Carnegie Mellon University
September 23, 2021

Carnegie Mellon Alumni Abound as Broadway Curtains Rise Again

The Tony Awards are this Sunday, Sept. 26, on Paramount+ and CBS

Ryan Scarpino
  • University Communications & Marketing
  • 412-268-2902
Pam Wigley
  • College of Fine Arts
  • 412-268-1047

After a pandemic-induced hiatus, the longest in its 74-year history, the Tony Awards return Sunday, Sept, 26, to celebrate honorees spanning the 2019-2020 seasons. The awards ceremony will air live from New York City's Winter Garden Theatre on Paramount+ at 7 p.m. EST, followed by a live two-hour concert event to celebrate the return of Broadway on CBS at 9 p.m. EST.

Leslie Odom, Jr., a 2003 alumnus of Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama, will host Sunday's live CBS concert, "The Tony Awards Present: Broadway's Back!" Odom won a 2016 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his work on the blockbuster "Hamilton." He also earned a Grammy for the cast album. Odom, who has been twice nominated for an Academy Award and received critical acclaim for his recent portrayal of the legendary Sam Cooke in "One Night in Miami," has a star turn in the upcoming "Sopranos" prequel, "The Many Saints of Newark," in movie theaters next month.

Odom's fellow CMU alumni have earned a total of 50 Tony Awards to date and are poised to potentially increase that tally on Sunday night. Three CMU School of Drama alumni received a total of six Tony Award nominations for their work in 2019-2020. This marks the 12th consecutive awards season that at least one Carnegie Mellon graduate has received a nomination.

The Tony-nominated CMU alumni are:

  • Producer Jamie deRoy, a 1967 Carnegie Mellon alumna, received a total of four nominations in three categories: "The Inheritance" and "Slave Play" (Best Play); "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune" (Best Revival of a Play); and "Tina — The Tina Turner Musical" (Best Musical)
  • Sound designer Peter Hylenski, a 1997 alumnus, earned one nomination for Best Sound Design of a Musical for "Moulin Rouge! The Musical."
  • Actor Blair Underwood, a 1988 alumnus, received a nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for "A Soldier's Play."

"The Carnegie Mellon University community is delighted to celebrate the return of the Tony Awards, and to shine a spotlight on the talented CMU alumni who have been nominated," said Farnam Jahanian, president of Carnegie Mellon University. "The pandemic has reminded us of the incredible power of live theater, and as we look toward a safe return for Broadway, we salute all those performers and artists who continue to inspire us — onstage, behind the curtain, in our classrooms and around the world."

CMU has a long tradition of producing top talent — actors, musicians, writers, technicians, designers, producers and more — across the entertainment industry. CMU is the first, exclusive higher education partner of the Tony Awards. Its School of Drama is the oldest degree-granting drama school in the country and consistently ranks as one of the world's best drama schools.

Learn more information about CMU and The Tony Awards.

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