Columbia Faculty and Alumni Nominated for 2022 Tony Awards: Several Projects Take Home Awards

Angeline Dimambro
June 13, 2022

Update: June 13, 2022

Several projects worked on by Columbia Theatre artists took home prizes at last night's 75th annual Tony Awards Ceremony. 

A Strange Loop, an envelope-pushing production about Blackness and Queerness produced by alumna and Dean's Council Member Barbara Whitman '05, took home the awards for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical. 

MJ: The Musical, written by Associate Professor Lynn Nottage, also had a spectacular night, taking home awards for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, Best Sound Design of a Musical, and Best Choreography. 

Last but not least, Joaquina Kalukango, who stars in Paradise Square—a show which boasts two Columbia alumni, Robbie Armstrong '21 and Lynn Spector '15, on the creative team—was awarded Best Leading Actress in a Musical. 

Read more about these award winning shows below, and see a full list of Tony Award winners here

Original: May 13, 2022

The nominees of the 75th annual Tony Awards have been announced and several projects worked on by Columbia Theatre artists are among the honorees.

Nominated across 10 different categories, including Best New Musical and Best Direction, is MJ, the new jukebox musical written by Associate Professor Lynn Nottage that tells the story of Michael Jackson. Nottage herself is also nominated in the category of Best Book of a Musical for her work on the project. MJ goes beyond the singular moves and signature sound of Michael Jackson, offering a rare look at the creative mind and collaborative spirit that catapulted him into legendary status. Find tickets for MJ here.

Nottage’s play Clyde’s also received five Tony Award nominations, including Best New Play. In Clyde’s, audiences will find a truck stop sandwich shop that offers its formerly incarcerated kitchen staff a shot at reclaiming their lives. Even as the shop’s callous owner tries to keep them under her thumb, the staff members are given purpose and permission to dream by their shared quest to create the perfect sandwich.

Adjunct Associate Professor Michael Korie is nominated for Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre. Korie penned the lyrics for Flying Over Sunset, with original music scored by Tom Kitt. Flying Over Sunset, which had its final performance on January 16, 2022, is set in 1950s Hollywood and follows cultural icons Cary Grant, Clare Boothe Luce, and Aldous Huxley on a transformative LSD trip into the most colorful corners of the human psyche. The musical is nominated for a total of four Tony Awards.

Also nominated for Best New Musical is A Strange Loop, produced by alumna and Dean’s Council Member Barbara Whitman ’05. The musical, which is nominated for a total of 11 Tony Awards, is Michael R. Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize–winning, blisteringly funny masterwork that exposes the heart and soul of a young artist grappling with desires, identity, and instincts he both loves and loathes. Tickets are available here.

Alumni Lynn Spector ’15 and Robbie Armstrong ’21 are part of the creative team behind Paradise Square. The musical is nominated for 10 Tony Awards, including Best New Musical. Armstrong, who studied Stage Management at Columbia, is working behind the scenes as a Stage Management Production Assistant, while Spector, who graduated with an MFA in Dramaturgy, oversees writing as a script supervisor. The musical dramatizes an overlooked moment in the history of New York City. Paradise Square follows the Black and Irish denizens of a neighborhood watering hole, who live and love together in the build up to President Lincoln’s first Federal Draft to support the Union Army—an incident that would incite the deadly New York Draft Riots of July 1863 and undo the burgeoning community of the Five Points slum. Find ticket information here.

You can read through the complete list of nominees here

Tune into the ceremony for the 2022 Tony Awards on June 12, 2022 on CBS and Paramount+.