On The Scene: Inside The 2022 Tony Awards Press Room

On Sunday, an incredible Broadway season was celebrated as the biggest night on Broadway returned to Radio City Music hall for the first time since 2019 (after a smaller ceremony was held at the Winter Garden theatre in September of 2021.) The joyous occasion of being back at the home of the awards was made even better by the showstopping performances, speeches that brought tears to our eyes, and of course the opportunity to celebrate the magic of live theatre in person with all of the people we love and admire.

Opening earlier this year, Michael R. Jackson’s A Strange Loop made headlines for providing a compelling, funny, and incredibly honest portrayal of walking through life as a Black queer man working as a Broadway usher, and in Usher’s own words, “barely scraping by.” It’s a show about a Black queer man writing a show about a Black queer man writing a show about a Black queer man, as the title alludes. The fan favorite earned an impressive 11 nominations, including best Musical. Though the show isn’t exactly autobiographical, Jackson did work as an Usher and much of the narrative, narrated by a cast of “thoughts” are based on his own experiences. Jackson took home the award for best book of a musical, and his amazing show took home best picture. Dressed in a bright pink cape, he stood clutching his award in the Tony’s media room with a room brightening smile on his face.

“I would tell him to relax, have fun, and save his money.” Jackson said, when asked about what he would tell his younger self. “But I would also tell him, ‘You’re okay. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re anchovies, and not everyone loves anchovies—until they do.'”

Paradise Square book writer Larry Kirwan told us that his now white hair was red when the process for his show began. It’s not surprising that a show as good as this one took so much time to create. Set in the “Five Points” of Manhattan in 1863 at a titular bar called Paradise Square, the show follows Nelly O’brien and her lively chosen family at a time where Irish immigrants and freed slaves joined together and lived in what is now Manhattan’s financial district. Nominated for and later winning the Tony award for Best Actress In a Leading Role in a Musical for her Role as Nelly, Joaquina Kalukango received a standing ovation from the Tony audience as she held the final note in her performance of Let It BurnThe performance was truly showstopping, and her award was so well deserved. It was presented to her by her The Color Purple co-stars Cynthia Erivo and Danielle Brooks, to make matters even sweeter.

“I just keep thinking of the women who came before me.” Kalukango said in the media room after being asked how it felt to know how iconic her performance was and would be. “I keep thinking of Melba Moore. I keep thinking of Jennifer Holiday. I keep thinking of Pearl Bailey. I think of all these women who paved the way. I even think of Phylicia Rashad. It’s an honor to be a part of the community. I love the community so much, and I think we’ve all really had to embrace each other because this has been a really tough year, full of uncertainty, to sort of come back. It just feels like we’re so happy to be here, to be present, and to tell stories again.”

See below for a FULL LIST of the 75th annual Tony Award Winners!

Best New Musical

“A Strange Loop” (WINNER)

“Girl From the North Country”

“MJ”

“Mr. Saturday Night”

“Paradise Square”

“Six”

Best Leading Actress in a Musical

Joaquina Kalukango, “Paradise Square” (WINNER)

Sharon D Clarke, “Caroline, Or Change”

Carmen Cusack, “Flying Over Sunset”

Sutton Foster, “The Music Man”

Mare Winningham, “Girl From the North Country”

Best Leading Actor in a Musical

Myles Frost, “MJ” (WINNER)

Billy Crystal, “Mr. Saturday Night”

Hugh Jackman, “The Music Man”

Rob McClure, “Mrs. Doubtfire”

Jaquel Spivey, “A Strange Loop”

Best Leading Actress in a Play

Deirdre O’Connell, “Dana. H” (WINNER)

Mary-Louise Parker, “How I Learned to Drive”

Gabby Beans, “The Skin of Our Teeth”

Ruth Negga, “Macbeth”

LaChanze, “Trouble in Mind”

Best Leading Actor in a Play

Simon Russell Beale, “The Lehman Trilogy” (WINNER)

Adam Godley, “The Lehman Trilogy”

Adrian Lester, “The Lehman Trilogy”

David Threlfall, “Hangmen”

Sam Rockwell, “American Buffalo”

David Morse, “How I Learned to Drive”

Ruben Santiago-Hudson, “Lackawanna Blues”

Best New Play

“The Lehman Trilogy” (WINNER)

“Clyde’s”

“Hangmen”

“Skeleton Crew”

“The Minutes”

Best Musical Revival

“Company” (WINNER)

“Caroline, or Change”

“The Music Man”

Best Book of a Musical

Michael R. Jackson, “A Strange Loop” (WINNER)

Lynn Nottage, “MJ”

Christina Anderson & Craig Lucas & Larry Kirwan, “Paradise Square”

Billy Crystal, Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel, “Mr. Saturday Night”

Conor McPherson, “Girl from the North Country”

Best Featured Actor in a Musical

Matt Doyle, “Company” (WINNER)

Jared Grimes, “Funny Girl”

John-Andrew Morrison, “A Strange Loop”

Sidney DuPont, “Paradise Square”

