Broadway’s Biggest Night Celebrates 70th Year June 12
After a year of exciting openings and thrilling performances, the Broadway theatre community gathers in early June to celebrate its biggest night of the year: The Tony Awards. The annual ceremony honors excellence in theatre much in the same way the Academy Awards honors achievement in film. This year’s glamorous ceremony will be hosted by Tony Winner and TV/Film star James Corden at New York’s Beacon Theatre. Without a doubt this is the year of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop inspired take on the story of the founding father, and yet there are several other strong performances and productions keeping the competition interesting. Now, we take a closer look at the other shows that rank among the most nominated productions of the year including The Humans, School of Rock, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and She Loves Me.
Perhaps the best reviewed play of the season, The Humans seems poised to take home the top honor of Best New Play at this year’s Tony Awards. Playwright Stephen Karam’s biting look at one family’s Thanksgiving dinner also received nominations for Best Director of a Play for Joe Mantello and acting nominations for stars Reed Birney and Jayne Houdyshell as well as design nominations for David Zinn and Justin Townsend. The new play follows the story of the Blake family as they gather at the new apartment of their youngest daughter and her philosophical boyfriend for a holiday dinner. The slice-of-life drama captures the family’s descent from typical dysfunction into deeper questions of existence. At once funny, unsettling, and poignant, The Humans is a rare piece of theatre that honestly captures the nuance of the human experience and is sure to have a strong presence the night of the ceremony. (Helen Hayes Theatre, 240 W. 44th St.)
A true crowd pleaser with critics and audiences, the rollicking new musical School of Rock received nominations for Best New Musical and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for star Alex Brightman. Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes were also nominated for Best New Score and Best Book of a Musical. The high-octane production follows the same plot of the hit film made famous by Jack Black. Looking to pick up a few extra bucks, deadbeat and down and out rocker Dewey Finn pretends to be a substitute teacher at a prim and proper prep school where he decides to throw out the curriculum and teach what he knows best: rock and roll. In the formation of a student-led rock band, zany high jinks ensue, ultimately leading to a life lesson about the transformative power of music. The joyous celebration of rock and roll caught Tony Voter’s attention this Spring and is sure to bring a lively energy to the Tony telecast this month. (Winter Garden Theatre, 1634 Broadway)
Best Revival of a Play
A top contender for Best Revival of a Play is Roundabout Theatre Company’s acclaimed revival of the Eugene O’Neill masterpiece Long Day’s Journey Into Night. O’Neill’s masterwork was also his most personal play drawing large inspiration from his life and therefore not produced until after his death. The epic play follows one day in the lives of the Tyrone family in their New England summer estate as they descend into literal and figurative darkness while examining their lives crippled by illness, addiction, and loss. While waiting for news of their youngest son’s health prognosis, the family reminisces about the past and the current state of their lives. Ultimately the play is a testament to the human condition and the will to survive. Legend Jessica Lange (Tootsie, American Horror Story), Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects, Little Women), and Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road, Man of Steel) all received nominations for their tour-de-force performances in this triumphant revival helmed by nominated director Jonathan Kent. (American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St.)
Best Revival of a Musical
Roundabout Theatre Company’s delightful revival of the golden age musical She Loves Me received a total of 8 Tony Nominations this year including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Direction of Musical by Scott Ellis. The charming musical tells the story of Amalia and Georg, two sparring coworkers who are constantly bumping heads in the charming perfume shop where they both work. Much to the amusement of their fellow employees, the two continue to battle it out while not realizing that the anonymous pen pals they have both been secretly falling for happen to be each other! With a joyous spirit and buoyant classic score featuring “Vanilla Ice Cream” and title song, She Loves Me continues to steal audience’s hearts. Based on the play that inspired the hit film You’ve Got Mail, She Loves Me features Tony winner Laura Benanti (Gypsy, Nashville), Zachary Levi (First Date, Heroes Reborn), and Tony winner and Emmy nominee Jane Krakowski (Nine, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) who all received acting nominations for their performances in this winning hit. (Studio 54, 254 W. 54th St)