It has arrived: The deadline for productions to open on Broadway and still be eligible for the 2016 Tony Awards is today, which means the countdown to the Tony night has officially begun. While we wait for the official announcement of this year’s Tony nominees (May 3), Playbill looks back at last year’s winners and what they’re up to now.
Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron did more than win a Tony Award last year; they made history. Tesori and Kron are the first all-female team to win Tony Awards for both book and score. Fun Home became a hit on Broadway, where it still plays. The show is set to begin a U.S. tour in Cleveland, OH this October. Tesori and Kron have made hints about new projects they’re working on together, but for now they’re keeping the details to themselves. This summer will be Tesori’s last season as Artistic Director of the Encores! Off-Center season, which presents Off-Broadway musicals at New York City Center every summer. The series this year will feature Runaways, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and a one-night-only concert that will feature Tesori herself at the piano. She’s also written music for a musical episode in the highly-anticipated Gilmore Girls reboot on Netflix this fall.
An American in Paris brought back to the New York stage the classic music of George and Ira Gershwin, along with some of the best ballet dancing Broadway has seen in many seasons. Director and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, in only his second Broadway credit (he made his debut with 2002’s Sweet Smell of Success), walked away with quite a success and, of course, a Tony Award. An American in Paris is still running strong at the Palace while Wheeldon continues to choreograph for several prominent ballet companies. In February, he debuted a new piece titled Strapless at the Royal Ballet in London. Earlier this month, CBS’ 60 Minutes profiled the artist, and producers announced a West End mounting and a U.S. National Tour of An American in Paris.
Best Direction of a Musical - Sam Gold for Fun Home
Sam Gold has had quite the year. Shortly after Fun Home opened on Broadway (and won the Tony Award for Best Musical), he re-mounted his production of The Flick at Off-Broadway’s Barrow Street Theatre. Gold re-teamed with Flick playwright Annie Baker to bring John to Signature Theatre Company in August 2015, after which he headed across the pond to direct the West End premiere of The Flick, which opened April 19. It was recently announced that Gold will take on Othello, starring Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo, for New York Theatre Workshop this winter.
Marianne Elliott has had two Broadway directing credits, Curious Incident and War Horse; both transferred from London’s National Theatre, both won Tony Awards for Best Play and both earned her Tony Awards for Best Direction of a Play. Based in London, Elliott has since directed D.H. Lawrence and Ben Powers’ Husbands & Sons, again for the National Theatre, and she’s set to bring Angels in America to the National in 2017 starring Andrew Garfield.
Best Lighting Design of a Musical – Natasha Katz for An American in Paris
Natasha Katz is a prolific lighting designer on Broadway with over 30 Broadway credits (and five Tony Awards) to her name; last season alone she was responsible for Skylight (for which she also earned a nod), Gigi and, of course, An American in Paris. This season was no different. Currently you can see Katz’s designs on Broadway in School of Rock – The Musical and Long Day’s Journey Into Night. She’s also scheduled to design the forthcoming revivals of Motown the Musical and Cats, both opening this summer.
Best Lighting Design of a Play – Paule Constable for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Like most of the Curious Incident creative team, Paule Constable is London-based. She most recently designed the new musical wonder.land, a modern and technological take on Lewis Carroll’s famous tale, for the National Theatre, where it’s currently running through April 30. Next up for Constable is a new London revival of The Threepenny Opera, which begins performances next month. She’ll also design the new dance drama adaptation of the classic film The Red Shoes, directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, for a London debut in December.
Six-time Tony winner Catherine Zuber is definitely a force on Broadway; last season, in addition to her Tony-winning designs for The King and I, she was responsible for the gorgeous costumes seen in the revival of Gigi. This season, her designs can be seen in the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof as well as Manhattan Theatre Club’s production of The Father. In addition to her work on Broadway, Zuber frequently designs for The Metropolitan Opera, including recent productions of Otello, Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
Best Costume Design of a Play – Christopher Oram for Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2
Christopher Oram, based in the U.K., is both a scenic and costume designer, frequently on the same productions. Oram designed sets and costumes for Wolf Hall on Broadway, and received a Tony Award for the costumes and a Tony nomination for the sets. This season on Broadway, he was scenic and costume designer for the Forest Whitaker-led drama Hughie.
Best Scenic Design of a Musical – Bob Crowley and 59 Productions for An American in Paris
Another prolific Broadway artist, Bob Crowley is both a scenic and costume designer, as well as a director—he did all three for 2006’s Tarzan. Most recently, he served as production designer for the Royal Opera House’s production of La Traviata, and though his Broadway return has not yet been announced, he is attached to the forthcoming stage adaptation of a little movie you may have heard of: Frozen.
59 Productions specializes in integrating film and video elements into live theatrical experiences. They were a big part of the gorgeous projections that make up the bulk of An American in Paris’ set. They’ve kept busy since, working on the National’s new musical wonder.land and a U.K. tour of Get Carter for Northern Stage.
Best Scenic Design of a Play – Bunny Christie and Finn Ross for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Bunny Christie provided the sets and costumes for Curious Incident, which was her Broadway debut. She’s continued to work with the National in London, where Curious Incident got its start, on productions of People, Places & Things and Husbands & Sons. She returned to America for St. Anne’s Warehouse’s all-female production of Henry IV late last year as well.
Finn Ross designed Curious Incident’s video elements. He’s subsequently worked on The Royal Opera House’s production of The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, and he’s back on Broadway this season with the video design of American Psycho.
