by Katie Giffin
Another year of Broadway is coming to a close with the Tony Awards set to take place on June 10 in Radio City Music Hall, New York City. With a year full of breathtaking revival shows, like My Fair Lady and Carousel, and brand new shows that dazzled the audience, like The Band’s Visit and Mean Girls, here are some of the highlights of the people and shows nominated for Tony awards.
Best Revival of a Musical
- My Fair Lady
Directed by Barret Sher, this is a classic tale of the transformative powers of appearance and love. The musical stars Eliza Doolittle (Lauren Ambrose), a cockneyed flower girl living on the streets of London, and the snobby Professor Higgins (Henry Haddon-Paton) a phonetician. Higgins vows that he can make any girl into a duchess, even a lowlife flower girl like Eliza. By the end of the musical, he finally does this but only after much kicking and screaming – on both sides. The original Broadway production in 1956 starred Rex Harrison as Higgins and Julie Andrews as Eliza and set a record for the longest running show at that time.
This musical, directed by Jack O’Brien, follows the tragic love story of Billy Bigelow (Joshua Henry) and a mill worker Julie Jordan (Jessie Mueller). The show originally opened in 1945 and has had four revivals since then. The most recent revival production opened on March 23, 2018 and has received varied reviews due to the slight anti-feminist message.
- Once On This island
This production, with a cast of only 11 people, originally opened on Broadway in 1990. The curtains open on a stormy night in the Antilles archipelago, in a small village where the village storytellers are telling a frightened young girl of the orphan Ti Moune. Ti Moune was saved from a flood by the gods and she spends her life searching for her purpose while trying to determine whether love or death is a stronger force in the universe.
Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical
- Lauren Ambrose for My Fair Lady
Lauren Ambrose is best known for her part as Carrie Fisher in the HBO series Six Feet Under. She has also had two previous appearances on Broadway for the 2006 production of Awake and Sing! and Exit The King in 2009. She has been nominated for her role as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.
- Hailey Kilgore for Once On This Island
Kilgore’s performance in Once On This Island is her Broadway debut. She attended Clackamas High School for two years before switching to an online school. She graduated a year early and participated in professional and community theaters.
- LaChanze for Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
Rhonda LaChanze Sapp is known primarily for her Tony award winning performance in the musical The Color Purple in 2006. She was on the original Broadway cast of Once On This Island and she has also been in shows like If/Then and Ragtime, as well as her current role in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.
- Katrina Lenk for The Band’s Visit
Katrina Lenk is a formidable actress as well as musician. She has received the LA Weekly Award, Garland Award, and Stage Scene LA Award. She is also a part of a band called the Moxy Phinx in which she is the sole member.
- Taylor Louderman for Mean Girls
Taylor Louderman had her Broadway debut as the leading role of Campbell in Bring It On: The Musical. She also played the part of Lauren in Kinky Boots as well as Wendy in the live production of Peter Pan on NBC.
- Jessie Mueller for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel
Mueller received her first Tony nomination for her role in On A Clear Day You Can See Forever. She won her first Tony in 2014 for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Carole King in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. She also played the lead role of Jenna in the Broadway musical Waitress.
Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical
- Harry Hadden-Paton for My Fair Lady
This is Paton’s Broadway debut but he is by no means new to the stage. He stared in a production of Romeo and Juliet at the Battersea Arts Centre in 2009, as well as many other leading roles in various productions throughout London. He is also known for his role as Martin Charteris in the Netflix series The Crown.
- Joshua Henry for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel
Joshua Henry is known for his role as Aaron Burr in the Broadway musical Hamilton, and he received a Tony nomination for his roles in Violet and The Scottsboro Boys. Henry has been nominated for his role as Billy Bigelow from the musical Carousel.
- Tony Shalhoub for The Band’s Visit
Known for his role as Monk in the hit comedy series of the same name, he has appeared on Broadway for the productions of The Heidi Chronicles and Lend Me a Tenor. In 2013, he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play for Golden Boy, and in 2014 he was nominated for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play for the Lincoln Center’s production of Act One.
- Ethan Slater for SpongeBob Squarepants: The Musical
Ethan Slater was a sophomore at Vassar University looking for summer theatre jobs when he was cast as Spongebob in Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical which would go on to receive 12 Tony nominations, the musical with the most Tony nominations except Mean Girls.
- The Band’s Visit
This musical tells the story of an Egyptian Police orchestra that was intended to play at an initiation ceremony but instead end up stranded. They attempt to find their own way back home but end up lost in a small Israeli town. This stage adaptation of the Israeli film has been described by New York Times as a “ravishing musical that whispers with romance.”
The stage adaptation of the beloved Disney Pixar film Frozen has been greatly anticipated by many for the last five years. The show tells the story of the tragically isolated Elsa (Cassie Levy) and her bubbly, out-going sister Anna (Patti Murin). The production received lukewarm reviews from critics but it remains a family favorite.
- Mean Girls
Based on the 2004 film of the same name, this musical, with the book written by Tina Fey, tells the story of the “apex predators,” the Plastics, at North Shore High School as they rule the social world. When Cady, the new girl, comes to school she is invited to join the alpha girls and become a queen of the school’s hierarchy. She is immediately tempted to do so but becomes hesitant when she sees the chaos wrought by the clicky girls and she begins to question what true friendship means.
- Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical
This musical, based off of the beloved animated TV series, regales everyday life in Bikini Bottom as it is being threatened by the eruption of a nearby volcano. The audience watches as Spongebob navigates the complications of friendship and struggle as the future of the Krusty Krab hangs in the balance.