Star of stage and screen, Anika Noni Rose, will join Matthew Broderick in announcing the nominees for the 2011 Tony Awards (essentially the stage equivalent of the Oscars - theater's highest honor), tomorrow morning, May 3rd; and this year's list of potentials has a decent representation of African American talent, some who just might actually walk away with some hardware when the awards ceremony is held on Sunday June 12th, broadcast live, beginning at 8/7c on CBS.
The Tony Awards committee has compiled a list of actors who are eligible for nomination in the major categories for both plays and musicals, and of the performances by African Americans, whether on stage, or behind the stage, that are eligible, I've only seen 1 of them unfortunately - A Free Man Of Color, starring Jeffrey Wright, Mos Def, Nicole Beharie, and directed by George C. Wolfe. It is eligible in 2 categories listed - Best Actor In A Leading Role In A Play for Jeffrey Wright of course, and Best Play.
Other noteworthy considerations include James Earl Jones in the Best Actor In A Play category for his role in the revival of Driving Miss Daisy, opposite Vanessa Redgrave, who is also a potential nominee, as is the play.
The controversial Scottsboro Boys musical is also on the list, with possible nominations in the Best Musical category, and Best Actor In A Leading Role In A Musical for Joshua Henry.
And lastly, Ms Patina Miller (who, as we reported last week, is also in contention to play Aretha Franklin in her biopic) might also get a nom in the Best Actress In A Lead Role In A Musical category, for her starring performance in the Sister Act musical.
Chris Rock's Broadway debut, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, received 2 mentions, but not for Chris Rock, who, as Playbill notes, just might get a Featured Role nomination.
I should also mention that The Book of Mormon - the musical that centers on two young Mormon missionaries who are sent off to spread the word in Uganda, and which features a significant black cast - is on the list with 3 eligible nominees, though not for any of the black performers. The musical is mentioned as a potential Best Musical nominee; and Baby, It's You, a musical that follows the story of the white lady, Florence Greenberg, who helped launch the African American girl group The Shirelles, which also features prominent African American representation, is listed as a potential, in 2 categories, Best Actress In A Leading Role In A Musical (though not for any of the black actresses) and Best Musical.
Of course, we'll know with certainty once Anika Noni Rose and Matthew Broderick announce the nominees tomorrow morning, and I'll of course post the list here, so, until then... if you're interested in seeing any of these shows I mentioned above, if only out of curiosity, and to judge the content for yourselves, and you live in NYC, or plan on visiting NYC soon, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, Sister Act, The Book of Mormon, Baby, It's You, and Driving Miss Daisy are still currently running.