Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Latinos at the Tonys – Firsts and Milestones

The 70th Annual Antoinette Perry Award, better known as the Tony Awards, will be held on Sunday, June 12, 2016 to recognize achievement in Broadway productions during the 2015–16 season. This year, Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton received a record number of 16 Tony Award nominations. In addition, it also broke a record by having a total of seven of its performers nominated for the Tony in the acting categories. 

As the Tonys turns 70 this year, we decided to take a look at some of its firsts, specifically its Latino firsts and milestones. José Ferrer (shown at left) shared a Best Actor award (with Frederic March for his role in Years Ago) in the first ever Tony Award ceremony for playing the title role in Cyrano De Bergerac (a role he would later perform on the big screen and for which he would win the Academy Award). He would later win four Tonys in 1952 alone.

In 1975, 
Rita Moreno became the first Latina to win a Tony, for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for the role of Googie Gómez in The Ritz. (She is the first performer to win– in addition to the Tony– the Emmy, the Grammy and the Academy Award.

Gerald Gutiérrez became the first Latino to win a Best Director Tony in 1995 for The Heiress. He also repeated in 1996 for his work in A Delicate Balance, becoming the first and only director to win that award in two consecutive years. 

David Álvarez shared the Tony Award with Trent Kowalik and Kirill Kulish for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for playing the title role in Billy Elliot: The Musical (2009). It was the only time multiple people have shared a Tony for playing the same role. 

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes were the first writers or composers to have a Broadway production win a Best Play or Best Musical (In The Heights won the latter in 2008; Miranda also won that year for Best Score). Chita Rivera (shown at right) is tied with Julie Harris with the most Tony nominations given to a performer, with ten (10) apiece (she has won two, both for Best Actress in a Musical– for The Rink in 1984 and Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1993).

To find out what other Latinos have won the Tony Awards, click here. To see more Tony firsts and milestones, click here.

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