At the 76th Tony Awards in New York, two of the top four awards went to a Jewish-themed production—“Leopoldstadt” (Best Play), and “Parade” (Best Revival of a Musical). Both were nominated for six Tonys.
“Leopoldstadt” takes place over the course of the first half of the 20th century in a Jewish neighborhood in Vienna. It’s an autobiographical story of multiple generations of the Austrian family of playwright Tom Stoppard as they faced religious persecution in Europe.
“Parade” is a musical about the real-life trial of Leopold Frank, a Jewish businessman accused of the rape and murder of a teenage girl in 1913 in Atlanta. With themes of antisemitism, racism and corruption, “Parade” originally premiered on Broadway in 1998. Jewish actor Ben Platt received a Tony nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for his role as Frank.
In total, “Leopoldstadt” took home four Tonys, including Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play (Brandon Uranowitz), Best Direction of a Play (Patrick Marber) and Best Costume Design of a Play (Brigitte Reiffenstuel). “Parade” won two Tonys, including Best Direction of a Musical (Michael Arden).
Actor Sean Hayes won Best Performance By a Leading Actor in a Play for his starring role as Oscar Levant in “Good Night, Oscar.” Levant was the son of Orthodox Jewish parents and grew up to be a pianist, composer, television personality and comedian. He starred in some of the biggest films of the Golden Age of Film, including “An American in Paris” and “Rhapsody in Blue.” “Good Night, Oscar” is based on a real event when Levant appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jack Parr” in 1958.
Jewish actor Joel Grey, 91, won a Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by his daughter, Jennifer Grey.
“Being recognized by the theater community is such a gift because it’s always been, next to my children, my greatest, most enduring love,” the Cabaret actor said in his acceptance speech.
John Kander, 96, the Jewish “Cabaret” and “Chicago” composer, also won a lifetime achievement award. Unfortunately, the Lifetime Achievement Awards presentations were relegated to the Tony Awards pre-show on the Pluto TV streaming service. The two winners only made a brief non-speaking appearance on the CBS telecast.
The ceremony took place at the United Palace in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. It was hosted by actress Ariana DeBose. Musical “Kimberly Akimbo” won the most awards, with five total, including Best Musical. The Pulitzer-Prize-winning play “Topdog/Underdog” won the award for Best Play Revival.
Below are the Jewish winners at the 76th Tony Awards:
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY: Brandon Uranowitz as Ludwig Jakobovicz/Nathan Fischbein, “Leopoldstadt”
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY: Miriam Silverman as Mavis Parodus Bryson, “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window”
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATER: Jeanine Tesori (music), “Kimberly Akimbo”
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL: Beowulf Boritt, “New York, New York”
BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL: Nevin Steinberg, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”
BEST ORCHESTRATIONS: Charlie Rosen, “Some Like It Hot”
Originally published by the Jewish Journal.