Nominees React to the 2020 Tony Award Nominations With Excitement, Calls to Action, More

Below, find out how this year’s crop of Tony Award nominees feel about scoring a nod for their work in this abbreviated season.

For a full list of nominees, click here. Keep checking this page for further updates as they come in.

Matthew Lopez, Best Play, The Inheritance
“I’m grateful to the American Theatre Wing for recognizing The Inheritance with 11 nominations today, including Best Play. The closing of Broadway theatres (indeed almost all American theatres) this year has left us without a vital resource to gather together and examine ourselves and our nation and has reminded us just how important live theatre is to our personal and civil lives. In its absence, I urge everyone in these next three weeks to channel their energies into electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. And once theatres do re-open, I urge commercial producers and non-profit companies to listen to the voices of those who have been crying out this year for racial and economic justice in our country, in our cities, and in our arts organizations. One of the themes of The Inheritance is our responsibility to listen to each other’s stories and lift up our fellow citizens, rather than tearing them down. Theatre, at its best, helps call us to those better instincts of our nature. I look forward to the day we can all return safely, joyfully to those sacred spaces and to tell each other stories of our lives and of our nation.”

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Lauren Patten

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Lauren Patten, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical, Jagged Little Pill
“I am incredibly grateful for this Tony nomination, which is made so much more special for me because I share it with my entire Jagged Little Pill family. I am deeply proud of our show and everything that it stands for. I can’t wait until we are all able to return safely to our theatres to share the brilliant work of the shows that opened, and the shows that were not able to open because of the coronavirus pandemic. As a country and as an artistic community, we are going through deeply difficult times, and I hope that this moment of reflection and celebration can fuel and inspire us to return to Broadway stronger, and with true equity and justice for our entire community.”

READ: How to Help Arts Workers During an Unprecedented Era of Theatre

Sonya Tayeh, Best Choreography, Moulin Rouge!
Moulin Rouge! The Musical is made up of one of the hardest working teams I’ve ever been a part of, both on stage and off. It is a show where the craft of dance is celebrated and honored. Our beloved ensemble fires off an electricity that echoes, and I’m so grateful to them. As an Arab-American queer choreographer, it has been an honor to work on a show that celebrates otherness and a freedom for all humanity. Even though unpredictability abounds for the arts in this uncertain time, I am proud to celebrate this year with my fellow nominees. This moment serves as a giant reminder that we’re still here and of just how vital the arts are—as the heartbeat of New York City, and beyond.”

Bess Wohl, Best Play, Grand Horizons
“I am incredibly honored that my work and that of our entire company and crew was recognized, and am deeply grateful to Williamstown Theatre Festival and to Second Stage for producing Grand Horizons. At the same time, my heart is with the countless arts workers who are currently unemployed or have been otherwise devastated by the pandemic. Wear a mask. Vote. And I look forward to when we can all gather together again on Broadway.”

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Tom Kitt

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Tom Kitt, Best Orchestrations, Jagged Little Pill
“This is a huge honor. I share this with my entire Jagged Little Pill family, especially the brilliant Alanis Morissette, and all of the wonderful collaborators who inspired my work. I also want to acknowledge all of the shows that were not able to open, so today I’m thinking of all of the great artists who were supposed to be a part of the 2019-2020 season, and I can’t wait to see all of their beautiful work when Broadway returns.”

Ethan Popp, Best Orchestrations, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
“I’d like to express my profound thanks to the Broadway League, The Tony Awards, and my entire Tina family. We have so many reasons to be thankful and to celebrate our industry and our show through these awards. Seven months after the lights went down on Broadway, however, we need the public’s support more than ever. Hundreds of thousands of actors, musicians, creatives, stage hands, ushers, and more have been furloughed without an indication of when we might return to our beloved jobs. Thousands of small businesses in New York City and across the country that rely on Broadway, touring and regional theatre to bring patrons to their doors have been severely affected or have shut their doors forever. The arts aren’t a ‘luxury’—we’re a cultural necessity that allow creators to inform, entertain, and act as a social barometer in our society. Broadway will be back, for sure—but for now, please reach out to your representatives and let them know you care about the arts and that they should, too. AND VOTE!!”

Laura Linney

Laura Linney

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Laura Linney, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, My Name is Lucy Barton
”I am so proud to be amongst a small handful of great actresses representing the past Broadway season, truncated as it was. Now more than ever, we need to value the power and necessity of the performing arts, especially the theatre, in American Culture. I send my love and thanks to the Tony Committee and everyone involved with My Name is Lucy Barton.”

