Another Tony Awards season is upon us! We are looking forward to celebrating another exciting season of theatre and equally thrilled to highlight all the Chicago connections to this year’s nominees.
Perhaps one of the most anticipated shows this season is The Band’s Visit, which garnered a total of 11 nominations, including best direction of a musical by David Cromer. Before his work on Broadway, Cromer spent a large portion of his career in Chicago helming acclaimed productions of Angels in America Parts I and II at The Journeymen Theatre, The Price at Writers’ Theatre and Rent at American Theater Company.
SpongeBob SquarePants, which made its Pre-Broadway World Premiere in summer of 2016 at the Oriental Theatre, soaked up 12 nominations and is directed by Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble member Tina Landau. Also hailing from the Steppenwolf stage is Laurie Metcalf, nominated for her performance in Three Tall Women.
Additionally, David Zinn received two nominations for his dual role as both scenic and costume designer for the whimsical world of Bikini Bottom in SpongeBob SquarePants. And of course, a special shout out to the variety of artists who took home a best original score nomination for SpongeBob SquarePants including: Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles (a previous Best Score nominee for the upcoming Waitress the Musical), Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper (a previous Best Score Tony Award winner for Kinky Boots, which also originated in Chicago) & Rob Hyman, John Legend, Panic! at the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants, T.I., Domani & Lil’C.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child cast its spell over the Tony Awards and earned a total of 10 nominations including Best Play. This production features several Chicago actors including Alex Weisman, Jessie Fisher, Nathan Salstone and James Romney. Weisman, a Northwestern graduate, and Romney, a graduate of Roosevelt University’s Chicago College for Performing Arts, and Salstone, the 2012 IHSMTA Best Actor winner, all made their Broadway debuts, while Fisher previously appeared on Broadway in Once and is a native of Highland Park.
Tina Fey, who got her start at Second City in Chicago, was nominated for best book of a musical for Mean Girls and Fey’s husband, former Second City musician Jeff Richmond, was nominated for best score with his co-writer Nell Benjamin. Two-time Tony winner Gregg Barnes is also nominated for his costume design work in Mean Girls. Gregg’s costume creations have been seen by Chicagoans in Disney’s Aladdin and most recently on stage at the Oriental Theatre in Pretty Woman: The Musical.
Jessie Mueller, an Evanston native and a veteran to the Chicago stage, was nominated for her leading performance as Julie in Carousel, alongside Joshua Henry, who played opposite her as Billy Bigelow. Henry appeared most recently with Broadway In Chicago as Aaron Burr in the original Chicago cast of Hamilton.
On the design front; Academy and Tony Award-winner Ann Roth is nominated for her costume design in Three Tall Women. Ann’s designs brought Mormon to the minds of Chicagoans in 2012 and will sure do the same when The Book of Mormon says “Hello” again in November.
We are also thrilled that members of the creative team for the upcoming The Cher Show have rounded up several nominations as well. Kevin Adams (Nominated for lighting design of a musical – SpongeBob SquarePants), Christopher Gattelli (Nominated for choreography – SpongeBob SquarePants) and Christine Jones (Nominated for scenic design – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) all come together this June when The Cher Show has its Pre-Broadway Premiere at the Oriental Theatre June 12 – July 15.
Tune in to the 72nd annual Tony Awards hosted by CBS on Sunday, June 10, 2018 beginning at 7 p.m. CT!