The Tony Awards: A Celebration of Excellence in Theatre

Black Dog & Leventhal. Apr. 2024. 320p. ISBN 9780762484416. $55. THEATER
Mell (Designing Broadway) compiles a striking collection of moments celebrating the history of Broadway theater’s highest honor: the Tony Awards. The book is arranged in chronological order, starting with the 1940s. Readers, especially theater fans, will recognize luminaries such as Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, and Lin-Manuel Miranda in the archival photos, acceptance speeches, and interviews. With a heartfelt foreword by Audra McDonald, this commemorative book does its best to show how the Tonys and performing on Broadway have been the dreams of artists everywhere. Mell also discusses what it meant for artists such as actress Juanita Hall and playwright David Henry Hwang to help reshape perceptions of BIPOC theater artists. There’s also an intriguing look at how the Tonys have changed over the years, from the trophy itself to the introduction of various technical theater award categories. The book is geared towards fans; quotations from various honorees are scattered throughout, relying on readers to recognize their name and fame on sight.
VERDICT A breezy, charming, heartwarming work for fans of Broadway and its stars. It shows love for theater craft and Broadway’s powerful sense of community while also recognizing that roads to success are often long and bumpy.
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