Robert O’Hara, Best Director of a Play, Slave Play
“I’m honored to be nominated especially for leading a team helmed by black and brown artists. BIPOC voices are vital to the theatre, but also to the ballot box. Please take this opportunity to vote and make sure your voice is heard.”

Carmen Pavlovic (Lead Producer), Best Musical, Moulin Rouge!
Moulin Rouge! The Musical is so grateful to The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing for providing the chance to come together as theatre lovers and theatre creators in this history-making moment. This year’s Tony Award nominees share the most unusual of bonds. At such a difficult time for so many people, including the thousands who make up the industry behind the scenes, we welcome this opportunity to take a moment to celebrate the remarkable achievements of our finest artists. We are humbled by these nominations and honored every day to stand with the Broadway community. We look forward to joining all the nominees to acknowledge our industry’s work and everything Broadway is rebuilding itself to be in the future.”

John Logan, Best Book of a Musical, Moulin Rouge!
“I’m thrilled to be nominated alongside my Moulin Rouge comrades. The show really was a labor of love for us—and until the theatre makes its long awaited and desperately needed return, I’m heartened by all the memories of Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love.”


Danny Burstein

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Danny Burstein, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, Moulin Rouge!
“I’m humbled and honored by this nomination. I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge every member of the Moulin Rouge family; the producers, artistic staff, stagehands, dressers and, of course, the company. I know this nomination is because of them. I’d also like to say that my heart is with every person suffering in any way because of this pandemic. It’s been a hell of a year. Please vote.”

Derek McLane, Best Scenic Design of a Musical and Play, Moulin Rouge! and A Soldier’s Play
“I am so honored and grateful for to be recognized for these two shows Moulin Rouge and Soldier’s Play, both of which have meant so much to me. In the midst of an enormously difficult and painful year, this is a great moment of joy!”

Justin Levine, Best Orchestrations, Moulin Rouge!
“I’m so proud and grateful for my team and the many music makers who helped bring this score to life. I hope this time off we’ve been granted/forced to take is used to make our industry a more just, equitable and inclusive place to create. We as artists and performers can do a lot within our own circles to achieve this and I am committed to being part of the change so many of us wish to see.”

Matt Stine, Best Orchestrations, Moulin Rouge!
“It has been an honor and a joy to work on Moulin Rouge and to be a part of this brilliant music team led by my dear friend Justin Levine. I’m thrilled to be nominated and thrilled that the Tony Awards will go on this year so all of us who work in the theatre have something fun to look forward to this year!”

Katie Kresek, Best Orchestrations, Moulin Rouge!
“I’m so very grateful for the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the work of my colleagues and the life force that is Broadway. Collaboration and unity is at the heart of what we do, and I’m so moved to know we will have this moment to come together during such tumultuous times. I hope this year’s Tonys shines a light on our industry, that has been so devastated by this pandemic, and reminds us all that the arts are essential to New York City and the world.”

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Elizabeth Stanley

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Elizabeth Stanley, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, Jagged Little Pill
“When I began the lab of Jagged Little Pill three years ago—almost to the day—I couldn’t have even dreamt that it would lead to this morning. Cue me today, finally getting cell service at the end of an off-the-grid hike squealing into the Colorado wilderness with joy for the acknowledgment that our show has received (the wildlife was terrified). Thank you, thank you, American Theatre Wing, I am honored.

“Bringing the role of Mary Jane to life has absolutely been the highlight of my career. The entire experience has taken me to the depths of my soul and taught me so much. I am continually in awe of our generous creative team, and I have been humbled each night by my incredible cast mates—every one of whom poured their beautiful hearts in to creating each track with vulnerability and integrity. I am humbled to be telling the messy story of a fierce mother, a fighter, a survivor, and an addict. I’m thrilled that our show has been recognized, and I feel very proud to be a part of a production that is doing what I think art does best: helping us see ourselves and encouraging us to heal—which feels more necessary than ever. Immense gratitude to the many, many people who have shared your personal stories with me as I studied to play this role with respectful accuracy and tenderness.”

Katori Hall, Best Book of a Musical and Best Musical (as a producer), Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
“Being nominated this year is a bittersweet honor. The intermission our industry is experiencing is unprecedented and its impact will undoubtedly be felt for years. But the curtain being down has allowed many to lift the veil on the pervasive and stubborn roots of racism that still infect our nation. In this dark moment, we are plagued by the virus of COVID-19 and the virus of racism. But both Goliaths can be slain. I feel so blessed to have laid my hands on a musical about a woman who slayed—who conquered the Goliaths of domestic abuse and industry-wide sexism and racism. The story of Tina Turner is truly an inspiration for these dark and turbulent times, and I’m so proud of our team for bringing Tina: The Tina Turner Musical to the world.”

