Six University alumni, faculty members, and guest artists received awards at the 73rd Annual Tony Awards on June 9.
The Tony Award for Best Musical went to Hadestown, produced by faculty member Mara Isaacs and Jordan Roth ’97. Faculty member Rachel Hauck and Lewis Center for the Arts guest artist Jessica Paz won for Best Scenic Design of a Musical and Best Sound Design of a Musical, respectively, for their work on Hadestown. Rodger and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, produced by Roger S. Berlind ’52 and William Berlind ’95, won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.
The Tony Awards are presented annually by the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League to celebrate theatrical excellence on Broadway. The ceremony is broadcast on six continents and features the announcement of awards for outstanding work in twenty-four categories in addition to special awards.
The award recipients are selected by the Tony Awards Administration Committee, made up of ten members appointed by the American Theatre Wing, ten by the Broadway Theatre League, and one each by the Actors’ Equity Association, the Dramatists Guild, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and United Scenic Arts.
The big winner of the night was Hadestown which won a total of eight awards including Best Musical and featured the work of several University alumni, faculty, and guest artists. Isaacs and Jujamycn Theaters, of which Roth is the president, produced the musical inspired by the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.
Isaacs is the founder and Executive/Creative Producer of Octopus Theatricals. She has produced over one hundred productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and around the country and globe in addition to consulting and advising various organizations including Fiasco Theatre, The Civilians, and Baryshnikov Arts Center. As a University faculty member, Isaacs most recently co-taught ENG 282/THR 382: International Theater: Plays and Politics with English professor Tamsen Wolff and taught THR 361: The Art of Producing Theater.
“Anais Mitchell, Rachel Chavkin, the entire creative team of Hadestown had a vision for how the world could be,” said Isaacs in her acceptance speech for the Best Musical award. “If Hadestown stands for anything, it is that change is possible, that in dark times spring will come again.”
Issacs’ fellow Hadestown producer Roth oversees five Broadway theaters as President of Jujamycn Theaters and has produced shows such as Mean Girls, Frozen, and The Book of Mormon. This marks Roth’s fifth production which has won best in its category after Angels in America (2018 Best Revival of a Play), Kinky Boots (2013 Best Musical), Clybourne Park (2012 Best Play), and Hair (2009 Best Revival of a Musical).
Roth graduated from the University summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a concentration in Philosophy and a certificate in Theater before receiving his MBA from Columbia Business School. He continues to be involved with the University and serves on the Lewis Center for the Arts Advisory Council. Roth reflects on his experiences with theater at the University in a Princeton Arts Profile for the Lewis Center for the Arts.
With Jujamycn Theaters, Roth also produced Torch Song which was nominated for the 2019 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.
Hauck won the Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical for her work on Hadestown. Hauck has designed for productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and at regional theaters throughout the United States. At the University, Hauck co-teaches THR 213/MTD 213/VIS 210: Introduction to Set and Costume Design with Sarita Fellows.
“At this incredible time, I could not be more proud to be part of a musical that preaches the power of love and hope and the power of community,” Hauck said in her acceptance speech.
Paz and her associate sound designer Nevin Steinberg were awarded the Tony Award for Best Sound Design of a Musical for their work on Hadestown.
Paz is the first woman to be nominated for a Tony Award in this category.
Paz’s previous sound design credits include Dear Evan Hansen, Bandstand, and many productions with the Public Theater. She contributed her talents to the Lewis Center for the Arts in 2018 as a guest sound designer for the Program in Theater and Music Theater production of Picnic at Hanging Rock and as a design advisor for the Program in Theater and Music Theater production of Next to Normal.
Alexandra Mannix ’12 also contributed to Hadestown as assistant lighting designer to Bradley King who won the Tony Award for Best Lighting Design of a Musical. Mannix has regularly served as a lighting designer on productions for Princeton Summer Theater and the Lewis Center for the Arts, designing over thirty productions as an undergraduate. She graduated with a concentration in Classics.
Oklahoma!, a revamped production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic and winner of the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, also featured the work of University alumni and faculty.
Producers of Oklahoma! include Roger S. Berlind ’52 and William Berlind ’95, who have co-produced productions such as Dear Evan Hansen (2016 Best Musical) and Hello, Dolly! (2017 Best Revival of a Musical).
Since 1976, Roger has produced or co-produced over one hundred productions on Broadway and Off-Broadway, many of which have won Tony Awards, including Amadeus (1981 Best Play), Passion (1994 Best Musical), and Proof (2000 Best Play). He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2009.
Roger lends his name to the Roger S. Berlind ‘52 Professorship of the Humanities currently held by Tracy K. Smith; the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Playwright-in-Residence Fund which has commissioned recent productions such as Gurls by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins ’06 and We Were Everywhere by Joanna Evans, Shariffa Ali, and Avi Amon; and the Roger S. Berlind Theatre in the McCarter Theatre Center.
Roger graduated from the University with a concentration in English, and William graduated from the University with a concentration in Comparative Literature. Roger discusses his time at the University and his life in the theater in a Princeton Arts Profile for the Lewis Center for the Arts.
Past University faculty member Daniel Fish was nominated for Best Direction of a Musical for his work on Oklahoma!.
Other notable University affiliates include Andrea Grody ’11 who served as the music director, musical supervisor, vocal arranger, and incidental arranger for the musical Tootsie which was nominated for Best Score and 2008-2009 Hodder Fellow Tarell McCraney whose play Choir Boy was nominated for Best Play.
The Hodder Fellowship is awarded by the Lewis Center for the Arts to promising artists to provide them the resources and support to pursue significant independent projects at the University over the course of the academic year.
The 73rd Annual Tony Awards were held June 9 at 8 p.m. at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, N.Y.