A dozen luminous first-time New York stage performers, plus Harvey Fierstein, and 21 members of the ensemble of The Music Man, were honored at the 76th annual Theatre World Awards — the first such ceremony in three years. In the video below, I ask some of them when they first realized they were going to be a professional performer — and how the cataclysmic events of the last few years have affected their performance, for better or for worse. It’s interesting to note that they chose a different cataclysmic event on which to focus — the racial reckoning, the wave of antisemitism, the pandemic — sometimes depending on what they show they were in.
Theatre Award winners who appear in the videos
Justin Cooley, “Kimberly Akimbo”
Sharon D Clarke, “Caroline, or Change”
Benjamin Pajak, 11 and Kayla Teruel, 12, two of the 21 cast members of “The Music Man,” all making their Broadway debut, being given Outstanding Ensemble Award.
Patrick J Adams, “Take Me Out”
Bonnie Milligan (2019 recipient)
Geneva Carr (2015 recipient)
Gaby French, “Hangmen”
Harvey Fierstein, John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement
Yair Ben-Dor, Prayer for the French Republic