Best Orchestrations - Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky and Bill Elliott for An American in Paris
The orchestrators of American in Paris had incredible material to work with; the score, made up of Gershwin favorites, has everything from jazzy rhythmic tunes like “Fidgety Feet” to the soaring and symphonic sound of the ballet from which the show takes its name. Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky and Bill Elliott stepped up to the challenge and walked away with a Tony Award for their efforts. Austin, who made his Broadway debut with An American in Paris, has been back at his regular job at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he teaches composition, conducting and orchestration. Bill Elliott, whose orchestrations for another Gershwin musical (Nice Work if You Can Get It) were Tony nominated in 2012, teaches contemporary writing and production at Berklee. Don Sebesky has had a long career on Broadway, with 20 credits dating back to 1983’s Peg and a Tony Award for the 2000 revival of Kiss Me, Kate. He arranges for a number of pop artists, everyone from Barbra Streisand to Britney Spears.
Best Featured Actress in a Musical – Ruthie Ann Miles for The King and I
Ruthie Ann Miles burst on to the New York theatre scene with her performance as Imelda Marcos in The Public Theater’s Here Lies Love, winning Lucille Lortel and Theatre World awards in addition to critical raves. Her Lady Thiang in The King and I won her a 2015 Tony Award, and she’s still with the production today. You can also see her on TV in the current season of FX’s The Americans, playing the role of Young Hee.
At this point, Christian Borle is somewhat of a fixture of the Broadway stage. His Something Rotten! Tony Award, won for his hilarious portrayal of an ultra-confident William Shakespeare, was his second Tony win, after winning his first for his performance as “Black Stache” in Peter and the Starcatcher in 2012. He’s also a frequent ambassador for Broadway on television, having appeared in Smash, The Sound of Music Live! and Peter Pan Live! You can still see his Tony-winning performance in Something Rotten! eight times a week at the St. James, but he will also join the cast of the Netflix Gilmore Girls revival, along with fellow Broadway star and ex-wife Sutton Foster. He’s also set to play the lead role of Marvin in this fall’s Falsettos revival.
Best Featured Actress in a Play – Annaleigh Ashford for You Can’t Take It With You
Annaleigh Ashford is probably best known for her musical theatre roles, having appeared in Wicked, Legally Blonde, Hair and Kinky Boots on Broadway. But it was her hilarious ballet-filled performance as Essie in last season’s revival of You Can’t Take It With You that made Ashford a Tony winner. She followed that performance with an equally hilarious performance as a dog in this season’s revival of A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia, taking on a role originated Off-Broadway by Sarah Jessica Parker. Ashford’s upcoming projects are all for the screen. She plays Betty DiMello on Masters of Sex, which debuts a new season this summer. She’s also set to take on the role of Columbia in Fox’s upcoming The Rocky Horror Picture Show Live.
Best Featured Actor in a Play – Richard McCabe for The Audience
Richard McCabe made his Broadway debut playing former Prime Minister Harold Wilson in The Audience. McCabe recreated his role on Broadway after debuting it for the play’s West End bow, where he won an Olivier for his performance. So far, he’s not scheduled to return to the Broadway stage, but he is in the new British TV series Doctor Thorne, playing Frank Gresham Senior.
Best Actress in a Musical – Kelli O’Hara for The King and I
Theatre fans across the country breathed a sigh of relief last year as Broadway leading lady extraordinaire Kelli O’Hara finally won a Tony Award. Having previously led the casts of The Light in the Piazza, The Pajama Game, South Pacific, Nice Work If You Can Get It and The Bridges of Madison County to great acclaim, it was high time she have a Tony Award for her shelf. O’Hara only just recently left her Tony-winning role in The King and I, but she has upcoming performances, as well. She’ll appear opposite Piazza co-star Victoria Clark in Henry Purcell’s “tempestuous baroque opera” Dido and Aeneas at New York City Center this week, and she’s set to make her solo Carnegie Hall debut October 29.
Best Actor in a Musical – Michael Cerveris in Fun Home
Michael Cerveris’ stirring and many-layered performance as the tormented Bruce Bechdel in Fun Home won him his second Tony Award, after winning in 2004 for his performance as John Wilkes Booth in Assassins. If you haven’t caught his Tony-winning performance yet, you’re in luck because he’s still appearing in Fun Home. When he’s not performing on Broadway, Cerveris sings with his band Loose Cattle. The group recently released a single of “Pony Girl,” a song [mostly] cut from Fun Home. If you want to check it out, it’s available on iTunes.
Best Actress in a Play – Helen Mirren for The Audience
Helen Mirren has had quite a good run with Queen Elizabeth II; she won an Oscar playing her in the 2007 film The Queen, won an Olivier playing her in Peter Morgan’s The Audience on London’s West End and then, of course brought the same play across the pond to Broadway—where she nabbed a Tony Award. After finishing up the Broadway run of The Audience, she appeared on the silver screen as gossip columnist Hedda Hopper in Trumbo. She’s recently wrapped a new movie called Collateral Beauty, in which she’s set to appear alongside Will Smith, Keira Knightley and Kate Winslet this December.
Best Actor in a Play – Alex Sharp for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Alex Sharp famously graduated from Julliard School in the summer of 2014 and mere weeks later made his Broadway debut in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Several months later, Sharp won a Tony for his performance as a teenager on the autism spectrum, Christopher Boone, and he’s currently the youngest-ever winner of the Best Actor in a Play Tony Award. Since leaving Curious Incident in September 2015, Sharp has been busy making movies. He will appear in the forthcoming John Cameron Mitchell-directed film How to Talk to Girls at Parties, performing alongside Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman and Ruth Wilson. He’s currently filming To the Bone, set to be released in 2017.