Felicia Boswell hosts our latest series On The List. She sits and talks with the current 2015 Tony Award Nominees to find out all you want to know about this golden time for Broadway’s finest! The first episode of many more to come is here! Chatting it up with the only African American Tony Award nominee (for a performance category) this year. Meet K. Todd Freeman. Watch the show below!
K. Todd Freeman is nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his role as Sissy Na Na in Airline Highway. His bio includes:
Steppenwolf Company member since 1993. At Steppenwolf: The Brother/Sister Plays, The Tempest, Topdog/Underdog, A Clockwork Orange, …Cuckoo’s Nest (Broadway), The Song of Jacob Zulu (Broadway, Tony nomination). Other Broadway: Wicked. Off-Broadway: Fetch Clay/Make Man (NYTW, Obie Award); Spunk, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide… (Public Theater); Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Drama Dept.). Regional: Angels in America, Miss Evers’ Boys (Mark Taper Forum). Television and film: “Elementary,” “The Slap,” “Believe,” “A Gifted Man,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “NYPD Blue,” “A Different World,” Anesthesia (dir. Tim Blake Nelson), The Dark Knight, The Cider House Rules and Grosse Pointe Blank.
ON THE LIST HOST FELICIA BOSWELL:
HELEN HAYES WINNER (Outstanding Lead Actress 2013); Broadway: MOTOWN (Diana Ross), MEMPHIS (Felicia u/s) Nat’l Tour: MEMPHIS (Felicia Farrell), Dreamgirls (Deena/ Lorell), AIDA (Aida Standby) Regional: RENT (Mimi) Atlanta Lyric Theatre*, Caroline Or Change (Radio) Guthrie Theatre, AIDA (Aida) VMT, BEEHIVE (Diana Ross) Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Boys From Syracuse (Courtesan) Baltimore Centerstage, Little Shop of Horrors (Chiffon) Atlanta Lyric Theatre, Starlight Jazz (Japan). Other Credits: MACY’S Day Parade 2013 (Diana Ross), Knockin’ the Musical (Wynona Carr), Heart & Lights, Joe Turner’s Come & Gone (Molly Cunningham); *Suzi Bass Nominee; Performance dedicated to parents, my Love, WFW III! Visit Official Fan Page for Felicia Boswell on Facebook. www.FeliciaBoswell.com
Accepting The Torch: A New Generation of Leads & Legends
Photos by Felix Kunze @Felixkunze
Creative Direction & Produced by Dual Phocus Productions @dual.phocus
Hair & Clothing Stylist: Chloe Chada’ @quintessentially_chloe
MUA: William Bob Scott @bobscott200
For many, the love of theatre begins with a visual. A performance of some sort, the sparkling twinkle that reflects off a bedazzled costume, a set piece that you just know in your heart you should be walking on, or maybe even a tune with such a striking melody that you can’t get it out of your head. Once it’s planted there, there’s usually no turning back. No forgetting that moment of pure joy and satisfaction in knowing that one day it’ll be you on that stage or you helping to make that kind of magic happen.
Yes, for some, the dream may change at some point but they’ll never forget their initiation. It’s a part of them. However, there are those that push forward through it all. They train and condition themselves to stay on the path and ultimately run the course, hoping to break record time in the relay race of Broadway, catching up to the one in front of them stretching and reaching for the baton. A baton that is on fire. A baton so hot that only a few can hold it, it’s that hot. There’s an insane amount of work to do to even get the chance to grab it but even more work and efforts to hold on to it but also an extreme honor at the same time.
I had the chance to talk with four of the 2016 Tony Award nominees and a previous Tony Award winner about their journey and what it takes to pass and receive the Broadway Black torch. Out of the 18 African-American nominees we chose to talk with Brandon Victor Dixon, (Best Feature Actor in a Musical for Shuffle Along) Saycon Sengbloh (Best Featured Actress in a Play for Eclipsed) , Pascale Armand, (Best Featured Actress in a Play for Eclipsed, Adrienne Warren (Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Shuffle Along) and the torch bearer and trailblazer LaChanze (2006 Tony Award-winner. Best Leading Actress in a Musical for the original mounting of The Color Purple), as they also took part in an exclusive photo shoot with acclaimed photographer Felix Kunze. Each one had some very inspiring and encouraging words to say that I think truly capture what it means to be a part of the Broadway Black community
“We all [Tony Award Winners], we always assume that the next year we’ll get a chance to pass the baton to the next person. I’ve always thought of it as a rite of passage. An acknowledgment that you’re including someone else into the realm of winners or people who are fortunate enough to receive this wonderful accolade. I’ve always imagined it would be sort of a tradition to do that. Something I’ve always thought that only people who’ve won Tonys can really do, pass the torch. There have been so few people of color who’ve won in my category and in the history since the Tonys began. It just feels right to be able to do that this year. I’d tell the nominees, first, sleep. As much as you can, sleep. Also, enjoy yourself, enjoy the moment. Don’t let anything slip by. Do it all. You’ll be able to look back and be glad that you did it.” – LaChanze
“This season is classic and historic. I’m feeling very excited. Excited for myself, As well as to see how Broadway Black is growing. I was born and raised in Atlanta. My mom is American and my Dad is from Libera. Hearing my Dad’s accent or my sister’s accent always penetrated me even though I always spoke with my American accent. So when it was time to call on the Liberian side for this show [Eclipsed], I said “What? when has anyone ever asked me to do that?” So, I welcomed the challenge. That’s what you always have to do. “ – Saycon Sengbloh
