Black actors shine in 2019 Tony Awards nominations

Actor André De Shields is nominated for a Tony Award for his role as Hermes in Hadestown (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

The 2019 Tony Awards nominations showcase an abundance of Black talent in many areas, marked by a sensational group of actors, writers and other creatives. Here is a look at the Black nominees for the Tony’s, which will take place Sunday, June 9, at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.

Actor Jeremy Pope has a chance to be the evening’s biggest star, as he became the first Black man nominated for two Tony Awards simultaneously: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play” for Pharus in the show Choir Boy, and as the indomitable Eddie Kendricks in  Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations. The play has received 12 total nominations, including one for Best Musical.

Black actress Lilli Cooper, who stars as Julie Nichols in Tootsie is nominated in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical category. With a win, the actress can join her father Chuck Cooper, with the coveted honor as a father-daughter Tony award-winning duo.  The elder Cooper won a Tony in 1997 in the Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical category for his role as Memphis in The Life.

Legendary actor, Emmy Award-winner and three-time Tony nominee André De Shields leads a star-studded list of actors in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical category for Hadestown, which leads all 2019 shows with 14 nominations, including Best Musical. De Shields plays Hermes. His co-star, Patrick Page is also nominated for his role as Hades. Actor Ephraim Sykes is nominated for Ain’t Too Proud in the role of David Ruffin.

Those offstage are also earning accolades. In the Best Book of a Musical category, Dominique Morisseau is nominated for Ain’t Too Proud, while author and playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney earned a Best Play nod for his Choir Boy.

In the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical category, Ain’t Too Proud’s Derrick Baskin earns a nomination for his portrayal of the only living member of The Temptations, Otis Williams.

Toni-Leslie James is nominated in the Best Costume Design of a Play category for Bernhardt/Hamlet and Paul Tazewell, for Best Costume Design of a Musical for Ain’t Too Proud.

Multiple Tony Award-winner George C. Wolfe is nominated for Best Direction of a Play for Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus and Camille A. Brown earns a nod for Best Choreography in Choir Boy. Finally, Harold Wheeler is nominated for Best Orchestrations for Ain’t Too Proud.

Rolling out will be live on the red carpet of the Tony Awards Sunday, May 9, so make sure to check out what Broadway’s biggest Black stars have to say and what they are wearing as well.

Derrel Johnson
Derrel Johnson

Lover of Christ, sports, hip-hop, my native home of Harlem and much more. IG @JazzJohnson1 Twitter @JazzJohnson10 Facebook @JazzJohnson100



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