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  • Writer's pictureSalisha Thomas

Beyond the Nomination: Celebrating the Overlooked at the Tony Awards

Angelina Jolie: on The Outsiders team

Alicia Keys: on the Hells Kitchen team

Daniel Radcliffe: attached to Merrily 


These shows swept this season. And yes, these shows were scrumptious. 


But am I crazy, or do all these shows have something in common…… IT'S NOT A BAD THING. I’m just connecting dots.


The Notebook.

The Great Gatsby. 

Lempicka.


I wept in these shows. Why was Joy Woods no where to be seen during the Broadcast? No nomination? No performance? ROBBED.

How did Gatsby receive one singular nomination? The set was incredible. The transitions between scenes. The chemistry between Jeremy Jordan and Eva Noblezada sent me straight home to make love to my husband. I was floored by the orchestrations and the music. Jason Howland is a genius. 

No Gatsby performance? As a bystander, I’m feeling a bit cheated.


Wait a minute. I’m not a bystander. Does anyone remember that one time the Britney Spears musical made it to Broadway? It feels like a lifetime ago. They made me work for every penny I made on that show. I’m still recovering 😅 Keone and Mari Madrid, choreographers to the stars in the Pop world, received no nominations for their work in Once Upon a One More Time, which in my humble opinion was unlike anything else that’s ever been on Broadway. 


With that said, is Illinois worthy? Absolutely. Their Tony Performance was stunning and beautiful and made me want to hold the stranger’s hand sitting next to me. Justin Peck did a beautiful job. Camille A. Brown’s work in Hell’s Kitchen was out of this world, at times being the Star of the show. 


Kecia Lewis made actual tears come out of my eyes with her acceptance speech, sharing that she got in this business 40 years ago and that almost being 60, she has realized her dream. That if we have a dream, we CANNOT give up on ourselves. That we have to keep believing in who we are, in what we want. Because truly anything is possible as long as we keep going. 40 years seems like a long time to wait for a dream to come true. But as someone who waited almost 30 years to get laid, once the time comes, the time in the past is truly in the PAST. It all suddenly becomes worth it. Because let’s be honest, time just keeps trucking along whether we get started on that project or that schooling or raising a family or not. Time is gone keep on timing. 


One day we blink, and that thing that took forever to arrive, begins to be behind us. And we find ourselves in a completely new reality. A Broadway show sometimes takes 10 years to come to fruition. What a mountain to climb!!!!! But once it arrives on the scene and begins to breathe life in the culture around you, the time it took to get there is neither here nor there. 

It happened. As the message from Shaina Taub (who took home two Tony Awards last night) and the incredible company of Suffs reminds us: “Keep Marching. Keep Marching.”


To the company of Heart of Rock & Roll, I see you.


To Eden Espinosa and Amber Iman and the company of Lempicka, I see you.


To my family over at Once Upon a One More Time and the blood sweat and tears we left on that stage— we know what we did. 


To the cast and company of The Notebook, you all reinvigorated my love for the theater. Thank you, and I see you.


To the company and creative team at The Great Gatsby, you have something so special. So beautiful. I see you. 


How To Dance in Ohio, Harmony, The Cottage, The Shark is Broken, I Need That, and The Wiz—I see you. 


To my people of color who made a splash last night, I also see YOU.

Nikiya Mathis, how dare she slay me like that during her post-win press conference. She had confidence, grace, and beauty as she accepted what was hers. Her win felt I like won. 


Dede Ayite, Kara Young, Maleah Joi Moon, Kecia Lewis, Branden Jacobs- Jenkins, Nikki M. James, GEORGE C. WOLFE, WE SEE YOU!


I asked Kara Young after her win, if her 8 year old self was standing next to her right now, what would she tell her?

Her response: Baby, you are INFINITE.



The theater kid in me, the one leading the drama club at Bullard High School

In Fresno, California would be freaking OUT, that not only did I have the courage to give New York a try, I actually finangled my way into two Broadway shows. And when I couldn’t step touch my way onto the Tonys stage, I interviewed my way into the Media room as the Press at the Tonys. WE ARE INFINITE. 




George C Wolfe said last night BTS, “A crucial step in saying yes to yourself is by getting used to hearing no.” 

Failure and rejection is all part of the process. What if the most successful among us aren’t the “best.” What if they’re just the most resilient? The ones who refuse to give up when they’ve been knocked down. 


Congratulations to all the winners last night at The 77th Annual Tony Awards at Lincoln Center. And to those were not recognized: Keep Marching. 

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