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Tony Award nominations 2019 announced

‘Hadestown, ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg’ lead the pack



Tony, gay news, Washington Blade
(Blade file photo)

The 2019 Tony Award nominations were unveiled by Brandon Victor Dixon, Bebe Neuwirth and Gayle King on Tuesday.

“Hadestown,” the folk-opera that sets the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice during the Great Depression era, earned the most nominations with 14. “Ain’t Too Proud,” a musical based on the story of The Temptations, came in second with 12 nominations.

“The Prom,” the musical about a teenage girl whose high school refuses to let her take her girlfriend to prom, received seven nominations including Best Musical. Caitlin Kinnunen, who recently came out that she is dating a woman, was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for her role in “The Prom.”

Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song” and “The Boys in the Band” by Matt Crowley were both nominated for Best Revival of a Play.

Out playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, who penned the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” which he also adapted into the Academy Award-winning “Moonlight,” also scored a nomination for Best Play for his play “Choir Boy.”

Actress Judith Light will also be honored with the 2019 Isabelle Stevenson Award for her LGBTQ rights activism and advocacy in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The 73rd annual Tony Awards, hosted by James Corden, will air from Radio City Music Hall in New York City on June 9 on CBS.

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

Best Play
Choir Boy” by Tarell Alvin McCraney
“The Ferryman” by Jez Butterworth
“Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus” by Taylor Mac
“Ink” by James Graham
“What the Constitution Means to Me” by Heidi Schreck

Best Revival of a Musical
“Kiss Me, Kate”
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!”

Best Revival of a Play
Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons”
“The Boys in the Band” by Mart Crowley
“Burn This”
“Torch Song” by Harvey Fierstein
“The Waverly Gallery” by Kenneth Lonergan

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Brooks Ashmanskas- “The Prom”
Derrick Baskin- “Ain’t Too Proud”
Alex Brightman- “Beetlejuice”
Damon Daunno- “Oklahoma!”
Santino Fontana- “Tootsie”

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

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Annette Bening- Arthur Miller’s “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 Book of a Musical
“Ain’t Too Proud”- Dominique Morisseau
“Beetlejuice”- Scott Brown and Anthony King
“Hadestown”- Anaïs Mitchell
“The Prom” – Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin
“Tootsie” -Robert Horn

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater
“Be More Chill” -Joe Iconis
“Beetlejuice” – Eddie Perfect
“Hadestown”- Anaïs Mitchell
“The Prom”- Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin
“To Kill a Mockingbird”- Adam Guettel
“Tootsie” -David Yazbek

Best Direction of a Musical
Rachel Chavkin- “Hadestown”
Scott Ellis- “Tootsie”
Daniel Fish- “Oklahoma!”
Des McAnuff- “Ain’t Too Proud”
Casey Nicholaw- “The Prom”

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 Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Andre De Shields- “Hadestown”
Andy Grotelueschen- “Tootsie”
Patrick Page- “Hadestown”
Jeremy Pope- “Ain’t Too Proud”
Ephraim Sykes- “Ain’t Too Proud”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Lilli Cooper- “Tootsie”
Amber Gray- “Hadestown”
Sarah Stiles- “Tootsie”
Ali Stroker- “Oklahoma!”
Mary Testa- “Oklahoma!”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role 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- Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role 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 Choreography
Camille A. Brown- “Choir Boy”
Warren Carlyle- “Kiss Me, Kate”
Denis Jones- “Tootsie”
David Neumann- “Hadestown”
Sergio Trujillo- “Ain’t Too Proud”

Best Orchestrations
Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose- “Hadestown”
Larry Hochman- “Kiss Me, Kate”
Daniel Kluger- “Oklahoma!”
Simon Hale- “Tootsie”
Harold Wheeler- “Ain’t Too Proud”

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini- “Ain’t Too Proud”
Peter England- “King Kong”
Rachel Hauck- “Hadestown”
Laura Jellinek- “Oklahoma!”
David Korins- “Beetlejuice”

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 Costume Design of a Musical
Michael Krass- “Hadestown”
William Ivey Long- “Beetlejuice”
William Ivey Long- “Tootsie”
Bob Mackie- “The Cher Show”
Paul Tazewell- “Ain’t Too Proud”

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

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski- “Beetlejuice”
Peter Hylenski- “King Kong”
Steve Canyon Kennedy- “Ain’t Too Proud”
Drew Levy- “Oklahoma!”
Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz- “Hadestown”

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

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams- “The Cher Show”
Howell Binkley- “Ain’t Too Proud”
Bradley King- “Hadestown”
Peter Mumford- “King Kong”
Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini- “Beetlejuice”

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”

