This season on Broadway has taken us to new worlds, taught us life lessons, and entertained us beyond belief with the most magical teams of performers, designers, directors, musicians, and so much more. This year we’ve been brought to the Five Points in 1800’s Manhattan, gotten seranaded by the wives of Henry the 8th, watched life through the perspective of a queer Broadway usher, witnessed the highs and lows of a struggling family through the music of Bob Dylan, sat right in the studio during the making of Michael Jackson’s thriller video, and so much more. It’s truly been a season for the ages, and after Broadway’s reopening in September, being able to witness live performances has never felt so incredible.
The nominations for the 2022 Tony Awards we’re announced on Monday, being read by Adrianne Warren, a nominee herself for her show stopping performance of Tina Turner in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical last year. The nominations couldn’t be more well deserved, with the Pulitzer Prize winning musical A Strange Loop leading with 11 nominations. Not far behind, Larry Kirwan’s Paradise Square walked away with 10 nominations. The nominations this year marked so many historical triumphs, paving the way for years to come.
There is something so astonishing about the creation of a new story based on incredible music, and Connor McPherson’s Girl From The North Country proves that with seven nominations. The show features a family living in a boarding house, trying to survive through the ups and downs of life, with a score made up of the music of Bob Dylan. Mare Winningham plays a woman struggling with dementia, constantly going back and fourth between having a lifeless distance to her, to childlike outbursts. The role is incredibly complex and layered, and Winningham has earned a very well deserved nomination for best leading actress in a musical. “She’s such a great character for the way that Connor Mcpherson has threaded her through the play,” Winningham said while talking about her character. “She’s hearing things that the others aren’t. So even though she is in that boarding house, she is trying to figure out how to survive like all the rest of them, she is hearing music and the others aren’t. In some ways, she’s with you, with the audience, she crosses the fourth wall and participates.”
It’s a new era of Broadway, and the shows we have seen this season have transcended. “I think that I wanted to do something that was so overwhelming that it was only possible in live theater,” The Skin of Our Teeth Set designer Adam Rigg said while being asked about the creation of this incredible show. “I think that coming back after the pandemic, everyone had been staring at screens for two years. And if we’d done it before the pandemic it wouldn’t have been any smaller, but every production that I’d worked on had been very scared back just because of the nature of how we’re working and how we have to work now for safety. But this one we made it to scale, we wanted people to look at it and see that this is what we do- this is what we can do.”
Broadway is a constant representation of what we can do, and what we constantly continue to do. Michael R Jackson built his pulitzer prize winning musical A Strange Loop up from the ground, and he is now nominated for two Tony Awards, for best score and best book of a musical. Not only that, but his show is leading for most nominations this year, with an incredible 11 nominations. “I think the thing that kept me going was trying to understand the experience of Usher,” Jackson said. “I did draw from personal experience to write it, but at a certain point it became not about me, it became about the idea of me, of I, of self. And I wanted to try to capture that, that Black, queer, gay self in a jar. The nuance of it, the specificity of it. I felt that if I could do it on the level of other pieces of art that I felt moved by, that that would love the needle somehow. It just was the story itself, I had to understand the loop.”
We loved getting to chat with the 2022 Tony Award nominees! Tune into CBS on June 12th at 8pm to watch the show!