AND THE TONY NOMINEES ARE…

After a long, 15 months of darkness, the lights of Broadway are shining bright, once again. And tonight, Broadway’s biggest night is back. We’ll tell you which nominees for the 75th Annual Tony Awards are favored to win with editor in chief of Broadway.com, Paul Wontorek.

Here is a complete list of the 75th Annual Tony Awards nominees.

TRANSCRIPT

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS,' I'M JACK FORD.

AFTER A LONG 15 MONTHS OF DARKNESS, THE LIGHTS OF BROADWAY ARE SHINING BRIGHT ONCE AGAIN.

NOW, BROADWAY'S BIGGEST AWARD SHOW IS ALSO RETURNING TO HONOR THE PERFORMERS AND THE CREW MEMBERS WHO BROUGHT THE THEATER BACK TO LIFE.

THE 75th ANNUAL TONY AWARDS WILL TAKE PLACE AT RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL IN JUNE.

AND WILL BE HOSTED BY AWARD-WINNING ACTRESS ARIANA DuBOSE.

THEY WILL BE THE FIRST TONYS TO HONOR THE SHOWS THAT OPENED AND REOPENED FOLLOWING THE INDUSTRY SHUTDOWN CAUSED BID THE PANDEMIC.

THE NOMINEES FOR THE AWARDS WERE JUST ANNOUNCED WITH A STRANGE LOOP LEADING THE PACK, RECEIVING 11 NOMINATIONS INCLUDING BEST NEW MUSICAL.

SO, NOW TO BREAK DOWN THIS YEAR'S TONY NOMINATIONS AND PROVIDE ALSO AN UPDATE ON HOW THE PANDEMIC IS STILL IMPACTING BROADWAY, WE'RE JOINED BY THE EDITOR IN CHIEF OF BROADWAY.COM, PAUL WONTOREK.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

YOU DO SUCH A WONDERFUL JOB OF CHRONICLING BROADWAY AND IT'S ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO TALK TO YOU, GET YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT ALL OF THIS.

SO, LET'S START OUT WITH THE TIME FRAME INVOLVED HERE, BECAUSE, AGAIN, FOLLOWING THE PANDEMIC, SO MUCH IS DIFFERENT HERE.

GIVE US A SENSE OF WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IN TERMS OF THE TIME FRAME FOR THESE NOMINEES.

WELL, SO, THIS IS AS CLOSE TO NORMAL AS WE'VE GOTTEN WITH THE TONY AWARDS IN AWHILE, SO, WE ALL APPRECIATE THAT.

BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, SO -- SOME OF THE SHOWS THAT ARE ELIGIBLE THAT WERE ELIGIBLE FOR THIS YEAR'S ACTUALLY OPENED RIGHT BEFORE THE PANDEMIC, LIKE, GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY, THE BOB DYLAN MUSICAL, AND HAD TO WAIT TO BE ELIGIBLE UNTIL NOW, SO, IT'S SUCH AN INTERESTING YEAR, BECAUSE WE HAD THE 2020 TONY AWARDS IN THE FALL OF 2021, A VERY STRANGE SITUATION, BECAUSE THE NOMINEES HAD TO WAIT UNTIL A YEAR TO FIND OUT IF THEY WON.

SO, THIS IS MOSTLY NORMAL, AND WE'RE VERY HAPPY TO HAVE THAT, BECAUSE IT IS MOSTLY SHOWS THAT HAVE OPENED SINCE BROADWAY REOPENED AND -- A COUPLE STRAGGLERS FROM BEFORE AND IT'S PRETTY MUCH A NORMAL BROADWAY SEASON.

AND WE WILL EMBRACE THE CONCEPT OF MOSTLY NORMAL.

EXACTLY I.

I'LL TAKE IT.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE CATEGORIES HERE.

I MENTIONED FOR BEST NEW MUSICAL AND IT'S INTERESTING, I THINK, BECAUSE THERE'S ALMOST SORT OF TWO CATEGORIES.

THERE'S WHO RECEIVED NOMINATIONS, WHICH IS A BIG DEAL TO BE NOMINATED, AND ULTIMATELY, WELL, WHO WON.

SO, LET'S FOCUS ON WHO RECEIVED THE NOMINATIONS HERE AND TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE BEST NEW MUSICAL, WHICH IS USUALLY -- NOT TO DIMINISH ANYTHING ELSE, BUT USUALLY THAT GETS THE TOP BILLING, IF YOU WILL, HERE.

TALK ABOUT THOSE NOMINEES, IF YOU WILL.