Jane Alexander, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play, Grand Horizons
It thrills me that Bess Wohl’s beautiful play was nominated and that I have been recognized for my role in it. This has been an extraordinarily tough time for theatre artists so any chance to celebrate is wonderful. Theatre will never die as long as we have a stage and an audience to watch. Hold tight dear company of players, you’ll be back! Love, Jane.”

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Adrienne Warren

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Adrienne Warren, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
“During this time, I wasn’t sure how to feel about today—then my heart is exploded with pride for our entire show and everyone involved. Thank you to the nominating committee for this recognition! I am truly honored and grateful.”

Kathryn Gallagher, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical, Jagged Little Pill
“I am so proud of our Jagged Little Pill family today and so deeply honored to be included in this group of Tony nominees. This show has taught me so much about what it means to speak up for what’s right and to speak your truth, so to get this nod of celebration amidst such uncertainty is an immense honor and just the inspiration needed to keep working towards a better future for America. See you at the polls!”

Mary-Louise Parker

Mary-Louise Parker

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Mary-Louise Parker, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, The Sound Inside
“At this moment Broadway may be dark longer than it ever has, but I’m praying it’s just waiting for us and I have my own ghost light on and burning bright until those stage doors open again. I’m longing for my theatre family but grateful we have today to connect and that I can celebrate my Sound Inside collaborators as well. Thank you for your faith in us. I can speak for the entire theatre community when I say we cannot wait to tread the boards again.”

Daniel Kluger, Best Sound Design of a Play, Sea Wall/A Life and The Sound Inside, Best Original Score, The Sound Inside
“I’m so surprised and honored by the nominations. It was a huge privilege to be a part of both special productions, Sea Wall/A Life and The Sound Inside. We’re all mourning the loss of live theatre right now, and this is a reminder that our community of artists and workers struggling under the weight of this recession and pandemic. The industry desperately needs support, and I implore us all to elect competent progressive leaders who will fight for working people, a functional government, and a progressive society.”

Alex Timbers, Best Direction of a Musical, Moulin Rouge!
“I’m so excited and honored to be nominated alongside such incredible directors I admire and for Moulin Rouge, a show I love so much. There’s obviously great sadness right now, and the fact that we’re in a period without plays and musicals in New York can feel like an incomparably small part of that. But Moulin Rouge itself is a musical about ‘show people’ and their resilience in times of struggle, and I take inspiration from it every day and the knowledge that Broadway will be back—and that we’ll all be reunited with our own ‘show families.’ It’s wonderful that the American Theatre Wing and Broadway League have made the choice to celebrate the theatre industry and a season that we all felt very lucky to be a part of.”

Clint Ramos, Best Scenic Design of a Play, Slave Play, Best Costume Design of a Play, The Rose Tattoo
“Thank you very much for the nominations and for honoring all the many shows and peers who created joy through their work. May we always remember this is only an intermission. May our desire for a more equitable American theatre reflect the immense love we have for it. In addition: #Vote #BlackLivesMatter #BeAnArtsHero #costumeindustrycoalition #savethecostumeindustry”


Robyn Hurder

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Robyn Hurder, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical, Moulin Rouge!
“The two things I’ve kept repeating this afternoon: ‘This isn’t real. Is this real life?’ When I saw my name appear on the screen, I burst into the most horrific ugly cry and roared like a dying lion. My husband and son latched onto me and we cried. Hard. I am so unbelievably honored to have received this recognition from The Broadway League and American Theatre Wing. I truly was not expecting this at all. I will cherish this day for the rest of my life, and I cannot wait to get back on that beautiful stage at the Hirschfeld and welcome everybody back into our gorgeous underworld, The Moulin Rouge.”

Sahr Ngaujah, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, Moulin Rouge!
“I am overjoyed to be recognized in this way! I hope that my nomination serves to inspire young artists for whom the idea of working in an elite sector of this field seems so far away. It is definitely hard work, and the tireless efforts of thousands of theatre practitioners all over this industry are seldom recognized in such a big way. But these types of awards would never be given out were it not for the daily passion and craftsmanship that so many of our colleagues come to work with every day. We thus inspire each other to do our best work again and again. Until we all meet again to conjure magic in dark theatres and bright rehearsal halls all over this planet, please VOTE!”

Ato Blankson-Wood, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play, Slave Play
“My heart is bursting. This is a literal dream come true and I am honored to be nominated. I am incredibly proud of Slave Play and the work we did and CONTINUE to do to confront America’s relationship to its violent racial history. It’s an exhausting and necessary conversation and as I celebrate this moment, I’m left wondering: How will we keep that conversation moving forward?”

