The Tonys are live this Sunday at 8 pm on CBS, and though this isn’t a landmark year for nominees of color, there are still some top tier contenders in the major categories, thanks to the revival of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, which is up for a total of ten Tonys. As we mentioned last week, Broadway vet Audra McDonald is up for her fifth Tony this year for her role as Bess. This is her seventh nomination. Her costar Norm Lewis is up for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for Porgy, while David Alan Grier is a contender for his role as Sporting Life.
The Porgy and Bess crew aren’t the only black nominees this year. Distinguished character actor James Earl Jones is up for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for his work in the political drama, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man. Ghost the Musical co-star Da’Vine Joy Randolph is up for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for playing the role Whoopi Goldberg originated on the silver screen, Oda Mae Brown.
Finally, newcomer Condola Rashad, daughter of the exquisite TV and theatre actress Phylicia Rashad and sportscaster Ahmad Rashad, is up for her supporting role in the Alicia Keys-produced Stick Fly. Though the play got mixed reviews overall, Rashad’s performance was unanimously praised. Not only is this her first Tony nomination, this role was also her Broadway debut. Buzz is high for Rashad, but she’s up against a few heavy-hitters (everyone else in her category is a previous nominee, including veteran stage and screen actress Judith Light). It would be quite the coup if she wrested the Tony from the competition.
While you wait for the Sunday broadcast, here are a few clips of the performers in their nominated roles:
1. The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
This promo provides a few snippets of the show’s big moments from McDonald, Lewis, and Grier:
2. James Earl Jones in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man
Jones’ performance comes in around the 1:43 mark:
3. Da’Vine Joy Randolph
This isn’t actual footage from Ghost the Musical, but it’s a great introduction to the actress who plays the scene-stealing Oda Mae Brown:
4. Condola Rashad in Stick Fly
Rashad’s actual “For Your Consideration” reel for the Tonys is available on Vimeo. There’s 17 minutes in total, but just the first scene or two are a fine showcase of her ability:
Who are your favorites to win this year? Have you seen any of the nominated plays? Do you intend to watch the Tonys this year?