Last fall, Playbill listed Fordham among the colleges most represented on Broadway, so it’s no surprise to find three alumni and one Fordham Theatre faculty member among this year’s Tony Award nominees.
Fordham Theatre alumna Julie White, PCS ’09, is up for best featured actress in a play for her turn in Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus. Written by Taylor Mac, Gary is an imagined sequel to Shakespeare’s violent revenge drama. It’s set amid the decline of the Roman Empire and tells the story of the minor characters left with the macabre cleanup work following the gruesome events of Shakespeare’s original.
In her review for Vulture, Sara Holdren praised the “combined zaniness and pathos of [White’s] marvelously feverish performance” as Carol, a midwife who is merely mentioned in Shakespeare’s play, and added that it is “all but impossible to imagine Gary without [her] brilliantly kooky antics.”
White previously won the Tony for best actress in a play in 2007 for The Little Dog Laughed, and she was also nominated for best featured actress in a play in 2015 for Airline Highway.
Meanwhile, Ephraim Sykes, FCLC ’10, has been nominated for best featured actor in a musical for his role as David Ruffin in Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations. New York Times critic Ben Brantley noted Sykes’ “spectacular scissor splits” and “smoking hot” performance as the music legend who sang lead vocals on Temptations hits like “My Girl” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” but who was as personally troubled as he was talented.
“This is the most monstrous role I’ve ever had to take on,” Sykes told Broadway.com. “The award [for me] is when I walk out of the stage door, and I meet somebody that says, ‘What you did really connected to me.’”
A graduate of the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. in dance program, Sykes has previously been nominated for three Astaire Awards for his roles in Broadway productions, including Hamilton. He has also toured with the Ailey II dance company, and in 2016, he played Seaweed J. Stubbs in NBC’s televised live production of Hairspray!
Tony Award winner Clint Ramos, who joined Fordham Theatre last fall as head of the design and production track, has been nominated for best costume design for his work on the play Torch Song. He won the Tony in that category in 2016 for his work on the play Eclipsed.
Rounding out this year’s list of Fordham nominees is producer John Johnson, FCLC ’02, who got his start on Broadway as an intern for Joey Parnes Productions during his junior year at Fordham Theatre. He has a total of seven Tonys to his credit (among Fordham alumni, that’s second only to his mentor, Elizabeth McCann, LAW ’66, a nine-time Tony Award-winning producer).
This year, Johnson has been nominated twice, as an executive producer of best play nominee Gary and of The Waverly Gallery, which is up for best play revival.
Six additional members of the Fordham family are part of productions that have been nominated for 2019 Tony Awards:
- Siena Zoë Allen, FCLC ’15, associate costume designer, What the Constitution Means to Me
- Kaleigh Bernier, FCLC ’16, assistant stage manager, Be More Chill
- Jessie Bonaventure, FCLC ’15, assistant scenic designer, What the Constitution Means to Me and Hadestown
- Drew King, FCLC ’09, ensemble, Tootsie
- Fordham Theatre student Wayne Mackins, ensemble, The Prom
- Michael Potts, former Denzel Washington Endowed Chair in Theatre at Fordham, Mr. Hawkins, The Prom
The 73rd Annual Tony Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, June 9, at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Dinner and a Show: Fordham’s alumni office hosts theater outings as part of its cultural events series. On May 9, a group of alumni and guests saw Tootsie and heard from Fordham grad and ensemble member Drew King, FCLC ’09, in a special talkback session after the show. Plans are underway for an October outing to see Ain’t Too Proud featuring Tony-nominee Ephraim Sykes, FCLC ’10. Tickets will be available soon via the alumni events calendar.