WELL, SO, THE BIG STORY IS A STRANGE LOOP.

AND I DON'T THINK ANYONE THAT FOLLOWS THEATER IS REALLY SURPRISED BY ALL OF THIS LOVE FOR IT.

IT'S A PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING SHOW.

IT WON AT THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC.

IT WAS OFF BROADWAY AND IT WAS A SORT OF A SLOW BUILD TO BROADWAY.

WE ALL SAW IT COMING.

IT IS A VERY PERSONAL WORK BY MICHAEL R. JACKSON, A VERY EXCITING, YOUNG WRITER, I MEAN, HE'S IN HIS EARLY 40s, I BELIEVE, BUT HE'S TELLING THE STORY OF -- IT'S A BLACK QUEER MUSICAL, IT'S HIS OWN STORY FROM WHEN HE WAS IN HIS 20s.

HE WOULD TELL YOU IT'S SLIGHTLY ALL BIOGRAPHICAL, BUT IT'S BASICALLY ABOUT A GUY THAT IS AN USHER AT 'THE LION KING' WHO STARTS WRITING A MUSICAL ABOUT AN USHER AT 'THE LION KING' ON BROADWAY.

SO, IT'S VERY PERSONAL.

IT'S KIND OF ADULT.

IT'S VERY RAW.

IT'S VERY REAL.

AND IT GOT -- IT GOT THE CRITICS REALLY EXCITED AND IT'S -- IT'S JUST A REALLY FRESH, YOUNG VOICE.

I ALSO LOVE THE FACT THAT WE HAVE M.J., A MICHAEL JACKSON MUSICAL AND WE HAVE A STRANGE LOOP, WHICH IS WRITTEN BY MIKE JACKSON.

M.J. HAS GOT TEN NOMINATIONS AND SO DID PARADISE SQUARE, SO, STRANGE LOOP GOT 11.

M.J., YOU KNOW, A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE SORT OFNER VOUS ABOUT BRINGING MICHAEL JACKSON'S STORY TO BROADWAY AND HOW WE WOULD TELL THAT STORY, HIS TROUBLES ARE MORE HINTED AT THAN DEALT WITH, IT'S A VERY SPECIFIC PERIOD OF HIS LIFE.

SO, THIS IS NOT A TRUE BIOGRAPHY OF MICHAEL JACKSON.

NO, IT HAS ELEMENTS OF HIS STORY, YOU KNOW, THERE'S TALK ABOUT SORT OF THE GOSSIP ABOUT HIM WITHIN THE SHOW, BUT IT'S REALLY A CELEBRATION OF HIS MUSIC.

AMAZING MUSIC AND CHOREOGRAPHY BY CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON.

VERY EXCITING CRAY TOIR.

AND SO THAT -- IT'S INTERESTING THAT MICHAEL R. JACKSON IS UP AGAINST MICHAEL JACKSON.

AND PARADISE SQUARE IS THIS BIG MUSICAL THAT I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED, IT HAD A REALLY BIG SHOWING WITH TEN NOMINATIONS.

IT'S A MUSICAL THAT HAS BEEN IN DEVELOPMENT FOR A LONG TIME, IT'S ABOUT FIVE CORNERS, IT'S ABOUT THE IRISH AND THE BLACKS AND THAT PIECE OF NEW YORK HISTORY.

THAT DID VERY WELL AND IT'S UP AGAINST SIXTH, THE MUSICAL, WHICH IS A HUGE HIT.

AND HONESTLY, COULD BE KIND OF LIKE THE EASY FRONT-RUNNER, I MEAN, HONESTLY, IT HAS A LOT OF FUNS, IT'S SLIGHTLY MORE CLOSER TO A POP CONCERT THAN A TRADITIONAL MUSICAL ABOUT THE EX-WIVES OF HENRY VIII.

AND MR. SATURDAY NIGHT AND GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY.

BILLY CRYSTAL DOING THIS VERY PERSONAL -- HE DID THIS MOVIE IN THE '90s, WHICH WAS SO FUNNY, BECAUSE IT WAS ABOUT AN AGING CAT SKILLS PERFORMER, SO, AT THE TIME, BILLY CRYSTAL WAS MOSTLY THE YOUNGER VERSION AND THEN HE PUT ON OLD AGE MAKE UP.

REMEMBER IN THE '90s HOW BAD THE OLD AGE MAKEUP WAS?

IT WAS TERRIBLE.

IT'S SO BAD.

BUT NOW, HE'S OLD ENOUGH TO PLAY THE OLDER VERSION.

I SAW HIM SAY, I DON'T NEED THAT ANYMORE.

