Chicagoans at the 2018 Tonys: The Performances, Speeches, and Memories

Chicagoans at the 2018 Tonys: The Performances, Speeches, and Memories

It was a banner year for the Chicago theater community at the 2018 Tony Awards ceremony, where THE BAND’S VISIT — about an Egyptian police orchestra stranded for a night in Israel — took home ten of the eleven awards it was nominated for, including the Best Director award for celebrated Chicago theater director David Cromer.

Cromer was educated at Columbia College Chicago, where he later taught as an adjunct professor. His acceptance speech focused on a heartfelt call to support one another, especially when it feels like hope is lost:

Another of those ten wins for THE BAND’S VISIT went to Chicago born and raised Katrina Lenk, a graduate of Northwestern’s theater program. Lenk appeared in Chicago’s 2001 production of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH at the Lakeshore Theater (now the Laugh Factory), before embarking on a national career which has now led her to Broadway four times (SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK, ONCE, and INDECENT, along with THE BAND’S VISIT). Lenk’s stirring performance of “Omar Sharif” was one of the highlights of the evening:

Lenk and Cromer were up against other Chicago theater luminaries — four-time nominee and two-time winner Jessie Mueller (CARO– USEL) and Steppenwolf Ensemble Member Tina Landau, whose production of SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS tried out in Chicago before heading to Broadway. It was nominated for eleven Tonys and won for set design (David Zinn):

Married former Second City artists Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond left empty-handed, though their musical version of MEAN GIRLS was nominated in twelve categories, a monumental achievement:

Original Steppenwolf Ensemble Member Laurie Metcalf won the Actress in a Featured Role in a Play trophy for her performance in Edward Albee’s THREE TALL WOMEN, which many felt was redemption for her loss at the Oscars earlier this year:

Rising star Chicago director Rachel Rockwell, who succumbed to ovarian cancer just days ago, was featured in the “In Memorium” segment, along with Steppenwolf Ensemble Member John Mahoney who died in February, and Court Theater Executive Director Stephen J. Albert who died in December:

About author

Jason Epperson

Jason is a producer, manager, and designer with 17 years of experience in Chicago, New York, and in the touring market. In 2015, he founded Lotus Theatricals - the publisher of Performink, and an independent commercial producing company - with Abigail Trabue.