“Everyone who knows me knows the struggle has been long and hard. I’ve been at it for a second. I never thought for the longest time that it was a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if,’ like some people. I’ve just been hustling and hoofing it for so long. I never even thought about the Tonys. I wanted to work. For all the times young Pascale sat in a puddle crying thinking “I’m going to find a corporate America job, get my benefits,” and all that. I’d tell her, “pick yourself up, dust yourself off, dry all the tears, and keep it at. It’s going to happen you just have to be patient. Wait for it. It’s coming.” There had been so many times where I didn’t know that and was so close to throwing it all away. Then I would look at a student loan bill and think I didn’t pay all this money to quit now.” – Pascale Armand
“It’s a big year. It’s exciting to be nominated. It’s a wonderful year. Extraordinary talent. And I’m glad it’s a diverse body of storytelling and talent that’s on display because these really are my people. My boys, my people, my friends. We’re here! I would go crazy if Adrienne Warren won but I’ll go ham if Renee wins. Leslie’s my boy. Lin’s my boy. It’s just a celebratory time. [Being here] is icing on the cake. We have wonderful shows that are sold out. Broadway is doing really well.” – Brandon Victor Dixon
“I’m so grateful for the show [Shuffle Along] and the story we’re telling. How blessed we are to be able to tell this story, in this way, with these people. We come to work every day and we realize that we have a story to tell to represent these people who have deserved recognition for so many years and now they’re finally getting it. That’s the best gift I could possibly ever get. I’m so proud of everyone that’s a part of this amazing season.” – Adrienne Warren
Drama League Nominations Go To Eclipsed, Skeleton Crew & More
Awards season continues with today’s announcement of the 82nd Annual Drama League Award nominations for Outstanding Play, Outstanding Revival of a Play, Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Revival of a Musical and Distinguished Performance Award. The five award categories recognize Broadway and Off-Broadway productions.
Broadway’s Aladdin stars Adam Jacobs, Courtney Reed and James Monroe Iglehart announced the 2016 nominations for the Drama League Awards on April 20, during an exclusive livestream from Sardi’s.
Among the nominations for outstanding plays and musicals were: Danai Gurira’s Eclipsed; Dominique Morisseau’s Skeleton Crew; Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Gloria; The Gin Game (James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson); Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton; and The Color Purple (partly produced by Oprah Winfrey);
The productions of Shuffle Along and Cirque du Soleil: Paramour will be considered for the 2016-2017 season.
10 Out of 12
King Charles III
Outstanding Revival of a Play
Awake and Sing!
The Gin Game
Long Day’s Journey into Night
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Sense and Sensibility
A View from the Bridge
Dear Evan Hansen
On Your Feet!
School of Rock, The Musical
Outstanding Revival of a Musical
The Color Purple
Dames at Sea
Fiddler on the Roof
She Loves Me
The Distinguished Performance Award selects one winner, and the recipient only can receive the award once during his or her career – making it a much-coveted award. The 50 nominees include:
Nina Arianda, Fool for Love
Annaleigh Ashford, Sylvia
Laura Benanti, She Loves Me
Reed Birney, The Humans
Alex Brightman, School of Rock, The Musical
Danny Burstein, Fiddler on the Roof
Timothee Chalamet, Prodigal Son
Kelley Curran, The Dingdong
Carmen Cusack, Bright Star
Jeff Daniels, Blackbird
Khris Davis, The Royale
Daveed Diggs, Hamilton
Georgia Engel, John
Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Fully Committed
Lynda Gravatt, Skeleton Crew
Michael C. Hall, Lazarus
Anne Hathaway, Grounded
Megan Hilty, Noises Off
Jackie Hoffman, Once Upon a Mattress
Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans
Jennifer Hudson, The Color Purple
Marin Ireland, Ironbound
Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Tuck Everlasting
Leslie Kritzer, The Robber Bridegroom
Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey into Night
Judith Light, Therese Raquin
Zachary Levi, She Loves Me
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Jessie Mueller, Waitress
Kristine Nielsen, Hir
Lupita Nyong’o, Eclipsed
Sophie Okonedo, The Crucible
Annette O’Toole, Southern Comfort
Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III
Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen
Phylicia Rashad, Head of Passes
Sam Rockwell, Fool for Love
Thomas Jay Ryan, 10 Out of 12
Michael Shannon, Long Day’s Journey into Night
Jennifer Simard, Disaster!
Lois Smith, Marjorie Prime and John
Mark Strong, A View from the Bridge
Cicely Tyson, The Gin Game
Michael Urie, Shows for Days
Ana Villafane, On Your Feet!
Benjamin Walker, American Psycho
Nicola Walker, A View from the Bridge
Ben Whishaw, The Crucible
Michelle Williams, Blackbird
The 82nd Annual Drama League Awards, hosted by Zachary Levi (Chuck) and Megan Hilty (Smash), will be 11:30 a.m., Friday, May 20, at the Marriott Marquis Times Square in the Broadway Ballroom.
The Drama League Awards are the oldest theatrical honors in America with the first award in 1922 and a formal award in 1935.
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