Reactions are coming in to this morning’s Tony Award nominations, an event that feels like a reassuringly familiar sign of springtime after two-plus years of Covid upheaval on Broadway.
Pulitzer winner A Strange Loop led the field with 11 nominations, followed by MJ and Paradise Square with 10 apiece. Winners will be announced Sunday, June 12 at the 75th annual Tony Awards on CBS and Paramount+, live from Radio City Music Hall in New York, with Ariana DeBose hosting.
The following are initial reactions provided to Deadline. Check back for updates.
Myles Frost, who was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for his turn as Michael Jackson in MJ, told Deadline he was heartened by the reception he got in the Broadway world in making his debut at age 22. “I’m new to Broadway,” he said in a phone interview. “This is truly a community of people who care about each other. There hasn’t been a single person who denied me their experience or their support. … Everyone has taken me under their wing.”
Frost also said the recognition had extra resonance given the current Tony crop welcomed audiences back to live theater after an agonizing, months-long period of closures. “I’m grateful to have become part of the ‘Broadway’s back’ catalyst,” he said.”
As for how the Tony veneration would affect the complicated legacy of Jackson’s music, he said, “I’m mostly excited for people to see who Myles Frost is. I’m blessed to be able to share this story.”
Here are other reactions:
Lynn Nottage, Best Book of a Musical, MJ:
“I’m thrilled to be recognized for my work during this historic year on Broadway, I want to acknowledge my fellow travelers who weathered this difficult moment to bring back theater. I had the joy of working with amazing collaborators, like Kate Whoriskey and Christopher Wheeldon, who infused the work with passion, love and joy.”
John-Andrew Morrison, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, A Strange Loop:
“I was trying to pretend like I wasn’t going to watch and something forced me out of bed and in front of the TV. I’m in shock but I’m thrilled. I’m thrilled for our show, for all the folks that got nominated. It’s been a journey and I’m so very proud of us. I don’t know what to do with myself and my phone is going nuts. I keep telling myself to breath and remember where my feet are. This is amazing. I want a latte.”
Barbara Whitman, Producer, A Strange Loop:
“When I first heard Michael R. Jackson’s work, I knew I was hearing an exciting and important new voice in American Musical Theatre. I was taken on a trip that was funny, insightful, wild, and challenging – and I wanted to share this story that I had yet to see on a Broadway stage. I am so grateful to be able to work with the most talented creators, actors, and designers who have come together to tell this game-changing story eight times a week.”
David Morse, Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Play, How I Learned to Drive:
“First, thank you to The American Theatre Wing and to all of the nominees. How I Learned to Drive is in fantastic company 25 years after we first did the play off-Broadway. I am so proud of everyone involved in our production at the Manhattan Theater Club. I am especially grateful to be on Broadway with Mary-Louise Parker in Paula Vogel’s spectacular play after all these years.”
Toby Marlow, co-writer, and Lucy Moss, co-writer and director of SIX, which received eight nominations, including one for Best Musical:
“Gosh this is so wild. We created SIX as a fun summer project for us and our friends in 2017, thinking that, come the autumn, we’d be moving on with our lives and like becoming lawyers or accountants or something. So for that show to be nominated for a LITERAL Tony Award is just beyond. It’s a truly amazing, baffling honour to be even considered in the same category as these other wonderful pieces. We are so humbled, grateful, and handsome.
Lastly, we’d just love to give a major shout out to the American accent. In our own accents (the accent in which this music was originally written), the word ‘category’ is absolutely not stressed like it is, repeatedly, in our show’s final number. But having the opportunity to bring the show to Broadway really has allowed that lyric to blossom from noticeably shoddy writing to a seemingly innocuous rhyme. So thanks America.”
Jennifer Simard, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical, Company (which had nine total nominations):
“So grateful to the nominating committee. I share this honor in spirit with my entire Company, especially Christopher Sieber for being the Abbott to my Costello.”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical, Shoshana Bean, Mr. Saturday Night:
It’s still kind of sinking in… but what I do know for certain is I’m in a category with literal giants and for that I am so honored and humbled. I am proud to be part of the season that brought audiences back to the theater and as always… so grateful to be part of this magical community.
As far as Mr. Saturday Night– they’ve been working on this show for many, many years…I count myself so lucky Billy & Co. brought me along for the ride.”
Rob McClure, Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, Mrs. Doubtfire:
“I am ecstatic to have my name listed alongside those four brilliant artists for the next month, as we celebrate the resilience of this community. Our show has been through so much. This nomination honors all my remarkable colleagues at the Sondheim who make my performance possible. I love them. “
Michael Oberholtzer, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play, Take Me Out:
“This is a day I will never forget. To be a working actor is a blessing in of itself; To have the opportunity to do a Richard Greenberg play on Broadway is grace; to be nominated for a Tony for my performance is worth a lifetime of gratitude.”
Jennifer Schriever, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, A Strange Loop:
“I’m sobbing in the Delta Sky Club near Terminal A in Boston Logan, where I’m flying back to NYC for 24 hours to see my 5-year-old son on my day of tech in Cambridge. I don’t know how to express how emotional it was to be sitting here as so many deserving artists, and my dear friends, got recognized for their amazing work, and then I realized, THIS PARTY IS GOING TO BE INSANE!”
Arnulfo Maldonado, Best Scenic Design of a Musical, A Strange Loop:
“I am beyond thrilled and humbled by this nomination. I couldn’t be more proud of our Strange Loop family — over the moon I am a part of this big, black and queer-ass American Broadway show!”
Charlie Rosen, Best Orchestrations, A Strange Loop:
“I’m THRILLED to be nominated for my collaboration with the genius Michael R. Jackson on this project. It is truly an honor to contribute to this show and music which shares its truth honestly and without compromise. It will be a standout moment in my mind and heart for the rest of musical life.”
Stephen Brackett, Best Direction of a Musical, A Strange Loop:
“My partner and I were watching, and he broke out into tears and then I got a phone call from my mom, I answered, and she asked me for tech support help. I love everything about this show and I am so honored to be nominated.”
L Morgan Lee, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, A Strange Loop:
“My mind isn’t processing that this is real. I can’t stop crying. To specifically be a Trans actress in the company of these incredible women that I respect and have enjoyed for many years…This nomination is SO much bigger than me. I hope someone will see this moment and feel like they can go on. No matter what the world, or school, or people tell them they are “supposed” to be, how they are “supposed” to sound…that they will keep striving to love and embrace the fullest version of who they ARE. That they can safely find breath in choosing truth. That they will keep studying and working and dreaming the biggest dreams. I’m so full of gratitude this morning that I’m likely to burst! But first, an iced coffee and I’ll probably watch The View.”