On Tuesday, May 1, The American Theatre Wing announced the nominees for the 2012 Tony Awards, and Hartt graduates are among the honorees. The American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards, named for the late Antoinette Perry – an actress, director, producer, and the dynamic wartime leader of the American Theatre Wing – got their start in 1947 when the Wing established an awards program to celebrate excellence in the theatre.
Hartt graduate Phillip Boykin '95 has been nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for his startling portrayal of Crown in the acclaimed Broadway production of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. Visit www.broadwaysbestshows.com/spotlight/64 to learn more about Boykin and read an interview with him from last fall, prior to the show's Broadway premiere.
Hartt alumnus Christopher Jahnke, along with collaborating orchestrator William David Brohn, has been nominated for Best Orchestrations, also for The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. Since 2006, Jahnke also has been involved with Broadway productions of Memphis, Cry-Baby, Grease, Legally Blonde, and Les Misérables.
The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess is the "classic American tale is set in the 1930s in Catfish Row, a neighborhood in Charleston, South Carolina. Bess (multiple Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, also nominated for this production), beautiful and troubled, turns to Porgy (Norm Lewis, also nominated for this production), a crippled beggar, in search of safety after her possessive lover, Crown (Boykin), commits murder. As Porgy and Bess's love grows, their future is threatened by Crown and the conniving Sporting Life. The Gershwin score includes "Summertime," "Bess, You Is My Woman," "It Ain't Necessarily So," and "I Loves You, Porgy." To learn more about the show, visit www.porgyandbessonbroadway.com.
Hartt graduate Orin Wolf '01 is a producer of the Broadway musical Once, which received 11 Tony nominations, more than any other production this year. Wolf is Producer with Off the Aisle Productions, LLC, and President/Owner of Off-Broadway Booking.
The Tony web site describes Once: "On the streets of Dublin, an Irish musician (Guy) and a Czech immigrant (Girl) are drawn together by their shared love of music. Over the course of one fateful week, an unexpected friendship and collaboration quickly evolves into a powerful but complicated love story, underscored by emotionally charged music. This new musical is based on the 2007 Academy Award-winning film of the same title." To learn more about Once, visit www.oncemusical.com.
The Tony Awards will be broadcast live on Sunday, June 10, beginning at 8:00 PM on CBS. Neil Patrick Harris returns as host. To see the announcements online, visit www.tonyawards.com/en_US/index.html. For a list of all this year's nominees, visit www.tonyawards.com/en_US/nominees/index.html.
The Hartt School is the comprehensive performing arts school of the University of Hartford that offers innovative degree programs in music, dance, and theatre. Founded in 1920, Hartt has been an integral part of the University of Hartford since its charter merged the then Hartt School of Music, the Hartford Art School, and Hillyer College to create the University in 1957. 2010 markEd Hartt's 90th year of providing world class performing arts education to students in Greater-Hartford and around the world. With more than 400 concerts, recitals, plays, master classes, dance performances, and musical theatre productions a year, performance is central to Hartt's curriculum. For more information about The Hartt School, visit www.hartford.edu/hartt.