Joaquina Kalukango

Joaquina Kalukango

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Joaquina Kalukango, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, Slave Play
“Thank you to the American Theatre Wing for this honor alongside such an amazing group of Artists, whom I have long admired. With this nomination I would be remiss if I didn’t speak about the support that is so desperately needed for our arts community. So many people lost their livelihoods and I encourage anyone who can to donate to The Actors Fund as well as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. This news lifted my spirits and I hope that we all can lift each other up during this difficult time.”

Lindsay Jones, Best Sound Design of a Play and Best Original Score, Slave Play
“Thank you so much for these nominations, it is truly a dream come true. Throughout my life, I have received so much from the theatre community: love, support, values, empathy, and so much more. Although I could never begin to repay what I have received, I can only ask that everyone who believes in the arts to please reach out to their elected representatives and urge them to immediately pass COVID support measures (such as #SaveOurStagesAct) so that our theatres can continue to thrive and support the artists of the future.”

Jiyoun Chang, Best Lighting Design of a Play, Slave Play
Thank you very much for this nomination. I am so proud to be a part of this production with amazing and passionate artists. While we are celebrating, the arts community is in desperate need of support in this dark time. If you are able, please donate to The Actors Fund. And if you are someone working in the industry in need of support, please visit”

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Jake Gyllenhaal

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Jake Gyllenhaal, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play, Sea Wall/A Life, Best Play (as a producer), Sea Wall/A Life and Slave Play
“I am deeply honored to be nominated today, but also recognize what an uncertain time this is for the theatre world, and the world at large. So I encourage everyone first to VOTE and then, if you can, donate to The Actors Fund in support of the many amazing people who depend on live theater. Being without theatre right now has left a huge void in anyone who cherishes the communal experience of artists coming together to tell a story in front of a live audience. I miss the incredible work of the theatre community and I cannot wait to be back on stage with you all soon!”

Rob Howell, Best Scenic Design of a Play and Best Costume Design of a Play, A Christmas Carol
“I am delighted about this.

A Christmas Carol is a profound contemplation on community, kindness and spirit. With the world as it is at the moment, Dickens’s masterpiece is a timely reminder of what everyone should be reaching for. We are looking forward to remounting it on Broadway in 2021 and also a simultaneous American national tour.

“To have any part of our production of Jack Thorne’s fresh adaptation recognized is incredible, and the entire team are all grateful to the Broadway League and American Theatre Wing, not only for the nominations but also for the herculean efforts in making this year’s awards possible.”

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James Cusati-Moyer

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James Cusati-Moyer, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play, Slave Play
“I am so beyond honored to be nominated amongst such exquisite artists. To be an actor is the greatest gift and responsibility that I have had the privilege of undertaking. We must keep the theatre and storytelling alive to give a voice to the unheard and shed light to the unseen; the arts are a beacon in the darkest of times to guide us and light the way. Please consider donating to The Actors Fund to help those storytellers in need until the curtains rise once again. Use your voice and VOTE. Thank you for acknowledging my work. It is my life’s duty to be one torchbearer amongst the many and mighty community that makes the American Theatre.”

Hugh Vanstone, Best Lighting Design of a Play, A Christmas Carol
“This nomination is particularly poignant for me because my husband George Stiles suffered a stroke last year which meant I could be only partially present to make A Christmas Carol happen. The sheer outpouring of love and support from the Broadway friends I’ve made over the past 20 years was overwhelming and seems to be encompassed by the spirit of Dickens’ story. I owe my indebted gratitude to all the incredibly talented Broadway folk who worked on this show, but in particular Jimmy Fedigan, Randy Zaibek and the team of A-list production electricians who slaved tirelessly to deliver a feat of electrical wizardry wiring some 800 hanging lanterns in the auditorium, programmer Scott Tusing, production manager Ryan Murphy, and last but not least my incredibly talented associates, Craig Stelzenmuller and Sam Waddington, for their genius in creating the Lyceum version of the play. Now, more than ever, we need to celebrate the arts which underpin not just Broadway, but the very fabric of society.

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Diablo Cody

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Diablo Cody, Best Book of a Musical, Jagged Little Pill
“I’m honored to be nominated but I obviously wish the field had not been limited by current circumstances. With that said, I believe in my heart that art can heal; Jagged Little Pill was always intended as a balm in anxious times. I’m pleased that the Tonys are going forward, because I think it’s important to recognize not only the work that has moved us, but the beloved industry so many are determined to protect and resurrect. While the Tonys might not be a traditional celebration this year, I hope the show will be a memorable opportunity to express love for the theatre and demonstrate solidarity.”

