On June 9, Broadway dreams will be made and broken when the 73rd Tony Awards airs on CBS. So, to prepare, let’s go over some of the top contenders in the top categories: best play, best musical, best revival of a play and best revival of a musical.
Now, I wish I could go over all the nominees in one article, but that may take a couple thousand words. If you love theater or are intrigued by the nominees in this article, I encourage you to look up all the nominees. There are a bunch in each category and many more categories than these four.
1. “Choir Boy”
From Tarell Alvin McCraney, the screenwriter responsible for the Oscar-winning “Moonlight” and a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship Grant, the play takes place at the prestigious Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys, which has dedicated itself to the education of strong, ethical black men as the play’s website describes.
The story follows one student’s endeavor to make it to the top of the legendary gospel choir — will he make it singing in his “own key”? The play has also been nominated for three other Tony Awards.
2. “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus”
Do you like Shakespeare? Or do you question Shakespeare? Either way, this play is for you. The comedy takes place right after Shakespeare’s arguably bloodiest play, following one of its most minor characters, Gary.
To top it off, three-time Tony winner Nathan Lane (for most of the populous, the original voice of Timon in “The Lion King”) leads as Gary. The play also has in its set a pile of corpses, mixing the dark with the humorous.
My own personal favorite, “Hadestown” comes into the Tony Awards with a total of 14 nominations. Yes, 14.
The story follows both the romantic relationship of Orpheus and Eurydice while it intertwines with the story of Persephone and Hades. The Greek tragedy takes on new life as it channels folk and blues music to put a modern twist on an ancient classic.
2. “Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations”
Want something you might more easily recognize? This jukebox musical follows the rise of the legends that are the Temptations. Set to the group’s most famous hits, the story is, as its website states, the story of “Five guys. One Dream. And a sound that would change music history.”
Written by three-time Obie-winner Dominique Morisseau and directed by two-time Tony Award-winner Des McAnuff, you can expect the group’s famous dance choreography and hits such as “My Girl” and “Get Ready.”
Maybe you want something macabre but still (slightly) lighthearted? Based off the Tim Burton cult-classic movie that has garnered so much love over the years since its premiere, the musical follows the same Lydia Deetz, a young woman as obsessed with the dead as Beetlejuice’s loyal fans.
The musical does, of course, portray fan favorites as “Day-o” and “Jump in the Line.” Maybe you’ll want to go back not twice, but thrice, and even say “Beetlejuice” a couple of times.
Best Revival of a Play
1. Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons”
Annette Bening and Tracy Letts take the stage in this Broadway classic. Taking place in the aftermath of World War II, this play follows the inner workings of one family’s attempts to go back to some semblance of normalcy.
A secret plagues the family and comes to the surface during the course of the play, but the question remains: How much can one family take, and what exactly can individuals handle? This post-war play manages to hold its validity even in today’s climate and feels all too successful in its commentary.
2. “Burn This”
Adam Driver and Keri Russell bring to life the story of a restaurant owner and dancer in 1980s New York City. Their turbulent relationship and tragic pasts come together in a whirlwind of emotion. It is definitely one to watch.
3. Harvey Feirstein’s “Torch Song”
This play follows the journey of Arnold Beckoff in his “odyssey to find happiness in New York.” This new production it appears to be a condensing of the original trilogy of the ’80s (’80s New York seems to be taking over the Tony Awards).
Lead actor Michael Urie said of the production, “We need Harvey’s play when our world is suddenly and continually confusing and divided.”
Best Revival of a Musical
There are only two nominees this year for this category, which is rare.
1. “Kiss Me Kate!”
The Roundabout Theatre Company revives the Cole Porter classic that, guess what, channels even more Shakespeare!
It’s a musical about putting on a musical — a musical version of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” It is filled with numbers and songs that embody the classic Broadway style that paved the way for generations to come.
Another classic for the golden age of Broadway, but this time around there are some changes. This production has decided to use voices that sound a bit more contemporary and modern than your regular production of “Oklahoma!”
In theory, it sounds like the overall tone of this rendition of the musical is much more accessible to all audiences.