A.J. Shively, “Paradise Square”

Best Play Revival

“Take Me Out” (WINNER)

“American Buffalo”

“For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow Is Enuf”

“How I Learned to Drive”

“The Skin of Our Teeth”

Best Featured Actress in a Play

Phylicia Rashad, “Skeleton Crew” (WINNER)

Uzo Aduba, “Clyde’s”

Kara Young, “Clyde’s”

Rachel Dratch, “POTUS”

Julie White, “POTUS”

Kenita R. Miller, “for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf”

Best Direction of a Musical

Marianne Elliott, “Company” (WINNER)

Stephen Brackett, “A Strange Loop”

Conor McPherson, “Girl From the North Country”

Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage, “Six”

Christopher Wheeldon, “MJ”

Best Direction of a Play

Sam Mendes, “The Lehman Trilogy” (WINNER)

Les Waters, “Dana H.”

Neil Pepe, “American Buffalo”

Camille A. Brown, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow Is Enuf”

Lileana Blain-Cruz, “The Skin of Our Teeth”

Best Featured Actress in a Musical

Patti LuPone, “Company” (WINNER)

Jennifer Simard, “Company”

L Morgan Lee, “A Strange Loop”

Jeannette Bayardelle, “Girl From the North Country”

Jayne Houdyshell, “The Music Man”

Shoshana Bean, “Mr. Saturday Night”

Best Featured Actor in a Play

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Take Me Out” (WINNER)

Alfie Allen, “Hangmen”

Michael Oberholtzer, “Take Me Out”

Chuck Cooper, “Trouble in Mind”

Ron Cephas Jones, “Clyde’s”

Jesse Williams, “Take Me Out”

Best Original Score

“Six,” music and lyrics: Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss (WINNER)

“Flying Over Sunset,” music by Tom Kitt; lyrics by Michael Korie

“Mr. Saturday Night,” music by Jason Robert Brown; lyrics by Amanda Green

“Paradise Square,” music by Jason Howland and Larry Kirwan; lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Masi Asare

“A Strange Loop,” music and lyrics: Michael R. Jackson

Best Costume Design of a Play

Montana Levi Blanco, “The Skin of Our Teeth” (WINNER)

Sarafina Bush, “Pass Over”

Emilio Sosa, “Skeleton Crew”

Jane Greenwood, “Plaza Suite”

Jennifer Moeller, “Clyde’s”

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Gabriella Slade, “Six” (WINNER)

Fly Davis, “Caroline, or Change”

Toni-Leslie James, “Paradise Square”

William Ivey Long, “Diana, the Musical”

Santo Loquasto, “The Music Man”

Paul Tazewell, “MJ”

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Es Devlin, “The Lehman Trilogy” (WINNER)

Michael Carnahan and Nicholas Hussong, “Skeleton Crew”

Anna Fleischle, “Hangmen”

Beowulf Boritt, “POTUS”

Scott Pask, “American Buffalo”

Adam Rigg, “The Skin of Our Teeth”

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Bunny Christie, “Company” (WINNER)

Beowulf Boritt and 59 Productions, “Flying Over Sunset”

Arnulfo Maldonado, “A Strange Loop”

Derek McLane and Peter Nigrini, “MJ”

Allen Moyer, “Paradise Square”

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Jon Clark, “The Lehman Trilogy” (WINNER)

Joshua Carr, “Hangmen”

Jiyoun Chang, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow Is Enuf”

Jane Cox, “Macbeth”

Yi Zhao, “The Skin of Our Teeth”

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Natasha Katz, “MJ” (WINNER)

Neil Austin, “Company”

Tim Deiling, “Six”

Donald Holder, “Paradise Square”

Bradley King, “Flying Over Sunset”

Jen Schriever, “A Strange Loop”

Best Sound Design of a Play

Mikhail Fiksel, “Dana H.” (WINNER)

Nick Powell and Dominic Bilkey, “The Lehman Trilogy”

Justin Ellington, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow Is Enuf”

Palmer Hefferan, “The Skin of Our Teeth”

Mikaal Sulaiman, “Macbeth”

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Gareth Owen, “MJ” (WINNER)

Ian Dickinson for Autograph, “Company”

Simon Baker, “Girl from the North Country”

Paul Gatehouse, “Six”

Drew Levy, “A Strange Loop”

Best Orchestrations

Simon Hale, “Girl From the North Country” (WINNER)

David Cullen, “Company”

Tom Curran, “Six”

Jason Michael Webb and David Holcenberg, “MJ”

Charlie Rosen, “A Strange Loop”

Best Choreography

Christopher Wheeldon, “MJ” (WINNER)

Camille A. Brown, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow Is Enuf”

Warren Carlyle, “The Music Man”

Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, “Six”

Bill T. Jones, “Paradise Square”

Related posts

Exclusive: Kausar Mohammed talks The Flash and Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous

On the scene: The Power Book III: Raising Kanan Party in New York City

RoleCall Theater Presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream In Atlanta