Michael R. Jackson’s “A Strange Loop,” an innovative Broadway show about a strange black man’s struggles with identity and creativity, was named best musical at the Tony Awards presentation on Sunday night.
The show, which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama last year, was also recognized as the best book in a musical. Accepting the book award, Jackson, himself a black gay man, said he often felt invisible and unheard as an artist and began working on the show more than a decade ago as a way forward.
“I just wanted to create a little life raft for myself,” he said.
“The Lehman Trilogy,” a drama about the rise and fall of the financial firm Lehman Bros., was named best play. Sam Mendes, the film and theater veteran who directed the production, won the Tony for Best Director of a Play.
Sunday’s event, held at Radio City Music Hall in New York and televised live on CBS, marked the 75th edition of the Tony Awards.th annual edition. The presentation, presented by veteran Broadway veteran and recent Oscar winner Ariana DeBose, referred to Broadway’s past in a variety of ways and also included a tribute to the late Stephen Sondheim, the creator of many beloved Broadway musicals.
Sondheim figured out the night differently. A genre-swapped version of his 1970 program “Company” was named best revival of a musical. Marianne Elliott, director of production, won the Tony for Best Director of a Musical.
A production of “Take Me Out,” a two-decade-long baseball-themed drama that also examines gay issues, won Tony for best play.
Last season he challenged Broadway in many ways, in large part because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As many members of the production team contracted the virus, the industry relied heavily on alternates, a fact that was referenced by award-winning presenters throughout the night. They were also recognized during Tony’s presentation: COVID-19 security monitors who monitored compliance with appropriate protocols within cinemas.
Some of the shows that premiered this season actually aired in previews during the 2019-20 season, but were later cut short by the Broadway COVID shutdown. A specific case: “The Lehman Trilogy.” Accepting the award for best play, Ben Power, who adapted the original script for Stefano Massini’s “Lehman,” noted that there was an interval of more than 500 days between the fourth and fifth performances of the show.
But in many ways, last season’s Broadway was defined by the industry’s efforts to be more inclusive. In particular, Broadway focused on color playwrights and presented several works by these authors.
DeBose referred to the efforts in his initial statements. “I think‘ Great White Way ’is becoming more of a nickname rather than a guide to how to do it,” he said.