Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The 2019 Tony Award Nominations Announced

*The 2019 Tony Award nominations were recently announced. Below is a complete list. 

Best Musical
“Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations”
“The Prom”

Best Play
“Choir Boy”
“The Ferryman”
“Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus”
“What the Constitution Means to Me”

Best Revival of a Musical
“Kiss Me, Kate”

Best Revival of a Play
“All My Sons”
“The Boys in the Band”
“Burn This”
“Torch Song”
“The Waverly Gallery”

Best Book of a Musical
“Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations”: Dominique Morisseau
“Beetlejuice”: Scott Brown and Anthony King
“Hadestown”: Anaïs Mitchell
“The Prom”: Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin
“Tootsie”: Robert Horn

Best Original Score
“Beetlejuice,” music and lyrics: Eddie Perfect
“Be More Chill,” music and lyrics: Joe Iconis
“Hadestown,” music and lyrics: Anaïs Mitchell
“The Prom,” music by Matthew Sklar; lyrics by Chad Beguelin
“Tootsie,” music and lyrics: David Yazbek
“To Kill a Mockingbird,” music by Adam Guettel

Best Direction of a Play
Rupert Goold, “Ink”
Sam Mendes, “The Ferryman”
Bartlett Sher, “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Ivo van Hove, “Network”
George C. Wolfe, “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus”

Best Direction of a Musical
Rachel Chavkin, “Hadestown”
Scott Ellis, “Tootsie”
Daniel Fish, “Oklahoma!”
Des McAnuff, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations”
Casey Nicholaw, “The Prom”

Best Leading Actor in a Play
Bryan Cranston, “Network”
Paddy Considine, “The Ferryman”
Jeff Daniels, “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Adam Driver, “Burn This”
Jeremy Pope, “Choir Boy”

Best Leading Actress in a Play
Annette Bening, “All My Sons”
Laura Donnelly, “The Ferryman”
Elaine May, “The Waverly Gallery”
Janet McTeer, “Bernhardt/Hamlet”
Laurie Metcalf, “Hillary and Clinton”
Heidi Schreck, “What the Constitution Means to Me”

Best Leading Actor in a Musical
Brooks Ashmanskas, “The Prom”
Derrick Baskin, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations”
Alex Brightman, “Beetlejuice”
Damon Daunno, “Oklahoma!”
Santino Fontana, “Tootsie”

Best Leading Actress in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, “The Cher Show”
Caitlin Kinnunen, “The Prom”
Beth Leavel, “The Prom”
Eva Noblezada, “Hadestown”
Kelli O’Hara, “Kiss Me, Kate”

Best Featured Actor in a Play
Bertie Carvel, “Ink”
Robin de Jesús, “The Boys in the Band”
Gideon Glick, “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Brandon Uranowitz, “Burn This”
Benjamin Walker, “All My Sons”

Best Featured Actress in a Play
Fionnula Flanagan, “The Ferryman”
Celia Keenan-Bolger, “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Kristine Nielsen, “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus”
Julie White, “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus”
Ruth Wilson, “King Lear”

Best Featured Actor in a Musical
André De Shields, “Hadestown”
Andy Grotelueschen, “Tootsie”
Patrick Page, “Hadestown”
Jeremy Pope, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations”
Ephraim Sykes, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations”

Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Lilli Cooper, “Tootsie”
Amber Gray, “Hadestown”
Sarah Stiles, “Tootsie”
Ali Stroker, “Oklahoma!”
Mary Testa, “Oklahoma!”

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Miriam Buether, “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Bunny Christie, “Ink”
Rob Howell, “The Ferryman”
Santo Loquasto, “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus”
Jan Versweyveld, “Network”

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations”
Peter England, “King Kong”
Rachel Hauck, “Hadestown”
Laura Jellinek, “Oklahoma!”
David Korins, “Beetlejuice”

Best Costume Design of a Play
Rob Howell, “The Ferryman”
Toni-Leslie James, “Bernhardt/Hamlet”
Clint Ramos, “Torch Song”
Ann Roth, “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Ann Roth, “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus”

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Michael Krass, “Hadestown”
William Ivey Long, “Tootsie”
William Ivey Long, “Beetlejuice”
Bob Mackie, “The Cher Show”
Paul Tazewell, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations”

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Neil Austin, “Ink”
Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus”
Peter Mumford, “The Ferryman”
Jennifer Tipton, “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden, “Network”

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, “The Cher Show”
Howell Binkley, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations”
Bradley King, “Hadestown”
Peter Mumford, “King Kong”
Kenneth Posner and Peter Negrini, “Beetlejuice”

Best Sound Design in a Play
Adam Cork, “Ink”
Scott Lehrer, “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Fitz Patton, “Choir Boy”
Nick Powell, “The Ferryman”
Eric Sleichim, “Network”

Best Sound Design in a Musical
Peter Hylenski, “King Kong”
Peter Hylenski, “Beetlejuice”
Steve Canyon Kennedy, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations”
Drew Levy, “Oklahoma!”
Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, “Hadestown”

Best Choreography
Camille A. Brown, “Choir Boy”
Warren Carlyle, “Kiss Me, Kate”
Denis Jones, “Tootsie”
David Neumann, “Hadestown”
Sergio Trujillo, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations”

Best Orchestrations
Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, “Hadestown”
Simon Hale, “Tootsie”
Larry Hochman, “Kiss Me, Kate”
Daniel Kluger, “Oklahoma!”
Harold Wheeler, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations”

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater
Rosemary Harris
Terrence McNally
Harold Wheeler

Isabelle Stevenson Award
Judith Light

Regional Theater Tony Award
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley

Special Tony Award
Marin Mazzie
Sonny Tilders and Creature Technology Company
Jason Michael Webb

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theater
Broadway Inspirational Voices – Michael McElroy, Founder
Peter Entin
FDNY Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9
Joseph Blakely Forbes

Reno Wilson Plays Louis Armstrong In 'Bolden'

Roy "Reno" Wilson

By Darlene Donloe

For more than 20 years, Roy "Reno" Wilson has wanted to portray legendary trumpeter, composer and singer Louis Armstrong.  Imagine his surprise when his phone rang as he sat in his home one day – literally holding a trumpet and a handkerchief in his hand (Armstrong’s moniker) toiling away on his own show about the famed musician.  It was his agent. He had an audition for a role in an upcoming drama called, Bolden, set for nationwide release May 3. 