EXACTLY.

WE DON'T NEED THE BAD MAKEUP.

IT WOULD BE ALL CGI NOW IF THEY DID.

PROBABLY.

AND SO HE'S BEEN WANTING TO MAKE THIS A MUSICAL FOR A LONG TIME.

HE'S BEEN HONORED WITH A NOMINATION, AS WELL.

AND THEN GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY, VERY ACCLAIMED, YOU KNOW, BOB DYLAN MUSICAL THAT OPENED BEFORE THE PANDEMIC, BUT THEY COULDN'T MAKE IT ELIGIBLE FOR THE LAST TONYS BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, TO MAKE SOMETHING ELIGIBLE, YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO OPEN IT UP FOR NOMINE OR THES TO SEE IT AND THE TIMING WAS OFF.

LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT THE NOMINEES FOR THE BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL.

AND I ALWAYS FIND THIS INTERESTING WHEN THEY GET NOMINATED AGAIN BECAUSE, IN THIS INSTANCE, AND WE'VE SEEN IN THE PAST, SOME OF THEM WON TONYS BACK WHEN THEY WERE INITIALLY ROLLED OUT.

AND IT'S SORT OF FUNNY TO SAY, OKAY, WE'RE GOING TO BRING IT OUT AGAIN, BUT EVERYBODY WHO WON TONYS THE LAST TIME CAN'T POSSIBLY WIN THEM AGAIN THIS TIME, BUT JUST -- THAT BEING SAID, JUST GIVE ME A SENSE OF WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE IN TERMS OF THE SHOWS.

WELL, YEAH, A REVIVAL IS A VERY INTERESTING SKILL, BECAUSE IT'S NOT THE SAME -- IT'S NOT THE ORIGINAL.

IF YOU LOOK AT SOMETHING LIKE BEETLEJUICE JUST CAME BACK TO BROADWAY, THAT'S NOT A REVIVAL.

IT'S BACK, IT'S THE SAME PRODUCTION AS BEFORE THE PANDEMIC.

REVIVALS, THEY ARE LOOKED AT WITH FRESH EYES, NEW DIRECTORS, NEW DIRECTORS.

IT'S A VERY BIG CATEGORY.

COMPANY IS LEADING AND OBV OBVIOUSLY, YOU KNOW, WE LOST STEPHEN SONDHEIM THIS SEASON AND HE WAS AT THE SHOW, JUST A FEW DAYS PRIOR TO DYING.

IT WAS A HUGE LOSS FOR THE COMMUNITY AND PATTY LA PONE IS BACK ON BROADWAY.

IT WAS A '70s MUSICAL ABOUT A SWINGING BA ING BACHELOR, AND T CAME BACK WITH MAKING THE LEAD A WOMAN, MAKING THE HARRIED BRIDE AMY INTO A GAY MAN ABOUT TO GET MARRIED, MATT DOYLE IS PLAYING THAT ROLE, SO THAT'S DEFINITELY A FRESH -- THAT'S VERY DEFINITELY THAN THE MUSICAL THAT WON IN THE '70s.

BUT THERE WERE ONLY FOUR MUSICALS ELIGIBLE THIS YEAR.

IT'S AN INTERESTING CATEGORY BECAUSE IT'S THE MUSING MAN, FUNNY GIRL, COMPANY, AND THEY ONLY NOMINATED THREE, OBVIOUSLY, THEY COULD HAVE NOMINATED FOUR, BUT FUNNY GIRL KIND OF HAD A ROUGH GO AT IT, SO IT'S ALWAYS INTERESTING, THE CATEGORIES, BECAUSE THE TONYS ESPECIALLY, SOME OF THE ACTING CATEGORIES HAVE SEVEN PEOPLE IN THEM AND OTHERS HAVE FOUR OR FIVE.

I WAS SURPRISED AT THAT, HOW MANY ARE LOADED UP AND HOW MANY ARE A LITTLE BIT LESS.

WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE TIME TO GO THROUGH ALL OF THE NOMINEES AND OBVIOUSLY SOME WONDERFUL NOMINEES FOR PLAYS, BUT PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED IN, WHO ARE THE INDIVIDUALS THAT GET NOMINATED?

AND MANY RECOGNIZABLE BIG NAMES.

HUE JACKSON, SUTTON FOSTER FOR THE MUSIC MAN, YOU MENTIONED PATTY LA PONE.

HOW ABOUT OTHER NAMES THAT GOT NOMINATED?

YOU HAVE MATTHEW BRODERICK AND SARA YESH JESSICA PARKER, Y HAVE DEBRA MESSING, DANIEL CRAIG.

