Nine NYU alumni won Tony Awards last night, a recognition of artistic excellence during a theater season rocked by the coronavirus pandemic. The long-delayed awards, presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, were held at the Winter Garden Theater on Sunday, September 27, 2021. 

This year, 18 shows that opened before February 19, 2020 were considered eligible for the 74th annual Tony Awards, which recognizes achievement in Broadway productions during the 2019-2020 season. The season was cut abruptly short on March 12, 2020 when the coronavirus forced all 31 plays and musicals running on Broadway to close their curtains until shows were able to reopen in August 2021.

Tony Award

Courtesy of the American Theatre Wing

Alumni winners came from the Tisch School of the Arts; the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development; the Stern School of Business; Washington Square College; and the School of Law.

Of the four new musicals, 10 new plays, and four play revivals that were eligible, Jagged Little Pill and Moulin Rouge! The Musical nabbed the highest number of nominations, with 15 and 14 respectively. Lauren Patten (TSOA) earned a nomination for her portrayal of Jo in Jagged Little Pill, the rock musical based on Alanis Morisette’s 1995 studio album of the same name, with Bellanca Smigel Rutter (GAL '80) gaining recognition in the Best Musical category for producing the show. Hunter Arnold (STERN '13) worked as a co-producer on Moulin Rouge! The Musical, the theatrical reinvention of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 movie musical, which was also nominated for Best Musical. Arnold has producer credits on three additional nominated shows.

NYU faculty and alumni were also nominated for excellence in design, with  Allen Lee Hughes (TSOA '79), associate arts professor in Tisch’s Department of Design for Stage and Film, nominated for Best Lighting Design for A Soldier’s Play, and Clint Ramos (TSOA '97) earning a nod for Best Costume Design for The Rose Tattoo.

NYU is consistently among the most represented schools on Broadway, with numerous alumni starring in shows and working behind the scenes. Throughout the extended theater shutdown—the longest in New York City history—NYU faculty served as a crucial source of expertise, breaking down the widespread impact of the coronavirus pandemic from multiple perspectives, and working to make Broadway more equitable and inclusive through developing industry-wide standards in collaboration with key stakeholders. 

Now in their 74th year, the American Theatre Wing’s Annual Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards® honor excellence on Broadway in 26 competitive categories. The nominees are selected by a rotating group of approximately 50 theatre professionals appointed by the Tony Awards Administration Committee. Tony Award winners are selected by 778 designated Tony voters composed of producers, performers, and other industry professionals.

NYU's 2021 Tony-award winners are:

Best Orchestration

  • Justin Levine (TSOA '07), Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Musical

  • Hunter Arnold (STERN '13), Producer, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Play

  • Hunter Arnold (STERN '13), Producer, The Inheritance
  • Kayla Greenspan (STEINHARDT '12), Producer, The Inheritance
  • Tom Kirdahy (WSC '85, LAW '88), Producer, The Inheritance
  • Mark Lee (TSOA '84), Producer, The Inheritance
  • Adam Zell (TSOA '16), Producer, The Inheritance
  • Steven Silva (WSC '87), Producer, The Inheritance
  • Shanna Silva (WSC '92), Producer, The Inheritance

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

  • Lauren Patten (TSOA), Jagged Little Pill