Monday, October 18, 2021

Lupita Nyong’o, Danielle Brooks, Cynthia Erivo Lock Down Tony Nominations

(L-R): Lupita Nyong'o in Eclipsed, Danielle Brooks and Cynthia Erivo in The Color Purple
(L-R): Lupita Nyong’o in Eclipsed, Danielle Brooks and Cynthia Erivo in The Color Purple

*While Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway behemoth “Hamilton” snatched all the headlines this morning with its record-setting 16 nominations for the 70th Annual Tony Awards, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Danielle Brooks, George C. Wolfe, Savion Glover and Cynthia Erivo also received some Tony love, making this year’s telecast one of the most diverse in history.

Hamilton’s 16 nominations included best musical, score, book, direction, choreography and a gang of acting mentions. It’s poised to dethrone The Producers as the all-time highest winner, with 12.

Nyong’o, meanwhile, was nominated for Best Leading Actress in a Play for her role in Eclipsed, along with co-stars Pascale Armand and Saycon Sengbloh, both for Best Featured Actress; and their playwright Danai Gurira, as Eclipsed is also nominated for Best Play. Its director Liesl Tommy and costume designer Clint Ramos also received nominations.

The Color Purple received four nominations, including Best Revival of a Musical, Lead Actress for Erivo, who earned rave reviews as Celie; and Featured Actress for “Orange Is the New Black” star Brooks, in her Broadway debut as Sofia. Previous winner John Doyle also received a nomination for his direction. Co-star Jennifer Hudson, starring as Shug Avery,  was snubbed this year.

Other big names passed over this year include James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson for The Gin Game, Forest Whitaker for Hughie, and six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald for Shuffle Along.

Shuffle Along's Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Joshua Henry, and Brandon Victor Dixon.
Shuffle Along’s Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Joshua Henry, and Brandon Victor Dixon.

McDonald’s co-stars Brandon Victor Dixon and Adrienne Warren each earned noms, while fellow cast member Brian Stokes Mitchell was named the recipient of this year’s Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award, a special noncompetitive honor for a theater community individual who has made a substantial philanthropic impact.

Shuffle Along scored 10 nominations in all, including best musical, plus noms for director and book writer George C. Wolfe and choreographer Savion Glover, both previous Tony winners.

The Tonys will be presented on June 12, live from New York’s Beacon Theatre and broadcast on CBS at 8 pm ET/delayed PT. Hosting the ceremony is James Corden, a 2012 Tony winner for One Man, Two Guvnors.

Opening night of the Broadway musical 'Hamilton' at the Richard Rodgers Theatre - Curtain Call  Featuring: Okieriete Onaodowan, Jon Rua, Leslie Odom Jr, Phillipa Soo, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Christopher Jackson, Anthony Ramos, Ariana DeBose Where: New York City, New York, United States When: 06 Aug 2015 Credit: Joseph Marzullo/
Opening night of the Broadway musical ‘Hamilton’ at the Richard Rodgers Theatre – Curtain Call

Below, the Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney on Hamilton’s nominated actors of color and the Tony Awards’ diversity this year:

The nominations across the eight performance categories for plays and musicals include several actors of color, a number of them frontrunners. But that’s more about the unplanned convergence of productions with strong roles for non-Caucasian actors this year, not a well-timed rebuke to the Academy. Despite an anomalous downward bump last season, Broadway has a relatively respectable track record for diversity — on its stages, if not so much behind the scenes. In fact, you need to go back to 2008 to find a year in which one or more performers of color didn’t take home Tonys for acting.

Widely tipped to win in their respective slots this year are Leslie Odom Jr., up against Miranda with dueling lead actor noms for Hamilton; British newcomer Cynthia Erivo for her breakout performance as Celie in the revival of The Color Purple; and in the featured acting races, Daveed Diggs and Renee Elise Goldsberry, both scene-stealers in Hamilton.

Diggs, who doubles as Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, is considered to have the edge over castmates Christopher Jackson (as George Washington) and Jonathan Groff, who had a choice one-song role as the petulant King George but has now left the production to star in the Netflix series Mindhunter. Likewise, Hamilton’s Phillipa Soo faces tough odds against The Color Purple’s Erivo for lead actress.



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