Last year, Black actors made history at the Tony Awards. Bolstered by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s juggernaut Hamilton, actors of color racked up wins in the best actor, best actress, best featured actor and best featured actress categories for musicals. It was a first, and everyone celebrated. But would the good, inclusive times keep on rolling?


Earlier today, the Tony Awards announced its list of 2017 nominees and while there are a handful of Black actors and creatives up for theater’s biggest honors, the list isn’t quite as robust as last year.

So who made the cut?

Straight Outta Compton and 24: Legacy star Corey Hawkins returned to his first love and earned a nod for Best Actor in a Play for his portrayal of Paul in Six Degrees of Separation. Will Smith played the role on the big screen in the production’s film adaptation.

Denée Benton, dubbed Broadway’s newest “it” girl by New York Magazine, earned a nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for playing Natasha Rostova in Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812. 

Lauded stage actresses Condola Rashad (A Doll’s House, Part 2) and Michelle Wilson (Sweat) earned nominations for Best Featured Actress in a Play, making this one of the most exciting categories for Tony watchers.

Obie Award-winning actor John Douglas Thompsoncalled “one of the most compelling classical stage actors of his generation,” earned a nom for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his role in August Wilson’s Jitney. 

Fresh off her Pulitzer Prize win for drama, playwright Lynn Nottage is celebrating another honor. Her production, Sweat, was nominated for Best Play by the Tony Awards. The show has been nominated for a slew of theater awards, including Outstanding Play by Drama Desk, making it a front-runner for the Tony Award.

After Denzel Washington brought Fences to the big screen, many were introduced to venerable playwright August Wilson’s work. Now, a new production of Jitney has scored a nomination for Best Revival of a Play, while theater vet and The Quad star, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, received a nod for Best Director of a Play. But the honors don’t stop there for August Wilson’s Jitney. Toni-Leslie James also earned a nom for Best Costume Design.

Bonus: With this latest crop of nomination, all 10 plays in August Wilson’s American Century Cycle have now been nominated for Tony Awards!

Congrats to all of the nominees!

The Tony Awards take place Sunday June 11, 2017. The show will be broadcast live on CBS.