‘A Strange Loop’, ‘MJ’, ‘Paradise Square’ Dominate Nominations

A Strange Loop, an extremely meta-musical about a black gay man writing a musical about a black gay man writing a musical, dominated the nominations for the 75th Tony Awards on Monday. The show, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2020 for its Off-Broadway run, scored a whopping 11 nominations.

“A Strange Loop” was closely followed by “MJ,” a jukebox musical featuring the music of Michael Jackson, and “Paradise Square,” a look at the Five Points area of ​​Manhattan and the tensions that erupted in the violent Draft Riots. of 1863, both of which garnered 10 nominations. “MJ” has fought controversy for failing to address allegations that Jackson allegedly abused children. “The Lehman Trilogy,” an extended drama about one of the financial institutions that caused the 2008 recession, received eight nominations, the most of all plays.

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Other big contenders include “Company,” a gender re-imagining of the Stephen Sondheim classic, which garnered nine nominations, and “Six,” a feminist retelling of the story of Henry VIII’s six wives, which received eight nominations.

The nominations are welcome news for both “Paradise Square” and “A Strange Loop,” which could compete against more star-powered Broadway shows and see a surge in ticket sales. The best musical will be a race between those shows, as will “MJ,” “Girl From North Country,” and “Mr. Saturday night.” The best part is a fight between ‘Clyde’s’, ‘Hangmen’, ‘The Lehman Trilogy’, ‘Skeleton Crew’ and ‘The Minutes’.

The top musical revival category includes “Company,” as well as “Caroline, or Change” and “The Music Man,” a star-studded revival of the Meredith Willson chestnut that has become one of the hottest tickets of the year. The best revival of a play is a competition between ‘American Buffalo’, ‘For Girls of Color Who Contemplated Suicide/When the Rainbow’s Up’, ‘How I Learned to Drive’, ‘Take Me Out’ and ‘Trouble in Mind’ .

This year’s crop includes several Hollywood stars, including Hugh Jackman, recognized for his turn as a con man in “The Music Man”; Billy Crystal, honored for his work as both the star and book writer of ‘Mr. Saturday Night”; and Ruth Negga, nominated for her villainous spin in “MacBeth.”

There were also some notable omissions. Beanie Feldstein, who took on the role made famous by Barbra Streisand in “Funny Girl,” was overlooked and the revival only scored a single nomination for Jared Grimes’ supporting turn. “Plaza Suite,” a Neil Simon revival starring real-life married Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, got a nod for its costumes, and nothing else. And “The Minutes,” a pitch-black satire of small-town bureaucracy that garnered some of the best reviews of the year, was nominated for best play but was banned from other categories.

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, Broadway was under pressure to spread more stories about underrepresented communities. Many of the shows picked on Monday, such as ‘Skeleton Crew’, ‘Paradise Square’ and ‘For Girls Of Color Who Contemplated Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enough’, deal with racial issues. Often these productions approached that subject with great daring or found a new resonance in historical texts. “A Strange Loop,” for example, playfully intersperses Tyler Perry’s work and also talks candidly and humorously about sexual identity, while “Trouble in Mind,” was originally slated to debut on Broadway in 1957, until author Alice Childress refused to make any changes that would have watered down his view of racism and misogyny. If the show debuted when it was intended, Childress would have become the first black female playwright on Broadway.

The nominations were unveiled as Broadway tries to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic and the nearly two years of closures resulting from the public health disaster. The theater business returned in August 2021, but ticket sales were sometimes slow and nearly every production faced outbreaks of the virus in the cast. Last year’s Tonys were handed out before most of the theater had returned in earnest and, despite being awarded in 2021, the show honored the best of 2020, a pandemic-shortened year.

And yet, as a sign of the industry’s resilience, a staggering 34 new productions opened this season, with 15 debuting in April alone. Broadway has also indicated that it believes it is entering a new phase of the pandemic and dropping vaccine controls even as the number of cases increases in New York City. Theaters will continue to maintain a mask mandate.

The Tony Awards ceremony will air on June 12 at 8 p.m. ET, with Ariana DeBose, fresh off her Oscar win for “West Side Story,” serving as the host of the broadcast.

Here’s the full list of Tony nominations:

best game
“The Lehman Trilogy”
“The Minutes”
“skeleton crew”

Best Musical
“Girl from the North”
“Mr. Saturday Night”
“Paradise Square”
“Six: the musical”
“A strange loop”

Best revival of a play
“American Buffalo”
“for girls of color who have contemplated suicide/when the rainbow has run out”
“How I learned to drive”
“get me out”
“Problems in Mind”

