Discover the West End shows nominated for Tony Awards
The 75th annual Tony Awards are nearly upon us! This Sunday, Broadway’s brightest stars will gather to celebrate the industry’s hottest shows – and the ceremony is back at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. The 2022 Tony Award nominations are led by musical A Strange Loop, which may well add to its trophy haul: the show already has a Pulitzer Prize. But this is also a year where the Tony noms are teeming with West End shows.
There’s a long tradition of British productions heading over the pond (and vice versa), with London’s finest often doing well at Broadway’s biggest prize ceremony. Previous West End Tony winners include Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Matilda the Musical, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, The Inheritance, Angels in America, The Ferryman, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, A Christmas Carol, One Man, Two Guvnors, War Horse, Jerusalem, The Audience, Network, The Father, Wolf Hall — and many more!
The 2022 Tonys may well be another banner year for British talent, with numerous productions nominated. Even better, you can still catch some of these fantastic plays and musicals on Broadway (and, in some cases, in the West End too) if you haven’t seen them yet. So, here’s our definitive guide to West End shows nominated at the 75th Tony Awards.
There’s No Way that this royally fantastic production was going to miss out! The mega-hit musical began life as an Edinburgh Fringe show back in 2017 – written by two university students, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss – and has since become an international phenomenon. The queens are currently ruling both the West End and Broadway, as well as touring, and they’ve also been getting down in Australia and New Zealand.
The West End production picked up five nominations at the 2019 Olivier Awards. Can the show fare even better at the Tonys? It’s got a whopping eight noms: for Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, and for its score, costumes, orchestrations, choreography, lighting and sound. It looks like all those Tony voters wanna do is show their love (although sadly the cast themselves weren’t nominated – the Tonys really do need an ensemble category!). But you’d need a heart of stone not to award the show at least one gong. Read a Six review on New York Theatre Guide.
Six won two Tony Awards: Best Original Score, and Best Costume Design of a Musical.
Book Six tickets on London Theatre.
The Lehman Trilogy
This extraordinary production covers 164 years of history and around 70 characters – but with just three actors on stage the whole time. Ben Power’s riveting version of Stefano Massini’s epic play, directed with thrilling creativity by Sam Mendes, was a huge smash first at London’s National Theatre and then in the West End. It tells the story of the immigrant Lehman brothers, who came to America in the mid 19th century and built up their famous investment firm, only to see it collapse in disastrous fashion in 2008.
Of course, this study of capitalism, family, faith and America itself was a natural Broadway transfer. Original cast members Simon Russell Beale and Adam Godley came over with The Lehman Trilogy, while Adrian Lester succeeded Ben Miles. As with the Oliviers, all three have been nominated for Best Actor at the Tony Awards, and the production is also nominated for Best Play, Mendes’ direction, and the brilliant design, lighting and sound. Read a The Lehman Trilogy review on New York Theatre Guide.
The Lehman Trilogy won five Tony Awards: Best Play, Best Actor in a Play (Simon Russell Beale), Best Direction of a Play (Sam Mendes), Best Scenic Design of a Play (Es Devlin), and Best Lighting Design of a Play (Jon Clark).
Marianne Elliott’s inspired, gender-swapped Sondheim revival took the West End by storm. Of course it made absolute sense that the 35-year-old protagonist should be female (Bobby becoming Bobbie), adding a biological clock to the social pressure to couple up. Changes elsewhere in the cast added to the show’s 21st-century potency as well – like making Amy, the panicking bride, a gay man called Jamie instead.
The show rightly scored four Olivier Awards in 2019: Best Musical Revival, Patti LuPone and Jonathan Bailey winning for their supporting roles, and Bunny Christie for her eye-popping, Alice in Wonderland-riffing set design. The Broadway production is now up for nine Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical, Elliott for her direction, Christie for design, and, for their featured acting roles, Matt Doyle, Jennifer Simard and LuPone – who might well do the double. Everybody rise! Read a Company review on New York Theatre Guide.
Company won five Tony Awards: Best Revival of a Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Matt Doyle), Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (Patti LuPone), Best Direction of a Musical (Marianne Elliott), and Best Scenic Design of a Musical (for Bunny Christie).
Caroline, or Change
Jeanine Tesori and Tony Kushner’s profound but somewhat overlooked musical was reborn in riveting fashion in Daniel Evans’ stirring revival, which began at the Chichester Festival Theatre and became a West End hit – with the mighty Sharon D Clarke in the lead role of Caroline, an African-American maid for a Jewish family in 1960s Louisiana. The production picked up three Olivier Award nominations in 2019, and Clarke rightly won for Best Actress.
Caroline, or Change has only become more powerful and resonant in recent years, due to growing racial tensions and protest movements like Black Lives Matter, and Clarke is still the thunderous soul of the piece in the Broadway production. She is up for Best Actress again in the 2022 Tony Awards, and the show is also nominated for Best Revival of a Musical and for its costumes, designed by Fly Davis. Read a Caroline, or Change review on New York Theatre Guide.
Martin McDonagh’s gripping pitch-black comedy also takes us back to the Sixties – although in his case it’s to introduce pub landlord and the second-best hangman in England, Harry Wade, whose latter career is about to become extinct. But the entrance of a mysterious stranger gives him a whole new problem to contend with. This acclaimed play was a hit for London’s Royal Court and in the West End, winning Olivier Awards in 2016 for Best New Play and for Anna Fleischle’s unforgettable set design.
Hangmen opened on Broadway in 2020 just before Covid struck, and finally returned in 2022 with a few changes to its cast – including Game of Thrones star Alfie Allen taking over from Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens. Allen is up for a Tony Award as a featured actor, as is David Threlfall for his lead performance as Harry Wade, plus the show has nominations for Best Play and its lighting and set design. Read a Hangmen review on New York Theatre Guide.
Girl from the North Country
Conor McPherson’s sublime use of Bob Dylan’s songs in Girl from the North Country is simply spine-tingling – one great artist connecting with another. The resulting musical, which premiered at London’s Old Vic, is set at a rundown guesthouse in Minnesota during the Great Depression and brings together a disparate group. That includes proprietor Nick and his wife Elizabeth, who suffers from dementia, their pregnant adopted daughter Marianne, a boxer, a Bible salesman, and a family with a secret.
Olivier voters certainly made the West End production feel their love. It was up for five Oliviers and won two: Shirley Henderson for her portrayal of Elizabeth (including a spellbinding rendition of “Like a Rolling Stone”), and Sheila Atim for playing Marianne. The Broadway production could do even better.
It’s up for seven awards at the 2022 Tonys, including Best Musical, McPherson nominated for his direction and book, Mare Winningham and Jeanette Bayardelle for their performances, plus sound and orchestrations. Read a Girl from the North Country review on New York Theatre Guide.
The Girl from the North Country won a Tony Award for Best Orchestrations (for Simon Hale).
Photo credit: Six, The lehman Trilogy, and Company on Broadway (Photos courtesy of productions)
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