The 74th Annual Tony Awards kicked off Sunday (September 26) night with veteran stage and TV actor David Alan Grier winning a Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play for his role in A Soldier’s Play.
Grier, a trained Yale School of Drama Shakespearian actor, is a three-time Tony nominee. When he took the stage to accept his first Tony, he gave a shout-out to host Audra McDonald.
“She’s got like seven of these bad boys,” the In Living Color alum joked.
McDonald, who is actually a six-time Tony winner, is herself nominated for the award once again, this time for her role in Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. She’s also hosting the Tony Awards this year.
In her opening remarks, McDonald commented that the Winter Garden Theater, where this evening’s award show took place, was also the venue for the 1975 Tony’s when The Wiz — the Black musical based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz — won seven awards.
She said there was great hope that night that there would be more diversity on Broadway after that night.
“For the past 46 years, there has been too little change,” she said. “But I’m hopeful we are finally ready to commit to the change that will bring more awareness, action and accountability that will make our industry more inclusive and equitable for all.”
A Soldier’s Play is slated for adaptation into a limited TV series with Grier starring in the show and serving as its executive producer.