Two UNCSA alumni are nominated for Tony Awards

OSLO, a play written by a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) is nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Play for the writer, J.T. Rogers (Drama ’90) and Best Actress for Jennifer Ehle (Drama ’88), a native of Winston-Salem. Graduates of UNCSA appeared in or worked on seven additional plays that were nominated.

J.T. Rogers

Playwright J.T. Rogers

Winston-Salem native and frequent UNCSA guest artist Howell Binkley is nominated for Best Lighting Design for the musical Come From Away. Ryan O’Gara (Design & Production ‘00) is associate lighting designer.

OSLO, hailed by The Washington Post as “hands down the best new play of the season,” also was nominated for Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Lighting Design and Best Scenic Design.

Jennifer Ehle

Actress Jennifer Ehle

Inspired by the true story of the back-channel talks, unlikely friendships and quiet heroics that led to the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords between the Israelis and Palestinians, OSLO is a deeply personal story set against a complex historical canvas, a story about the individuals behind world history and their all-too-human ambitions. 

OSLO is undeniably a big play, as expansive and ambitious as any in recent Broadway history, directed with a master's hand," said The New York Times.

New York magazine said OSLO is "a madly engrossing wonder. J.T. Rogers's OSLO turns the negotiations that led to the Israeli-Palestinian peace accord of 1993 into gripping human drama."

The play premiered off-Broadway in June 2016, and opened on Broadway in April 2017. It is also nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play.

Additional UNCSA connections to Tony nominees include:

Mary-Louise Parker (Drama ‘86) appeared in Heisenberg opposite Dennis Arndt, who is nominated for Best Actor.

Joe Mantello (Drama ’84) appeared in Glass Menagerie opposite Sally Field, who is nominated for Best Actress.

Paloma Garcia-Lee (Drama high school 08) appeared in the ensemble of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, a musical that received a dozen nominations, the most of any production. Ben Freedman (Design and Production '14) is an assistant stage manager, Madeline LeCuyer (Design and Production MFA '14) works in the wig and hair department and Matthew Matulewicz (Design and Production '15) is a stage management production assistant.

Jon Goldman (Design and Production '11) was the assistant lighting designer on Groundhog Day the Musical, nominated for seven awards, including Best Musical. Additionally, he was the assistant lighting designer on Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical, nominated for Best Choreography. 

Kenneth Wills is the associate lighting designer and Asher Robinson is the production video engineer on Dear Evan Hansen, nominated for nine awards, including Best Lighting Design of a Musical and Best Musical. Both are 2012 graduates of Design and Production. 

Ben Cherry (Drama ’99) was understudy for Indecent, nominated for three awards, including Best Play.

Daniel Frith (Drama 01) was understudy for The Present, for which Cate Blanchett is nominated for Best Actress.

Brian Coats (Drama ’93) was understudy for Jitney, nominated for Best Revival of a Play.

Alex Fogel (Design and Production '08) was the moving light programmer for Hello Dolly, nominated for 10 awards.  

Daniel Frith (Drama ‘01) was understudy for The Present, for which Cate Blanchett is nominated for Best Actress.

Madeline LeCuyer (D&P ’14) is on the wig and makeup team for Great Comet, which is the most nominated production this year, with 12 nominations—including Best Musical.

The 2017 Tony Awards will be presented Sunday, June 11, from Radio City Music Hall in New York City and will be televised live on CBS beginning at 8 p.m.

by Lauren Whitaker

May 02, 2017