2024 theater olympics: The Tonys!
1959 playbill of “Moon Birds.” Photo by PICRYL.

2024 theater olympics: The Tonys!

Start spreading the news,” the Tony nominations came out today. The 77th annual Tony Awards will be broadcast live on June 16. Non-theatergoers have a month to get their affairs in order before patrons of the arts become insufferable. This Tony season has a record number of women nominated for Best Director, with seven women taking the 10 available slots. Here are the highlights. 

The Alicia Keys semi-autobiographical musical entitled “Hell’s Kitchen” has been nominated for 13 Tonys. The awards include Best New Musical, four acting awards, as well as Best Scenic, Lighting and Choreography Design. The musical follows 17-year old Ali as she pursues a relationship with a much older man while she struggles to create a music album. The musical features Key’s hit classics such as “No One,” “Empire State of Mind,” “If I ain’t got you,” as well as many previously unreleased songs. Keys was born in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in New York City in 1981, where she became a trained pianist. The show made its Broadway debut this past October. 

The play “Stereophonic” tied with “Hell’s Kitchen” for 13 nominations but went down in Tony history for most nominations for a play. The play features an original score by William Butler, actor and former member of the indie rock band “Arcade Fire.” The play takes place in Sausalito, California and follows five musicians in the 1970s. The play is based on the band Fleetwood Mac and the recent television show, Daisy Jones and the Six. The play features actress Sara Pidgeon, who is nominated for Best Actress in a featured role. 

The revivals of Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along” and “Cabaret” are nominated for Best Revival of a Musical. Leslie Odom Jr., known for his role in “Hamilton”, is nominated for Best Actor in the play “Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch,” a three act comedic play about a Black preacher and his church.

Other nomination highlights include producers Hillary Clinton and Malala Yousafzai, whose play about the American women’s suffrage movement called “Suffs,” was nominated for Best Musical. Angelina Jolie’s producing role in “The Outsiders” had 12 nominations. Sarah Paulson was nominated for Best Actress in “Appropriate”, and Rachel McAdams was nominated in the same category for “Mary Jane.” In a silly twist of fate, the lead actors and actresses in Broadway’s “The Notebook” are nominated for Best Actor and Actress.

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