth it.

There is another reason to watch this year — the hope that (as with last year’s performance by the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School)  there will be a performance by the students from from Monticello High School who responded to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Scroll below to Excellence in Theatre Education award.)

Scheduled Performances

There will be performances by the casts of Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations; Beetlejuice; The Cher Show; Choir Boy; Hadestown; Kiss Me, Kate; Oklahoma!; The Prom, and Tootsie, and a special performance by Tony Award winning-actress Cynthia Erivo.

Scheduled Presenters

The evening will feature appearances by Sara Bareilles, Laura Benanti, Abigail Breslin, David Byrne, Vanessa Carlton, Kristin Chenoweth, Darren Criss, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Tina Fey, Sutton Foster, Josh Groban, Danai Gurira, Jake Gyllenhaal, Christopher Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Shirley Jones, Regina King, Jane Krakowski, Isabelle Stevenson Award recipient Judith Light, Laura Linney, Lucy Liu, Aasif Mandvi, Audra McDonald, Sienna Miller, Catherine O’Hara,  Kelli O’Hara, Ben Platt, Billy Porter, Anthony Ramos, Andrew Rannells, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Michael Shannon, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Marisa Tomei, Samira Wiley and BeBe Winans.

Karen Olivo, Aaron Tveit and Danny Burstein will be the co-hosts for the Creative Arts Awards (which will not be broadcast)

What to Look For

Which will win out, the conventional or the avant-garde?

This season saw several shows that were transfers from Off-Broadway and/or reflected downtown theater — dark, political, on themes not often presented on Broadway stages. What’s remarkable is how much the Tony nominating committee leaned towards these shows — giving them as much or more recognition as the conventional movie adaptations and jukebox musicals. “Hadestown,” an unconventional sing-through musical based on Greek myths about Hell, received the most nominations at 14, while “Ain’t Too Proud,” a jukebox bio-musical, received the next highest at 12, and “Tootsie,” a stage adaptation of the movie, received 11.  “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus,” a gruesome, gooey, absurdist comedy about death by downtown theater artist and performing artist Taylor Mac, making his Broadway debut, received seven Tony nominations, while (for example) “Pretty Woman” received none. (It will be interesting to see if “Gary” actually wins anything.)

A gauge of which way the Tony voters will go, conventional or avant-garde, is in the category of best revival of a musical, since there are only two choices — “Oklahoma!” a deliberately dark, self-consciously avant-garde interpretation, and “Kiss Me, Kate,” which, despite its effort to be less offensive in its attitude towards women, aims for conventional entertainment.

Other questions:

How much effect will the current political divisions in the country have – in the selection of awards, and in the speeches? (e.g. Will we hear from Heidi Schreck and “What The Constitution Means To Me?”)

Will the Tony voters compensate for the failure to nominate “To Kill a Mockingbird” as best play by giving it Tonys in many of the nine categories for which it was nominated? Or will “The Ferryman,” also with nine nominations, win not just best play but many of the categories for which it is competing with Mockingbird?

Will we get to see King Kong? (and, given that the puppet designer has already won a special Tony, will the show win any of the three competitive technical/design awards for which it was nominated?)

This was an unusually strong year for straight (non-musical) plays. How will they be represented during the show? Will they receive the short-shrift they usually do?

Tony Nominations

Below is the list of Tony nominations in the 26 competitive categories, plus the non-competitive Tonys being awarded this year.

(For a rundown on which nominees I feel SHOULD win, click here)

Best Play

Choir Boy
The Ferryman
Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
What the Constitution Means to Me

Best Musical

Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
The Prom

Best Revival of a Play

Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
The Boys in the Band
Burn This
Torch Song
The Waverly Gallery

Best Revival of a Musical

Kiss Me, Kate
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Best Book of a Musical

Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations:Dominique Morisseau
Beetlejuice: Scott Brown & Anthony King
Hadestown: Anaïs Mitchell
The Prom: Bob Martin & Chad Beguelin
Tootsie: Robert Horn