Jamie Lloyd, Best Direction of a Play, Betrayal
“I am very grateful for the nominations for our production of Betrayal. Harold Pinter once said: ‘I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory. If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us—the dignity of man.’ These words feel more urgent than ever. Thank you.”

Annie McNamara, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play, Slave Play
“Being a part of this brilliant play‘s journey was an honor. Everyone included is in my heart. Forever. This nomination is good news amidst so much bad. Remember good news? Let’s get some more of that on November 3rd. Vote your heart.”

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Chalia La Tour

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Chalia LaTour, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play, Slave Play
“I am so grateful to be nominated among this amazing collection of artists. As a part of the Slave Play team, I was able to be in the bravest of company to investigate the history of racism and oppression in this country. In the spirit of our work, I encourage all to get to the polls and to support the Black Lives Matter Movement. Both are integral in creating a world that acknowledges and learns from our history rather than repeating it”

Blair Underwood, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play, A Soldier’s Play
“My reaction [to getting the nomination] was shock and excitement. Exhilaration. Somebody asked me a few weeks ago if I was to get nominated, would this season have certain asterisks by it and would that diminish it in any way, and I said ‘absolutely not.’ I think just the opposite. The shows from the 2019-2020 season even being acknowledged this year was up in the air for many months, so it makes it that much sweeter now that the work is seen. And the theatre is gonna come back. Nobody knows when, nobody knows how, and it’s gonna all depend on how people—if people—feel comfortable and confident sitting shoulder to shoulder. But we’re storytellers, and telling stories and using our imagination and exciting people and engaging people is a part of our human experience that is a necessity. We are essential workers, believe it or not, and it’ll come back.”

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David Alan Grier

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David Alan Grier, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play, A Soldier’s Play
“I really was shocked and amazed that the production got so many nominations. It’s just really humbling. I thought about all the guys that I’ve worked with [on A Soldier’s Play], all the actors who are no longer here: Charles Brown, and Adolph Caesar, Larry Riley, that I did the original production or the movie with. I think about them, especially Adolph. I wish he was here today to see what’s been happening since he left us so long ago. I also think about all of the productions that were about to open [when Broadway shut down in March 2020]. I know as a performer how long some of these people and producers have worked on these plays. I’m just glad that we can put a bow on this season and hopefully be back soon. When Broadway shut down, I wondered if [Soldier’s Play] would be my last show, if I’d ever be able to come back, but after I settled down emotionally and looked at the historical context, I know Broadway will be back. You have to have theatre. It’s a communal exercise where you enjoy together, you complain, you laugh, you cry, you congratulate, all that stuff—that’s what theatre is.”

Tom Sturridge, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play, Sea Wall/A Life
“Congratulations to my fellow nominees. I am so proud of everyone involved in this production. The journey from a reading in a windowless back room of The Public to here has been a kind of magic. The best way to celebrate theatre is to support its practitioners in these uncertain times. Please give to The Actors Fund if you can. And no vote matters more than the one on November 3rd.”

Catherine Zuber, Best Costume Design of a Musical, Moulin Rouge!
“During this unprecedented time, I often think about all the theatres of NYC patiently waiting since March 12 for their performers, crew, and audience to bring the energy of live performance back to our beloved city. Moulin Rouge exemplifies an explosion of the celebration of love, of life, of deep friendships, and artistic freedom. With my brilliant team of associates and collaborators, I am so honored to be recognized with this Tony nomination.”

Peter Hylenski, Best Sound Design of a Musical, Moulin Rouge!
“I’m honored to be nominated alongside my Moulin Rouge family. Our shows’ ideals of Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love are something we can continue to strive for, even during the challenges of 2020. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial for us as an industry to support one another, to become leaders of change, and examples of strength and compassion.”

Kenny Leon, Best Director of a Play, A Soldier’s Play
“So honored to be recognized in this way. This gives us fuel to continue to tell everyone’s story on a raised stage in front of the whole community. We stand on the shoulders of Charles Fuller, August Wilson, Ruby Dee, Harry Belafonte and so many others as we continue to build a better Broadway inclusive of all.”

Lois Smith, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play, The Inheritance
“I have a Tony nomination! And for my role in The Inheritance, which I found to be a celebration all the time. A day of good news, not many of those lately. Thank you Tony committee. Now let’s vote, and keep well, and instead of working for Law and Order, which has come to have a frightening meaning. Let’s rename it Justice and Civility and see how much of that we can offer each other. Then we can celebrate.”

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