Alisa Hurwitz (Dr. Drama)
Selecting a “best” of creative work is about as futile as picking the “best” Beatle.
Yet we are here at awards season for Broadway and off-Broadway, and most lovers of this art form are paying close attention to who gets nominated and who wins.
Why do awards shows even matter? Part of the lore of the Tony Awards includes the place it takes in the histories of many budding theater fans, the first introduction to Broadway performances that becomes an annual event. It also provides a chance for the theater community to celebrate another season of creating and sharing art. Finally, it creates and marks history.
This Broadway season was notable for its continued trend with female creative teams, notably the dearth of such, and growing but still insufficient diversity in casting. Yesterday’s Tony nominations highlighted females busting through the glass ceilings of Broadway, including playwrights Dominique Morisseau for “Ain’t Too Proud”, Anais Mitchell for “Hadestown” and Heidi Schreck for “What the Constitution Means to Me”, as well as the rare female director of a Broadway show, Rachel Chavkin for her breathtaking work in “Hadestown”. While there is progress in casting diversity, this year’s Best Actor and Actress nominees illuminates the lack of casting of Asian-Americans in lead roles, with the golden-voiced Eva Noblezada the sole Asian-American actor nominee. There was a beautiful celebration of black excellence, with 12 total nominations for the musical “Ain’t Too Proud” about The Temptations. The show with the most nominations was “Hadestown” with 14 total, which just goes to prove what happens when you hire female creatives to helm your show.
Whatever the outcome of the June 9th broadcast, theater fans will be sure to debating and celebrating the beauty of live theater.