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

Be More Chill: Music & Lyrics: Joe Iconis
Beetlejuice: Music & Lyrics: Eddie Perfect
Hadestown: Music & Lyrics: Anaïs Mitchell
The Prom: Music: Matthew Sklar, Lyrics: Chad Beguelin
To Kill a Mockingbird: Music: Adam Guettel
Tootsie: Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Paddy Considine, The Ferryman
Bryan Cranston, Network
Jeff Daniels, To Kill a Mockingbird
Adam Driver, Burn This
Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Annette Bening, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman
Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery
Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton
Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom
Derrick Baskin, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice
Damon Daunno, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Santino Fontana, Tootsie

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show
Caitlin Kinnunen, The Prom
Beth Leavel, The Prom
Eva Noblezada, Hadestown
Kelli O’Hara, Kiss Me, Kate

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Bertie Carvel, Ink
Robin De Jesús, The Boys in the Band
Gideon Glick, To Kill a Mockingbird
Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This
Benjamin Walker, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman
Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill a Mockingbird
Kristine Nielsen, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Julie White, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ruth Wilson, King Lear

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

André De Shields, Hadestown
Andy Grotelueschen, Tootsie
Patrick Page, Hadestown
Jeremy Pope, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
Ephraim Sykes, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Lilli Cooper, Tootsie
Amber Gray, Hadestown
Sarah Stiles, Tootsie
Ali Stroker, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Mary Testa, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Miriam Buether, To Kill a Mockingbird
Bunny Christie, Ink
Rob Howell, The Ferryman
Santo Loquasto, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Jan Versweyveld, Network

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
Peter England, King Kong
Rachel Hauck, Hadestown
Laura Jellinek, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
David Korins, Beetlejuice

Best Costume Design of a Play

Rob Howell, The Ferryman
Toni-Leslie James, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Clint Ramos, Torch Song
Ann Roth, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ann Roth, To Kill a Mockingbird

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Michael Krass, Hadestown
William Ivey Long, Beetlejuice
William Ivey Long, Tootsie
Bob Mackie, The Cher Show
Paul Tazewell, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Neil Austin, Ink
Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Peter Mumford, The Ferryman
Jennifer Tipton, To Kill a Mockingbird
Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden, Network

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Kevin Adams, The Cher Show
Howell Binkley, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
Bradley King, Hadestown
Peter Mumford, King Kong
Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini, Beetlejuice

Best Sound Design of a Play

Adam Cork, Ink
Scott Lehrer, To Kill a Mockingbird
Fitz Patton, Choir Boy
Nick Powell, The Ferryman
Eric Sleichim, Network

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Peter Hylenski, Beetlejuice
Peter Hylenski, King Kong
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
Drew Levy, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown

Best Direction of a Play

Rupert Goold, Ink
Sam Mendes, The Ferryman
Bartlett Sher, To Kill a Mockingbird
Ivo van Hove, Network
George C. Wolfe, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Best Direction of a Musical

Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown
Scott Ellis, Tootsie
Daniel Fish, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Des McAnuff, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
Casey Nicholaw, The Prom

Best Choreography

Camille A. Brown, Choir Boy
Warren Carlyle, Kiss Me, Kate
Denis Jones, Tootsie
David Neumann, Hadestown
Sergio Trujillo, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

Best Orchestrations

Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, Hadestown
Simon Hale, Tootsie
Larry Hochman, Kiss Me, Kate
Daniel Kluger, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Harold Wheeler, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories

Special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Rosemary Harris
Terrence McNally
Harold Wheeler

Special Tony Awards
Marin Mazzie
Sonny Tilders and Creature Technology Company
Jason Michael Webb

Regional Theatre Tony Award
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Palo Alto, CA

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award
Judith Light

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
Broadway Inspirational Voices – Michael McElroy, Founder
Peter Entin
FDNY Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9
Joseph Blakely Forbes

The Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University Celebrate Excellence in Theatre Education

Madeline Michel from Monticello High School in Charlottesville, Virginia. Michel’s drama program took on heightened resonance when, in the aftermath of the Charlottesville anti-supremacist rally, Michel and her students used theatre to address racial inequality, elevating and leading the conversation for a wounded community.

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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