“This time last year, I picked up my diploma graduating from Juilliard, so to be holding this is insane!” With these words, Alex Sharp accepted his best-actor award, in the process becoming the latest Juilliard alum to receive a Tony. Other winners at the June ceremony were Sam Gold (Directing ’06), who won the best director of a musical for Fun Home, and legendary lyricist Stephen Schwartz (Pre-College ’64), who won a special Tony. Steven Boyer (Group 30) was nominated for best actor for his role in Hand to God. Congratulations to all of them!
Alex Sharp (Group 43) was cast last spring (he was directing his student-initiated project at Juilliard when he got the call) in the role of 15-year-old Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The play won four other Tonys, including best new play. As Sharp said in his acceptance speech, “this is a play about a young person who is different and who is misunderstood”—Christopher is presumed to be autistic. Preparing for the role, he told The Journal shortly after the play opened last fall, was “massively challenging—physically, vocally, and emotionally.” Sharp dedicated his Tony to anyone who feels misunderstood and different.
In the nine years since he completed Juilliard’s directing program, Sam Gold has directed nearly 20 plays on and Off Broadway. Fun Home, which was originally produced at the Public Theater, is a musical based on graphic novelist Alison Bechdel’s memoir of the same name. When Gold started working on it, he told The Journal last year, “we could have turned that whole stage into a living graphic novel, but I wanted to use theater’s language to tell the story, and that meant we wound up stripping away everything out of the book and doing the show on an empty stage with a bunch of props and furniture, and using one image at the end.” Overall, the play won five Tonys including best new musical.
Stephen Schwartz, who studied piano and composition in Juilliard’s Pre-College, won the Isabelle Stevenson Award for contributions to humanitarian, social service, or charitable organizations. Schwartz’s storied career as a musical theater composer and lyricist reaches back to his bursting on the scene with Godspell in 1971 and includes Pippin, Wicked, and many more plays and movies. In 2008, he became the first songwriter in Broadway history to have three shows run more than 1,900 performances. Schwartz’s commitment to serving artists and fostering new talent was cited in the presentation of his award.