Justin Townsend, Robert O’Hara Earn Tony Nominations

On Thursday, Oct. 15, The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing announced this year’s Tony Award nominations. Among the honorees was CalArts School of Theater alum Justin Townsend (Theater MFA 03), who received two Tony nominations in the Best Lighting Design of a Musical category for Moulin Rouge! The Musical and Jagged Little Pill.

Jagged Little Pill led the nominations, earning 15 nods, followed closely behind by Moulin Rouge! with 14. Jagged Little Pill is inspired by Alanis Morissette’s 1995 Grammy Award-winning album of the same name. With the book by Diablo Cody, the show focuses on a suburban family’s unraveling lives. Moulin Rouge! The Musical is based on Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film starring Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman.

A veteran lighting designer of dozens of Broadway, Off-Broadway, and West End productions, the 2020 Tony nominations marked Townsend’s third and fourth, respectively. He was previously nominated in 2016 for American Psycho (for Best Lighting Design of a Musical), as well as The Humans (for Best Lighting Design of a Play).

Additionally, Robert O’Hara, a 2018 Alpert Award recipient for Theater and 2019 CalArts School of Theater guest artist, also earned a Tony nomination for Best Direction of a Play (Slave Play). The production earned a record-breaking 12 nominations—the most ever given to a play.

Tony nominee Robert O’ Hara talks about his Herb Alpert Award residency at CalArts.

Thursday’s announcement was one of the few bright spots during a coronavirus-shortened season. Just a few days before the Tony nominations were released, The Broadway League trade group announced that Broadway performances would be canceled through May 30, 2021.

The 74th Annual Tony Awards ceremony will take place digitally later this year.

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