Performances about finance and diversity, big winners on Broadway

A play about the Lehman Brothers bank and musicals about Michael Jackson or a black and queer writer triumphed Sunday night in New York at the Broadway Awards, regaining color after the pandemic.

Often compared to the theatrical Oscars, this 75th Tony Awards, broadcast on CBS and often compared to the theatrical Oscars, completed the renewal season for theaters in the American cultural capital, which reopened in the fall of 2021 after 18 months of closure due to Covid-19. .

In Wall Street City, it’s a financial story, the Lehman Trilogy, which came out victorious with five awards, including Best Play, Best Actor (Simon Russell Beal) and Best Director (Sam Mendes).

The play by Italian Stefano Massini tells about the long life of the American investment bank Lehman Brothers, founded in the 19th century by three immigrant brothers from Germany, whose fall in 2008 triggered the global financial crisis.

“Little Lifeboat”

MJ the Musical, a successful biopic about Michael Jackson that received acclaim from the heirs and a mixed response from critics as it largely ignored allegations of pedophilia against the “King of Pop”, won four awards, including Best Musical Performance. , for 22-year-old Miles Frost. The two children of the star, who died in 2009 at the age of 50, Paris and Prince Jackson, took the stage.

Strange Loop, the favorite with 11 nominations, ended up winning two Tonys, including the most prestigious “Best Musical” and “Best Book of Music” for its non-King of Pop author Michael R. Jackson. .

The musical follows the travails of a theater usher, an up-and-coming artist, black and gay like Michael R. Jackson, who wants to become a writer on Broadway.

“I felt invisible. I was not listened to, I felt misunderstood. And I wanted to build a small rescue boat for myself, like a cheerful Negro, ”said the artist, very moved and applauding, wrapped in a large fuchsia color cloak.

“The work must go on”

Ariana DeBose, an Oscar-winner for her role as Anita in the remake of West Side Story, said she is “proud” of Broadway’s efforts to create a more inclusive stage at Radio City Music Hall.

Following the pandemic and the death of George Floyd, an African-American man killed by police in June 2020, sparking a massive movement against racism in the United States, Broadway reopened in the fall of 2021 with seven plays or musicals written by black authors. unheard of.

“Progress is being made, but the work must continue,” said singer and actor Darius de Haas, a founding member of Black Theater United, an organization that advocates for more diverse performance in American theaters.

In his opinion, “producers and theater owners have opened their eyes and seen that not only can they create stories that reflect the greater diversity on Broadway, but that it can work economically.”

Set around bustling Times Square, Broadway’s 41 theaters are New York City legend, but they are also one of its cultural, economic and tourist lungs. Before the pandemic, receipts easily exceeded $30 million a week, and during the Christmas week even $50 million. This 2021-2022 season has been derailed yet again, but Broadway found crowds like the 230,000 spectators that turned out there last week (about 300,000 in a week in 2019).