Tonys times two: Meet the Broadway artists nominated for two Tonys this season
This season, several Tony Award nominees earned two acknowledgments across categories and productions for their exceptional work on multiple shows.
The old adage says lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice, but this year, some Tony Award nominees are defying that logic.
“Anything is possible!” said Natasha Katz, who is nominated for her lighting designs for both Sweeney Todd and Some Like It Hot. While the recognition is undoubtedly nice, per Katz, “It’s the community that I cherish so much. To be embraced like this feels incredible.”
Katz has long been a Broadway mainstay, first earning a Tony nod for Beauty and the Beast in 1994 before winning seven across her illustrious career. “I try to design every show with an open mind, starting with a blank slate. Every show is different,” she said.
This season, she’s working on tonal opposites. “In Sweeney, I hope the lighting helps tell the tale of the light and dark of humanity through the visual of shadow and light. And the glorious Sondheim music! The lighting varies in tone with the score, from spooky and eerie, to light and airy,” she said.
“On the other hand, Some Like It Hot has bright, colorful lighting that constantly changes with every musical key change, accentuating the choreography, the music, and the story," she continued. "I’m proud that I was able to dig deep into two shows that required such different skills as a lighting designer.”
Katz isn’t the only designer pulling double duty this awards season: Scott Pask is up for the Best Scenic Design of a Musical award for both Shucked and Some Like It Hot. And while Pask is technically competing with himself in the same category, that’s not how the esteemed designer sees it.
“I don't have that inner competition anymore; I’m more wanting each project to be bettering itself, and that's why I'm so lucky and blessed to be working with this incredible director and these teams,” he said. “[Their] collaborations and conversations allow me to do the best work and to be recognized for these two shows.”
Jennifer Weber is also doubly nominated in the same category: Best Choreography. Her dance moves for KPOP and & Juliet were informed by separate sources — KPOP by the world of Korean pop and her collaborator MJ Choi, and & Juliet by her own recollection of the '90s American pop scene — with the goal being to “just make each show authentic to itself,” she shared.
Unlike Pask and Katz, Weber is a first-time nominee — and the two nominations made for a double surprise. “I was so nervous, and I woke up early, and I had coffee with my girlfriend — we were watching the livestream, and my heart was beating out of my chest,” she recalled. “And then they’re going through the names listing people like Steven Hoggett, Casey Nicholaw, and Susan Stroman, and these are my idols. To hear those three names and then hear my name, I literally jumped up out of my chair. And then I heard my name a second time, and I fell back down.”
One of her role models joins her as a double nominee. Nicholaw, who's been double-nominated in four previous seasons, is now representing Some Like It Hot in the Best Direction and Choreographer categories. “I love doing both jobs because I’m able to create the whole show as one piece and blend the numbers and scenes seamlessly with one voice,” he said.
Rounding out the count of this year's dual nominees are David Lindsay-Abaire (book and lyrics for Kimberly Akimbo) Emilio Sosa (costume design for Ain't No Mo' and Good Night, Oscar), Jordan E. Cooper (for writing and starring in Ain't No Mo'), and Ben and Max Ringham (sound design for A Doll's House and Prima Facie). As with all the other nominees, Nicholaw sees the recognition as an engine “to just keep doing what you love to do and keep striving to get better at it,” he said.
The audience’s warm response doesn’t hurt, either. “The sheer number of people who have been writing me about how much they enjoyed and admired the show is what is really moving to me,” he said. “That makes me feel extremely proud.”
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Top image credit: Sweeney Todd on Broadway. (Photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman) In-article images credit: Some Like It Hot, Shucked, and & Juliet on Broadway. (Photos by Marc J. Franklin, Matthew Murphy, and Evan Zimmerman)
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