The 75th Annual Tony Awards will be presented next Sunday at Radio City Music Hall and live on your TV or (more likely) computer, celebrating the strangest of Broadway seasons, which officially began in March 2020 (since the cut-off for the previous Tonys was February 2020.) Just announced:a limited number of tickets for students in the New York metro area, through a student rush at the Radio City Music Hall box office on Tuesday, June 7th at 10:00 AM — for TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS “plus a $6 facility fee.” (More info here.)
The Tonys are not the only theater award coming up: The dozen winners of the 76th annual Theatre World Awards (which includes four performers Tony-nominated for their Broadway debuts) will be honored tonight at Circle in the Square, and sometime later this week the Drama Desk promises an announcement of the winners of its 66th annual awards, who will then be feted at Sardi’s June 14th.
But only the Tonys get a countdown.
A talk with the producers of the Tony ceremony and telecast: (Broadway News)
Ricky Kirshner: “…Here at the Tonys, we’re really trying to bring a TV sensibility to what is already created on Broadway, and then add to it probably four or five original numbers that we come up with and make it one cohesive show.”
Michael Jackson vs Michael R Jackson. Watch MJ and A Strange Loop videos
The two shows that received the most Tony nominations are going head-to-head in eight Tony categories, including best musical.
Take the Tony Awards 2022 Quiz
Special Tony Honorees Acceptance Speeches
Here are the acceptance speeches of this year’s Tony Award honorees (each of which get more time on Twitter than almost anybody will get at the broadcast on June 12th)
The Week in New York Theater Reviews
In Mansa Ra’s new play, three generations of Black gay men live under the same roof – grandfather, father and son. If it’s hardly unusual of late to see Black queer male characters on stage, the unlikely situation of three generations of them in a single family promises a fresh context. It is certainly refreshing to witness their expressions of familial affection, and the appealing cast provides some engaging moments of humor and pathos. But “…what the end will be” ultimately doesn’t deliver on its implicit promise to create more rounded characters.
Dave Harris’ play won me over right away, because of its hilariously spot-on depiction of adolescent bravado, restlessness, insularity and resentment, as one by one the six Black students in one of the worst high schools in the city report to detention in room 111…It doesn’t take long to realize, though, that “Exception to the Rule” is more than an entertaining updated inner city staging of “The Breakfast Club.” …Even as we understand that the play is meant as a race-conscious metaphor, each character is distinctively and believably etched, helped immeasurably by the first-rate cast,
The Week in Theater News and Views
June 2022 New York Theater Openings
Theater for One returns, this time in the lobby of Signature Theater Center, on three weekends in June starting June 9th, with six short works performed by one performer for one audience member at a time. The new plays: Samuel D. Hunter’s Brick, directed by SRĐA; David Henry Hwang’s My Anniversary, directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene; Lynn Nottage’s #Five, directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene; José Rivera’s Lizzy, directed by Rudy Ramirez; DeLanna Studi’s Before America Was America, directed by Rudy Ramirez; and Regina Taylor’s Déjà Vu, directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene. These plays are free. (Details.)
Here’s my interview with Lynn Nottage during a previous Theater for One series.
Alexandria Wailes on Deaf Dancing, CODA Switching and Turning Purple
As “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” ends its two-month run, the Lady in Purple, Alexandria Wailes, an ASL signer and a dancer from the age of three, explains how the character changed her, and what it was like to be the director of artistic sign language for the movie CODA. (what is “artistic” sign language anyway?)
The Playwright as Activist: Lorraine Hansberry’s Legacy, panel discussion at the Museum of the City of New York on June 13. Lynn Nottage leads a discussion with fellow distinguished playwrights Erika Dickerson-Despenza and Lisa Kron about theater as a form of activism and the influence of playwright Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) on their work. The conversation accompanies the Museum’s inaugural Freedom Week: A Journey into Art & Activism.
“Almost Famous,” a musical based on the 2000 movie about a young aspiring rock music critic, has announced a first preview September 13 and official opening October 11 but “at a Shubert theater to be announced.” (see video below.)
“Death of a Salesman” starring Wendell Pierce and Sharon D Clarke will begin preview performances at Broadway’s Hudson Theater on September 19 (no opening set yet.)
Death of a Theater
Forty years after the destruction of five Broadway theaters, to make room for what would become the the Marriott Marquis Hotel, Harrison Hill in Brooklyn Rail recounts the moment of demolition for the final two, the Helen Hayes Theater and the Morosco, spotlighting the activists who tried to stop it.
The state-sponsored vandalism had a positive effect: In its aftermath, 28 Broadway theaters were given landmark status. That explains the elaborate and expensive effort to raise the Palace Theater 30 feet in order to stick a mall underneath it, as part of “a $2.5 billion transformation of the building, which will include a 661-room hotel and an outdoor stage facing Times Square when it opens next year… The theater will have a new entrance on West 47th as well as a new lobby, marquee and backstage area.” (NY Times)
This Week’s Theater Video
Rachel Dratch and Julie White, Tony nominees, spoof the process of lobbying Tony voters.