Bolden is the story of Buddy Bolden, a little known New Orleans musician who is credited with creating the musical art form now known as jazz.

Although the role of Armstrong was available, Wilson’s agent had him auditioning to play a creole. Undeterred, Wilson hatched his own plan to audition for the role of Armstrong. So, he went to the audition in a suit and carrying a trumpet. He signed in as “Pops,” which is one of Armstrong’s nicknames.
(l-r) Nyambi, Reno Wilson and Billy Gardell star in Mike & Molly
Reno Wilson and Retta in Good Girls

“I just knew this role was mine,” said the veteran actor, best known for his roles in The Cosby Show, Mike & Molly and now Good Girls. “When the casting director came in I said, “Hey (in Armstrong’s voice), good evening.”

He got the part!

The only thing left for Wilson was for them to make the part bigger.

They did!

Wilson’s love for music came honestly. He grew up in Brooklyn, NY with a father (Roy Wilson) who was a blues organist and a mother (Shirley) who was an opera singer.  The musical roots were firmly planted.

When you talk to Wilson his zest for life and love of his career beam through his every word. He has an easy-going spirit and a quick wit that boosts his enormously likable personality.

Reno Wilson is Louis Armstrong in Bolden

I recently caught up with Wilson, a married father of two, to talk about his career, Bolden, and his high regard for Louis Armstrong.
An alleged picture of Buddy Bolden

DD: I must admit, I had never heard of Buddy Bolden before this movie. Had you?

RW: Who has?  No. He was unrecorded. There is one grainy ripped up picture. All we know are stories. What’s amazing about it is, we’re talking about him.

DD:  What drew you to this project?  What was the pitch?

Louis Armstrong

RW: The coincidence is before I got the script, I was working on my own show about Louis Armstrong. I’m holding a trumpet and a handkerchief.  My agent had me auditioning for a creole. I go to the audition. I got my suit and trumpet. I sign in “pops.”  I knew this was mine. The casting director comes in and I said, “Hey (in Louis’s voice). Good evening.” We were crying. I told them, ‘You gotta make the part bigger.’

DD: What are your thoughts about Bolden the person?

RW: I think Buddy Bolden was an eccentric dude who was really creative. He was hearing things that other people couldn’t hear at that time. When you’re the first, like Beethoven, Van Gogh – they all had something going on. Buddy can be added to that list.

I see Buddy Bolden as that kind of a character. He was born at a time when it wasn’t cool to be like that. He was a little bipolar.

Reno Wilson as Louis Armstrong in Bolden 

DD: You’re playing an iconic character. Bolden was allegedly Louis Armstrong’s inspiration.  How did you go about making Louis Armstrong your own?

RW: It starts with the music. It’s all about the music. All I knew was Hello Dolly and What a Wonderful World. In 1926, he was the man. He was creating and innovating. He was the first pop star. He was also a huge weed smoker. My goal is to bridge the gap between early jazz and hip-hop.

DD: How important is music to you?

RW: My dad was a blues organist. His name was Roy Wilson. He had a stroke while performing in Manhattan. I was four-years-old when it happened. I traveled with my mom. I was an opera kid. I have played the piano since I was four. I have perfect pitch. When I picked up the trumpet, I got perfect tone because I have perfect pitch.

DD: Why should people spend their money to see Bolden?

RW: It’s visually, a well, for the senses it’s a stunning film. What Wynton [Marsalis] did is off the hook.  The music is pleasing and hot.  I love movies where you see black people in shadow and darkness. It’s more realistic to see black people lit in warm colors.  They are beautifully lit in this film. It’s pleasing to watch. It’s also a way to incite them to get into some early jazz.

DD: Why doesn’t jazz get respect?

RW: You’re right. Jazz gets no respect. It’s something Louis [Armstrong] dealt with his whole life. It was mostly white people at his shows. He was frustrated that black people didn’t come to his shows. In 2019 maybe this will stimulate people.

DD: Why did you want to be an actor?

RW: It’s kind of the only thing I’ve ever done. I did plays in elementary school.

DD: What was your first show?

RW: My first one was The Glasses Man. I was in 3rd grade. I gave rose-colored glasses to everyone in the world. That’s pretty much how I live my life.

DD: You’ve played a cop a couple of times. What is it about cops?

RW: I don’t know. I got cops on lock.

Reno Wilson in The Cosby Show

DD: You’ve been a part of some pretty good shows. Has it been luck, or are you just that good?

RW: No, I am that good (laughter). Prior to that, an argument could be made that I was a pilot death. I’ve shot 20 pilots - 14 series. Mike & Molly was the first to go past a season. It would be like – “All shit, Reno is in our show –we’re not going to go past six shows.”

DD:  What did you expect from the industry, and what did you get?

RW: I had no idea. No idea what to expect. My first job was The Cosby Show. I was working at a conservatory at the time. I was quite content doing that. I end up doing one episode of Cosby, then another and another. Mr. Cosby was very supportive of me. He gave me some of my first lessons in the industry. I had a lot of naivete.  I am excited. I don't know why. I love what I do. I love living in Los Angeles. It does not get old.