Black theater excellence recognized with 2018 Tony noms

Linda Armstrong | 5/10/2018, midnight
African-Americans are standing out on Broadway, as witnessed by the 2018 Tony Award nominations.
Denzel Washington and company in 'The Iceman Cometh' Julia Cervantes

African-Americans are standing out on Broadway, as witnessed by the 2018 Tony Award nominations. Denzel Washington is up for Best Leading Actor in a Play for “The Iceman Cometh.” George C. Wolfe is nominated for Best Direction of a Play for “The Iceman Cometh.” And if you go to see it, you will know why both of these nominations are well deserved. Also, the show is nominated for Best Revival of a Play. Joshua Henry is nominated for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for “Carousel.”

When I experienced his performance as Billy Bigelow, I couldn’t stop clapping and shouting my approval. His voice is magnificent. He hits every single note perfectly! Condola Rashad is nominated for Best Leading Actress in a Play for “Saint Joan.” Whenever that actress takes the stage, she completely immerses herself into her character. She gives a funny, brilliant performance. LaChanze is nominated for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” and it is well deserved. Every time LaChanze takes to the stage, she blows the audience away. Hailey Kilgore is nominated in Best Leading Actress in a Musical for “Once on This Island.” “Once on This Island,” which features a mainly African-American cast, is also up for Best Revival of a Musical.

Best Featured Actor in a Play recognizes the work of Brian Tyree Henry for his role in “Lobby Hero.” Best Featured Actress in a Musical nominee is Ariana DeBose, who is amazing in “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.”

Every year a Regional Theater Tony is awarded to an outstanding theater company, and this year that honor goes to New York-based and African-American founded La MaMa E.T.C. (Experimental Theatre Club). Founded in 1961 by the late Ellen Stewart, the theater was a foundation for off-off- Broadway theater and is still going strong. It has also received other honors in the past, including a MacArthur Fellows Program award in 1985, a Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre in 2006 and a Special 20 Year Obie Award in 1975.

Hispanic-American John Leguizamo is nominated for best play for “Latin History for Morons,” but he will also be the recipient of a Special Tony Award for his three decades of diverse plays on Broadway. Chita Rivera will receive a Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre Tony. Clint Ramos is nominated for Best Costume Design of a Musical for “Once on This Island.”

I am so looking forward to the Tony Awards broadcast Sunday, June 10, at 8 p.m., presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing on CBS. Watch and root for your favorites and try and support these actors and their shows. These thespians are at the top of their games!