Black excellence dominates 2023 Tony Awards nominations

Black excellence highlights 2023 Tony Awards nominations
Tony-Award Winning actor Wendell Pierce on his return to Broadway (Photo by Derrel Johnson for rolling out)
Tony-Award Winning actor Wendell Pierce on his return to Broadway (Photo by Derrel Johnson for rolling out)

Black excellence on Broadway was recognized in a big way when the 2023 Tony Awards nominations were announced, with four of the five actors in the ‘Best Leading Actor in a Play’ category being Black men.

Actors Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Corey Hawkins were both nominated for Topdog/Underdog, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play written by Suzan-Lori Parks. Stephen McKinley Henderson was nominated for Between Riverside and Crazy, in which he co-starred with hip-hop artist and actor Common, and Wendell Pierce was nominated for his portrayal of Willy Loman in the Arthur Miller classic Death of a Salesman. Having witnessed all four performances, this will most certainly be a difficult decision for voters.

Black men also took center stage in the Best New Play category, as Aint No Mo’ by Jordan E, Cooper and Fat Ham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play written by James Ijames were nominated. Stevie Walker-Webb and Saheem Ali were both nominated in the Best Direction of a Play category for Aint No Mo’ and Fat Ham, respectively. Both Jordan E. Cooper in Ain’t No Mo and Samuel L. Jackson in The Piano Lesson earned nominations for Best Featured Actor in a Play.

Three of the four nominees in the ‘Best Play Revival’ were also Black. Topdog/Underdog, by Parks, The Piano Lesson by August Wilson, and The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window were all recognized. 

Audra McDonald, regarded by many as the GOAT because of her six Tony Award wins (more than any other stage actress), will go for a record-setting seventh win at the 2023 Tony Awards. She was nominated for her performance in Ohio State Murders, the very first show to be staged in the recently renamed James Earl Jones Theatre.

J. Harrison Ghee was nominated for ‘Best Leading Actor in a Musical’ for Some Like It Hot, which also earned 12 other nominations, including “Best Featured Actress in a Musical” for NaTasha Yvette Williams.

Kara Young of Cost of Living, and Crystal Lucas-Perry and Nikki Crawford of Fat Ham, were all nominated for “Best Featured Actress in a Play.”

Congratulations to all of the nominees and we look forward to seeing who takes the Tony Awards home on Sunday, June 11, 2023, in New York City and on CBS.

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