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PHOTOS: GMCW Holiday Show

Chorus performs at Lincoln Theatre



(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performed its “Holiday Show” at Lincoln Theatre on Saturday. The Chorus has performances on Dec. 11 and 12. For tickets and showtimes, visit

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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PHOTOS: International LGBTQ Leaders Conference opening reception

Politicians and activists from around the world met and mingled at the JW Marriott



Politicians and activists from around the world met and mingled at the JW Marriott. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The LGBTQ Victory Institute held an opening reception for the 2021 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference at the JW Marriott on Thursday.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Meet the husbands and creative partners behind ‘Christmas Angel’

A funny, redemptive world premiere with a diverse cast



Stephen Gregory Smith and Matt Conner with pugs Edgar Allan Pug and Lord Byron.

The Christmas Angel
Dec. 9-19
Creative Cauldron
410 South Maple Avenue
Falls Church, VA 22046
Tickets:  $35. Students $20.
Masks and proof of vaccination are required

“Ours is like a lava lamp,” says composer Matt Conner describing the collaborative creative process he shares with musical writing partner and husband Stephen Gregory Smith. “We move together in motion in a continual ebb and flow.” 

A couple for 23 years, married for eight, and making musicals together for 11, the talented pair’s current offering is “The Christmas Angel,” opening on Dec. 9 at Creative Cauldron in Fairfax. 

A musical adaptation of the same-named 1910 novel by Abbie Farwell Brown, it’s the story of Angelina Terry (Kanysha Williams), a wealthy embittered recluse who learns the lessons of Christmas from a box of old toys that she casts into the street. Also featured in the hour-long one-act are Ryan Sellers as Horton, Angelina’s butler, and Carl Williams who plays her brother. The angel and toys are brought to life by an ensemble of a dozen teens plucked from the company’s musical theater training program. 

Via phone from their home in Arlington, Smith and Conner shared thoughts on their new show and working style. In attendance are pug dogs Edgar Allan Pug and Lord Byron, whom they call Eddie and Byron in public – otherwise “it’s just too much,” says Conner whose ultimate fantasy involves living on a pug farm where he’d write music and present the occasional show.

Rather than finish each other’s sentences, the duo (both Helen Hayes Award winners – Smith for acting and Conner for directing) expound on one another’s thoughts.

While Conner composes the music, Smith writes the book and lyrics, and together they co-direct. “But there’s no end and beginning where my job ends and his begins,” says Smith. “What we do complements each other’s work.”

Still, there are differences. Smith’s approach is focused. He writes pages at night and edits in the morning. Conner’s method is more relaxed, preferring to sit at the keyboard and talk rather than writing things down. But throughout the creative process, there’s never a moment when the project isn’t on their mind. They can be watching TV or buying milk when an exciting idea pops up, says Conner. 

A clever nod to Dickens, the novel is more than just a female “Christmas Carol,” says Smith. And in some spots, he’s beefed up the 55-page book, fleshing out both storyline and characters including the toys whose shabby appearance belies a youthful confidence. 

He adds, “Every holiday season you go to the attic and pull down the box, or boxes in my case, of holiday decorations and it’s all old but it’s new. That’s the nostalgic feeling of toys from the attic that we’re trying to find through the show.”

The music is a combination of traditional carols performed by a hand bell chorus, and original Christmas songs that intentionally sound very familiar. The score includes songs “Don’t Hide Your Light,” “The Sweetest Gift,” and “Yestermore” – the moment when the past, present, and future come together. 

Also, there’s Angelina’s Bah! Humbug! number “Fiddlesticks,” her great renunciation of the holidays. She believes the world a disappointing place to be, and the sooner realized the better. 

Conner and Smith aren’t new to Creative Cauldron. Through the company’s Bold New Works project, the team was commissioned to write five world premiere musicals in just five years. The result was “The Turn of the Screw,” “Monsters of the Villa Diodati,” “Kaleidoscope,” “Witch” and “On Air.”

Judging from some of the titles and their slightly macabre content, it seems the duo was better poised to write for Halloween than Christmas, but nonetheless, they were commissioned. Creative Cauldron’s producing director Laura Connors Hull brought them the obscure yet charming book that surprisingly had never before been reworked for stage or celluloid, and the pair got to work last spring. 

Conner and Smith agree, “The show is a lot of things rolled up into one.”

Not only is it a funny, redemptive world premiere with a diverse cast, but it’s also a story largely unknown to today’s audiences. Additionally, the show boasts intergenerational appeal while holding messages about Christmas, family, and finding light when you’re in a darker place. 

More information about Conner and Smith, including links to their music and popular podcast “The Conner & Smith Show,” can be found on their terrific website at   

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