Y THERE'S -- YOU KNOW, I MEAN, IT HAPPENS EVERY TIME, IT'S ALWAYS SORT OF SURPRISING, BUT IT'S PART OF SHOW BUSINESS, ISN'T IT?

YEAH XASH, EXACTLY, EXACTLY.

GO AHEAD.

ONE THING I WOULD LOVE TO ACKNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE ACTING CATEGORIES, AS THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF REPRESENTATION, A LOT OF -- FOR BLACK VOICES AND PERFORMERS.

I WAS JUST ABOUT TO ASK YOU THAT, WHAT WE'RE SEEING.

I READ YOUR MIND.

NOT ONLY, YOU KNOW, WITH MANY PLAYS FROM BLACK VOICES, SO MANY BROADWAY DEBUTS OF PLAYWRIGHTS.

WE'VE ALSO -- IT'S ALSO A SEEN WHERE WE SAW SOME CLASSIC ROLES, YOU KNOW, BROADWAY HAS ALWAYS HAD A LOT OF DIVERSITY IN ITS CASTING ON STAGE, BUT WE'VE SEEN SOME CLASSIC ROLES LIKE CHRISTINE IN PHANTOM OF THE OPERA PLAYED BY A TALENTED BLACK PERFORMER.

BUT WITH THE ACTING NOMINEES, I BELIEVE IT'S 20 OUT OF 45 OF THE ACTING NOMINEES ARE BLACK PERFORMERS.

IT'S VERY EXCITING.

I'M VERY EXCITED FOR THE COMMUNITY THAT WE'RE ABLE TO SORT OF, YOU KNOW, SHOW THAT THAT DIVERSITY IS THERE AND NOW, OF COURSE, THERE'S A REAL MOVEMENT TO GET MORE DIVERSITY BEHIND THE SCENES ON BROADWAY AND I ALSO WANT TO SHOUTOUT L.

MORGAN LEE, ONE OF THE STARS OF 'STRANGE LOOP' WHO IS THE FIRST OPENLY TRANS ACTRESS TO BE NOMINATED FOR A TONY AWARD.

THE STAGE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A FORMAL WELCOMING PLACE AND IT'S LOVELY TO SEE NOW THAT BEING RECOGNIZED.

GOT ABOUT A MINUTE AND A HALF HERE LEFT, SO, LET ME ASK YOU, HOW IS BROADWAY LOOKING AND FEELING NOW AFTER THE PANDEMIC?

AND WHAT DO YOU ANTICIPATE AS WE GET INTO THE MAJOR SUMMERTIME BROADWAY GOING SEASON?

I'M VERY HOPEFUL.

I FEEL LIKE IT'S, YOU KNOW, THE VACCINATION MANDATE ARE BEING REMOVED, THE MASK MANDATES ARE CONTINUING FOR NOW.

I THINK AUDIENCES HAVE JUST SORT OF BECOME USED TO IT.

I THINK AT FIRST IT WAS -- FELT ODD TO SIT THERE IN A MASKS RIGHT NOW, IT'S SORT OF OKAY.

IT'S INTERESTING FOR PERFORMERS, I INTERVIEWED SUTTON FOSTER YESTERDAY AND OBVIOUSLY 'THE MUSIC MAN' IS A BIG MUSICAL COMEDY AND YOU CAN'T HEAR SMILES, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?

YOU CAN HEAR LAUGHTER, YOU DON'T SEE THE AUDIENCE ALL SORT OF SMILING.

SHE TOLD ME REALLY AMUSINGLY THAT A FEW OF THE PERFORMERS HAVE WALKED ON STAGE WITH THEIR MASKS ON BY ACCIDENT AND JUST HAD TO, LIKE, SLOWLY REMOVE THEM, WHICH I NEVER EVEN --

YOU SEE HOW GOOD THEY ARE TO HANDLE THIS VERY SLIGHT OF HAND AND IT'S GONE.

JUST WORK IT INTO THE CHOREOGRAPHY.

THAT'S GREAT.

YEAH.

AGAIN, AS I MENTIONED, IT'S THE 75th TONY AWARDS TAKING PLACE, RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, SUNDAY, JUNE 12th, AND AGAIN, PAUL WON OR THE ECK, BROADWAY.COM, YOU DO SUCH A WONDERFUL JOB CHRONICLING BROADWAY AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY.

WE APPRECIATE IT.

AND WE'LL LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING TO YOU AGAIN DOWN THE ROAD.

YOU BE WELL.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

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