Carnegie Mellon University
May 01, 2018

Six Carnegie Mellon Alumni Nominated for 12 Tony Awards

Nominees represent lighting, sound and costume design; acting; and producing

Six Carnegie Mellon University alumni received a record-breaking 12 Tony Award nominations this spring. School of Drama alumnus and 2016 Tony Award winner Leslie Odom, Jr. and actress and singer Katharine McPhee co-hosted the nominations announcement.

Five alumni were nominated for their outstanding behind-the-scenes work. Peggy Eisenhauer and Jules Fisher were nominated for lighting design, and Peter Hylenski and Ann Roth received nominations in sound and costume design, respectively. Producer Jamie deRoy received five nominations.

Grey Henson also was nominated for his featured role in the Broadway musical “Mean Girls.” 

CMU alumnus Grey Henson in Mean Girls on BroadwayCarnegie Mellon University alumnus Grey Henson was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Role in a Musical for his role as Damian Hubbard in "Mean Girls"

“CMU congratulates our alumni for their distinctive contributions to Broadway’s best productions and to the performing arts more broadly,” said CMU President Farnam Jahanian. “Our partnership with the Tony Awards, and commitment to the Excellence in Theatre Education Award, reflects the value we place on arts education and its impact on people and society.”

CMU will present the fourth annual Excellence in Theatre Education Award at the Tony Awards this year. The award is the first national honor to recognize K-12 theatre educators.

CMU alumnus and 2017 Tony nominee Josh Groban will co-host the Tony Awards with singer, songwriter, actress and Tony nominee Sara Bareilles on June 10. The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

“We’re extremely proud of the work our alumni are engaged in to earn these nominations,” said Dan J. Martin, dean of CMU’s College of Fine Arts. “Clearly, our School of Drama prepares our graduates in not only the acting skills to be part of a cast onstage, but also the expertise in those essential elements it takes to make a production come to life — lighting, sound, costumes and producing.”

Following this nominations announcement, Odom talked about the importance of arts education in his life.

“I majored in theater at Carnegie Mellon University, and I like to say, really, I majored in empathy,” Odom said. “Art teaches you how to walk in someone else’s shoes with compassion and understanding, and those are powerful lessons, whatever arena you decide to go into, whatever profession you choose to pursue.”

The following CMU College of Fine Arts alumni, presented in alphabetical order, have been nominated for Tony Awards this year.

Jamie deRoy, Class of 1967, Producer

  • Best Play for “Latin History for Morons”
  • Best Musical for “The Band’s Visit”
  • Best Revival of a Play for “Three Tall Women” and “Angels in America”
  • Best Revival of a Musical for “Once on This Island”
Jamie deRoy is the celebrated host and producer of the critically acclaimed variety show, “Jamie deRoy & friends,” and a three-time Tony Award-winning producer. “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” was the Best Musical in 2014 and “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” was the Best Play in 2013. “The Norman Conquests,” which she produced with CMU alumnus Martin Platt, was the Best Revival of a Play in 2009. In total, deRoy has worked on more than 50 Broadway and 40 off-Broadway productions. An accomplished actress, record producer, comedian and talk show host, she has won eight MAC Awards, four Back Stage Bistro Awards, 11 Telly Awards, and CaB Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her work on both stage and screen.

Peggy Eisenhauer, Class of 1983

  • Best Lighting Design of a Musical for “Once on This Island”
  • Best Lighting Design of a Play for “The Iceman Cometh”
Recipient of three Tony Awards and nine nominations, Peggy Eisenhauer is one of the most accomplished lighting designers across the theater, film and music industries. She and fellow CMU alumnus Jules Fisher have collaborated on lighting designs for more than 30 years. Eisenhauer has worked on more than 20 Broadway shows and in 2010 was selected as one of Variety’s 100 Women of Impact in Hollywood. Her film credits include “School of Rock,” “Dreamgirls,” “Enchanted” and “My Week with Marilyn.”

Jules Fisher, Class of 1960

  • Best Lighting Design of a Musical for “Once on This Island”
  • Best Lighting Design of a Play for “The Iceman Cometh”
One of the world’s foremost theatrical lighting designers, Jules Fisher has won a record nine Tony Awards for best lighting design — a category he has been nominated for 12 times. Credited with lighting designs for more than 200 Broadway and off-Broadway productions, during his 50-year career Fisher has also worked extensively in film, ballet, opera and television. He and fellow CMU alumna Peggy Eisenhauer have been professional partners since 1985, having formed Third Eye Studio, a firm specializing in entertainment and theater lighting.

Grey Henson, Class of 2012

  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical as Damien in “Mean Girls”
Hailed as the breakout star of Broadway’s “Mean Girls,” Grey Henson made his Broadway debut playing Elder McKinley in “The Book of Mormon,” a role he also portrayed in the musical’s national tour. On television he has guest-starred on ABC’s comedy “Suburgatory.”

Peter Hylenski, Class of 1997

  • Best Sound Design of a Musical for “Once on This Island”
Peter Hylenski has provided sound designs for over 30 Broadway productions including “Shrek the Musical,” “Cry-Baby,” “Motown the Musical,” “The Wedding Singer” and “Sweet Charity.” He received his first of four Tony nominations in 2009 for his sound design for “Rock of Ages.” Hylenski also has been nominated for Olivier, Grammy and Drama Desk Awards. He’s designed for Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall and the Kennedy Center. Upcoming projects include Broadway’s “King Kong” and “The Prom.”

Ann Roth, Class of 1953

  • Best Costume Design of a Musical for “Carousel”
  • Best Costume Design of a Play for “Three Tall Women” and “The Iceman Cometh”
Anne Roth is among the most accomplished and prolific costume designers in history, with more than 100 films and dozens of Broadway credits to her name. She has won Academy, BAFTA, Drama Desk and Tony awards. Her first Tony Award win was in 2013 for “The Nance”; she has been nominated a total of six times. She is also the recipient of an Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the highest honors in American Costume Design. Roth has more than 50 additional Broadway credits.

Excellence in Theatre Education Award Winner Will Be Recognized at the Tony Awards

The Excellence in Theatre Education Award annually recognizes theater educators in the U.S. who demonstrate monumental impact on the lives of students and who embody the highest standards of the profession. CMU is the exclusive higher education partner of the Tony Awards, and the two organizations launched the award as part of the collaboration. CMU alumnus, actor and producer Zachary Quinto is serving as the national award ambassador this year.

A panel of judges composed of the American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, CMU and other leaders from the theater industry select the finalists and winner. School of Drama Head Peter Cooke, AM, Ph.D., and alumnus Grey Henson represented CMU as judges. A single winner will be selected to receive the Excellence in Theatre Education Award and recognized at the Tony Awards.

Carnegie Mellon alumni have won 44 Tony Awards. CMU’s School of Drama is the oldest degree-granting drama program in the United States and consistently ranks as one of the world’s best drama schools. The school is recognized as an international leader in arts and technology. Year after year, the School of Drama produces graduates who go on to do award-winning work, both on stage and behind the scenes.