Appearing in a Broadway production is usually only the first step on a long journey to earning a Tony nomination. But this season’s nominees prove that sometimes that dream can be achieved earlier than expected. From theatrical debuts like MJ’s Myles Frost to multiple award winners making it to the Broadway stage, this season’s Tony-nominated debuts showcase a diversity of actors, designers, and creatives at a range of places in their careers.
Think you can name all 34 of the Broadway newcomers? Keep reading below to learn more about the freshest faces on Broadway.
Eleven performers received a nod for their Broadway debut performances including a few Off-Broadway favorites, a couple of Olivier winners, and some screen stars.
A Strange Loop performers Jaquel Spivey, L Morgan Lee, and John-Andrew Morrison all earned nods for their performances in the Pultizer-winning musical by Michael R. Jackson. Lee, who made history as the first openly Trans person nominated for Tony, and Morrison have both been with the show since its 2015 workshop production at Musical Theatre Factory and appeared in the Off-Broadway world premiere. Spivey joined the show at the pre-Broadway Kennedy Center production.
Coming from across the pond, British actor Sharon D Clarke has garnered a nomination for her performance as Caroline Thibodeaux in Caroline, or Change, having previously won a 2019 Laurence Olivier award for Best Actress in a Musical. She first took on the role in 2017 at the Chichester Festival Theatre, reprising it for its West End and Broadway transfers.
Two more British actors have received nominations for joining transferred productions after the Broadway shut down. Adrian Lester from The Lehman Trilogy replaced Ben Miles for its return and official opening October 14, 2021. Game of Thrones star Alfie Allen received a nod for Hangmen, taking over the role of Mooney from Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens who did not return following the pandemic.
Jesse Williams, well-known for his 11-season stint as Dr. Jackson Avery on the long-running medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, turns in a nominated debut performance in the revival of Take Me Out. Also well-known for working onscreen, Ethiopian-Irish actor and Oscar nominee Ruth Negga has been nominated for her performance as Lady Macbeth in Macbeth. Shakespearean tragedy previously brought Negga to the U.S. with Yaël Farber’s Hamlet, for which she earned a Drama Desk nomination for the title role.
Both Gabby Beans (nominated for The Skin of Our Teeth), and Kara Young (nominated for Clyde’s) have been kicking around the Off-Broadway scene for a few years, with Beans seen in Marys Seacole and Anatomy of a Suicide, and Young appearing in All the Natalie Portmans and Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven. Newcomer Myles Frost makes his New York theatrical debut in his Tony-nominated turn as the King of Pop in MJ.
Ten designers received nominations for their Broadway debuts, including Off-Broadway award winners and teams that transferred with their shows from across the pond.
The Skin of Our Teeth boasts nominations for set designer Adam Rigg, lighting designer Yi Zhao, and costume designer Montana Levi Blanco, all of whom have previously collaborated with director Lileana Blain-Cruz. Fun fact: Blanco also designed the costumes for A Strange Loop, which opened just one day after the Wilder revival, making The Skin of Our Teeth the technical Broadway debut.
Hangmen’s lighting designer Joshua Carr and set designer Anna Fleischle both earned nods, the latter having also won a 2016 Olivier for the show. Another British import, SIX: The Musical, has received nominations for lighting designer Tim Deiling’s work and that of costume designer Gabriella Slade; their designs can be seen in all productions of the Tudor-inspired pop musical. Caroline, or Change’s Fly Davis also got a Broadway nod for costume design. Another fun fact: Slade and Davis were also nominated together for costume design on these same shows for the 2019 Olivier Awards.
Debuting sound designers getting a nod include Mikhail Fiksel for Dana H., in which the entire show is lip-synched to a recorded interview, and Dominic Bilkey of London’s National Theatre for The Lehman Trilogy (co-designed with previous Tony nominee Nick Powell).
Earning Tony nominations among the thirteen creatives are Olivier nominees, Oscar nominees, and even a Pulitzer winner.
Stefano Massini and Ben Power are recognized for The Lehman Trilogy with a Best Play nomination, following a 2019 Olivier nomination for the play. Michael R. Jackson is a double-nominee in his Broadway debut, receiving nominations for both the score and the book for his Pulitzer Prize-winning musical A Strange Loop.
The creative team of SIX scored big with their West End transfer. Lucy Moss earned two nominations for her Broadway debut, one for Best Original Score, also awarded to fellow creator and Broadway newcomer Toby Marlow, and Direction of a Musical, received alongside debuting co-director Jamie Armitage. Carrie-Anne Ingrouille earned a nomination for Best Choreography and Tom Curran was recognized for Best Orchestrations. Moss, Marlow, and Curran all received an Olivier nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Music for the score and orchestrations, and Ingrouille for her choreography.
Long-time, Oscar-nominated screenwriting partners Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel have earned a Best Book of a Musical nomination with their debut libretto for Mr. Saturday Night (written with Broadway alum Billy Crystal), as have Christina Anderson and Larry Kirwan for Paradise Square, who share the nomination with previously Tony-nominated playwright and librettist Craig Lucas. Masi Asare also earns a nod as the co-lyricist of Paradise Square, sharing the Best Original Score nomination with Broadway regulars Jason Howland and Nathan Tysen.
The 75th Annual Tony Awards will broadcast from New York City's Radio City Music Hall June 12. Broadway League and American Theatre Wing present the 75th Annual Tony Awards in a return to its traditional summer slot for the first time since 2019. The ceremony will receive a two-part broadcast, shared by CBS and streamer Paramount+, with an hour of exclusive pre-ceremony programming streaming on Paramount+ starting at 7 PM ET. Airing on CBS and livestreaming on Paramount+ for premium-level subscribers, the Tony Awards will be available live nationwide for the first time in its history. Following the broadcast, the ceremony will be available on demand via Paramount+ for all subscribers.