McDonald, Warren, Okpokwasili Win at Inaugural Antonyo Awards

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Photo Source: Manuel Harlan

Celebrating excellence from Black theatermakers, the inaugural Antonyo Awards took place June 19, broadcast from New York City.

Created by multimedia organization Broadway Black amid an era of unprecedented change in the United States and its arts industries, the Antonyo Awards aired on Juneteenth to put the much-deserved spotlight on Black stories and the actors, designers, and creators who brought them to life on and Off-Broadway this past theater season. A call for justice and celebration of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, as well as a counterpoint to the 2020 Tony Awards indefinitely delayed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic’s shutdown of NYC theaters, the Antonyos determined winners by public vote.

Broadway’s “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” earned top honors, winning for best musical and best actor in a musical Adrienne Warren. Award-winning legend Audra McDonald earned the win for actor in a Broadway play for her work in last year’s “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.” Best play went to MCC Theater’s “BLKS” by Aziza Barnes, while best revival went to Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf” at the Public Theater, which won a total of five Antonyo Awards, including for Okwui Okpokwasili as featured actor in an Off-Broadway play. 

The ceremony, streamed on Broadway Black’s YouTube channel, featured presenters and performers including LaChanze, who won the actor in an Off-Broadway musical prize for “The Secret Life of Bees,” plus Tituss Burgess, Alex Newell, Jordan E. Cooper, Teyonah Parris, Ephraim Sykes, Derrick Baskin, Nicolette Robinson, Jelani Alladin, and of course McDonald. Michael McElroy of Broadway Inspirational Voices presented legendary Broadway actor Chuck Cooper with the Antonyos’ first-ever Lifetime Achievement honor. Check out the full ceremony stream below.

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