Best musical revival
“Caroline, or Change”
“The Music Man”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Simon Russell Beale, “The Lehman Trilogy”
Adam Godley, “The Lehman Trilogy”
Adrian Lester, “The Lehman Trilogy”
David Morse, “How I Learned to Drive”
Sam Rockwell, “American Buffalo”
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, “Lackawanna Blues”
David Threlfall, “Executioners”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Gabby Beans, “The Skin of Our Teeth”
LaChanze, “Problems in Mind”
Ruth Negga, “Macbeth”
Deirdre O’Connell, “Dana H.”
Mary-Louise Parker, “How I Learned to Drive”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Billy Crystal, “Mr. Saturday Night”
Myles Frost, “M.J.”
Hugh Jackman, “The Music Man”
Rob McClure, “Mrs. Doubt”
Jaquel Spivey, “A Strange Loop”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Sharon D Clarke, “Caroline of Change”
Carmen Cusack, “Flying Over Sunset”
Sutton Foster, “The Music Man”
Joaquina Kalukango, “Paradise Square”
Mare Winningham, “Girl from the North”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Alfie Allen, “Executioners”
Chuck Cooper, “Problems in Mind”
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Take Me Out”
Ron Cephas Jones, “Clyde’s”
Michael Oberholtzer, “Take Me Out”
Jesse Williams, “Take Me Out”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Uzo Aduba, “Clydes”
Rachel Dratch, “POTUS: Or, behind every great fool are seven women trying to keep him alive”
Kenita R. Miller, “For Girls of Color Who Have Contemplated Suicide/When the Rainbow Has Run Out”
Phylicia Rashad, “Skeleton Crew”
Julie White, “POTUS: Or, behind every great fool are seven women trying to keep him alive”
Kara Young, “Clydes”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Matt Doyle, “Company”
Sidney DuPont, “Paradise Square”
Jared Grimes, “Funny Girl”
John-Andrew Morrison, “A Strange Loop”
AJ Shively, “Paradise Square”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Jeannette Bayardelle, “Girl from the North”
Shoshana Bean, “Mr. Saturday Night”
Jayne Houdyshell, “The Music Man”
L Morgan Lee, “A Strange Loop”
Patti LuPone, “Company”
Jennifer Simard, “Company”

Best Director of a Play
Lileana Blain-Cruz, “The Skin of Our Teeth”
Camille A. Brown, “For Girls of Color Who Have Contemplated Suicide/When the Rainbow Has Run Out”
Sam Mendes, “The Lehman Trilogy”
Neil Pepe, “American Buffalo”
Les Waters, “Dana H.”

Best Direction of a Musical
Stephen Brackett, “A Strange Loop”
Marianne Elliott, “Company”
Conor McPherson, “Girl from the North”
Lucy Moss & Jamie Armitage, “Six: The Musical”
Christopher Wheeldon, “M.J.”

Best scenic design of a play
Beowulf Boritt, “POTUS: Or Behind Every Great Fool Are Seven Women Trying To Keep Him Alive”
Michael Carnahan and Nicholas Hussong, “Skeleton Crew”
Es Devlin, “The Lehman Trilogy”
Anna Fleischle, “Executioners”
Scott Pask, “American Buffalo”
Adam Rigg, “The Skin of Our Teeth”

Best scenic design of a musical
Beowulf Boritt and 59 Productions, “Flying Over Sunset”
Bunny Christie, “Company”
Arnulfo Maldonado, “A Strange Loop”
Derek McLane and Peter Nigrini, “MJ”
Allen Moyer, “Paradise Square”

Best book of a musical
“Girl from the North”
Conor McPherson

Lynn Nottage

“Mr. Saturday Night”
Billy Crystal, Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel

“Paradise Square”
Christina Anderson, Craig Lucas & Larry Kirwan

“A strange loop”
Michael R. Jackson

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics)
“Flying over sunset”
Music: Tom Kitt Lyrics: Michael Korie

“Mr. Saturday Night”
Music: Jason Robert Brown Lyrics: Amanda Green

“Paradise Square”
Music: Jason Howland
Text: Nathan Tysen & Masi Asare

“Six: the musical”
Music and lyrics: Toby Marlow & Lucy Moss

“A strange loop”
Music and lyrics: Michael R. Jackson

Best Costume Design of a Play

Montana Levi Blanco, The skin of our teeth
Sarafina Bush, for girls of color who have considered suicide/When the rainbow is enuf Emilio Sosa, Trouble in Mind
Jane Greenwood, Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite
Jennifer Moeller, Clyde’s

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Fly With Davis, Caroline Or Change Toni-Leslie James, Paradise Square William Ivey Long, Diana, The Musical Santo Loquasto, The Music Man Gabriella Slade, SIX: The Musical
Paul Tazewell, MJ

Best lighting design of a play

Joshua Carr, executioners
Jiyoun Chang, for girls of color who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf Jon Clark, The Lehman Trilogy
Jane Cox, Macbeth
Yi Zhao, the skin of our teeth

Best lighting design of a musical

Neil Austin, “Company”
Tim Deiling, “Six: The Musical”
Donald Holder, Paradise Square Natasha Katz, MJ
Bradley King, Flying Over Sunset Jen Schriever, A Strange Loop

Best sound design of a play

Justin Ellington, “for girls of color who have contemplated suicide/when the rainbow is enough
Mikhail Fiksel, “Dana H.”
Palmer Hefferan, “The Skin of Our Teeth”
Nick Powell and Dominic Bilkey, “The Lehman Trilogy”
Mikaal Sulaiman, “Macbeth”

Best sound design of a musical
Simon Baker, “Girl from the North”
Paul Gatehouse, “Six: The Musical”
Ian Dickinson for autograph, “Company”
Drew Levy, “A Strange Loop”
Gareth Owen, “M.J.”

Best Choreography
Camille A. Brown, “For Girls of Color Who’ve Contemplated Suicide/When the Rainbow’s Up”
Warren Carlyle, “The Music Man”
Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, “Six: The Musical”
Bill T. Jones, “Paradise Square”
Christopher Wheeldon, “M.J.”

Best orchestrations
David Cullen, “Company”
Tom Curran, “Six: The Musical”
Simon Hale, “Girl from the North”
Jason Michael Webb and David Holcenberg, “MJ”
Charlie Rosen, “A Strange Loop”

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