When it comes to nominations for performers, playwrights, and productions for the 76th Annual Tony Awards (to be held Sunday, June 11, at the United Palace, 4140 Broadway), Black folks are truly abundant, receiving 25 varied nominations. The productions that stood out are “Some Like It Hot,” “Topdog/Underdog,” “Between Riverside and Crazy,” August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson,” “Fat Ham,” and “Ain’t No Mo.”
In the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play category, Black men took four of the five nominations. Both actors in Suzan-Lori Parks’s “Topdog/Underdog” earned nominations. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Corey Hawkins distinguished themselves in this Broadway production, as they brilliantly and powerfully portrayed Parks’s characters of Lincoln and Booth.
Stephen McKinley Henderson is nominated for his performance in “Between Riverside and Crazy” in the role of Pops, which he originated. Anyone who saw the power of that performance knows that it is a nomination richly deserved.
Wendell Pierce, as the first Black man to star as Willy Loman in the Black-focused Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” is the fourth nominee. His performance was breathtaking.
The nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play goes to Audra McDonald for her stunning performance in “Ohio State Murders.” McDonald brought great intensity to her role.
RELATED: ‘Some Like It Hot’ leads Tony Award nominations with 13 nods
J. Harrison Ghee is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for his role in “Some Like It Hot.” Lorna Courtney, who stars in “& Juliet,” is nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical.
Two men who gave it their all were nominated in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play category: Jordan E. Cooper for “Ain’t No Mo,’” which he also wrote and is also nominated in the Best Play category, and veteran thespian Samuel L. Jackson is nominated for his incredible performance in “The Piano Lesson.”
Nikki Crawford is absolutely delightful in “Fat Ham,” and Kara Young was riveting in “Cost of Living.” Their performances earned them nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a play.
In the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, the nominations recognized three superbly talented individuals: Justin Cooley for “Kimberly Akimbo,” Jordan Donica for “Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot,” and Alex Newell for “Shucked.” A lady who has some amazing vocal pipes is up for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: NaTasha Yvette Williams is nominated for her phenomenal performance as Sweet Sue in “Some Like It Hot.”
Best Costume Design of a Play has two people nominated for three shows: Dominique Fawn Hill for “Fat Ham” and Emilio Sosa for “Ain’t No Mo’” and “Good Night, Oscar.”
In the category of Best Direction of a Play, Saheem Ali is nominated for his sterling work on “Fat Ham” and Stevie Walker-Webb for his dynamic direction of “Ain’t No Mo.’” Best Orchestrations got Daryl Waters a nod for “New York, New York” along with Sam Davis.
“Ain’t No Mo’” is up for Best Play, joined by James Ijames’s “Fat Ham.” Best Revival of a Play has spotlighted Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson” and Parks’s “Topdog/Underdog.”
This is truly an exciting season and a great time to go to the theater. The Tony Awards are presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. I can’t wait for the awards! They are scheduled to be broadcast on CBS and Pluto TV.
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