Tony Nominations Stacked with Columbia Alumni and Faculty

BY Robbie Armstrong, October 15, 2020

The American Theatre Wing announced the 74th Annual Tony Award nominations today, which include many Columbia faculty, alumni, and students. In total, 24 Columbia artists worked on 12 Tony Award nominated productions, earning a collective total of 93 nominations at the 2020 Tony Awards.


Directing alumna Diane Paulus ’97 is nominated for Best Direction of a Musical for Jagged Little Pill which marks her 4th nomination in this category. Paulus previously won the Tony Award for her direction of Pippin in 2013. Her colleague and fellow Tony winner, Columbia College alumnus, Tom Kitt '99 (CC) is nominated for Best Orchestrations for Jagged Little Pill. Directing alumnus and Adjunct Professor Robert O’Hara ’96 is nominated for Best Direction of a Play for Slave Play marking his first Tony Award nomination. O’Hara’s Slave Play makes history with 12 Tony Award nominations, the most nominations ever for a play.


All of the Tony nominated musicals this year featured Columbia artists. Jagged Little Pill leads the pack with 15 nominations with Paulus at the helm. Moulin Rouge! earned 14 Tony nominations and features Professor Michael Passaro as Production Stage Manager, alumna Lynn Spector ’15 as Script Supervisor, and Stage Management students Hadley Armstrong and Robbie Armstrong as Stage Management Interns. Adjunct Professor Chris Boneau is the publicist for Moulin Rouge! the musical. Tina: The Tina Turner Musical earned 12 Tony nominations and features alumnae Rachel Zucker ’17 and Jessica Emmanus ’19 as Stage Manager and Production Assistant respectively.


New plays on Broadway were stacked with Columbia alumni and faculty. Slave Play is the most nominated play of the season with 12 nominations, including Best Play, and O’Hara’s directorial leadership. Adjunct Assistant Professor Leigh Silverman directed the Tony nominated Grand Horizons and Adjunct Assistant Professor Dan Hoffman serves as the Head Carpenter on the Best Play nomination, The Sound Inside. Adjunct Assistant Professor Peter Lawrence and alumna Kate Croasdale ’12 stage managed the Tony nominated production Sea Wall/A Life starring Columbia College non-degree alumnus and 2020 Tony nominee Jake Gyllenhaal '02 while directing alumnus Rory McGreggor ’17 associate directed the show. Davd Manella '18, who graduated from the joint JD/MFA in Theatre Management and Producing Program was a co-producer on both Slave Play and Sea Wall/A Life. Adjunct Professor Barry Grove produced My Name is Lucy Barton. Alumna Jennifer Ainsworth ’14 along with her company Invisible Wall Productions and Alumnus Jamie Forshaw ’09 along with his company Madison Wells Media, served as co-producers for the 11-time nominated play, The Inheritance.


Play revivals also feature Columbia artists among 3 of the revived productions. Writing alumnus Christopher Wolfe ’18 consulted the Broadway production of A Soldier's Play contributing to the 7-time Tony nominated play. Adjunct Assistant Professor Diane DiVita stage managed the Tony nominated Betrayal. Adjunct Assistant Professor and Writing alumnus Ryan Murphy '04 served as the Production Manager for the new 5-time Tony nominated adaptation of A Christmas Carol, with Joan Wyatt ’17 as Stage Manager.


The 74th Annual Tony Awards have not yet announced a date for the virtual awards ceremony. There are about 800 Tony voters, including Adjunct Assistant Professor Lisa Dawn Cave and other industry leaders. Tony voters will now begin voting on the nominees and selecting winners for the upcoming 2020 Tony Awards ceremony.