Live Tweeting the 2016 Tony Awards
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Live Tweeting the 2016 Tony Awards

Our performing arts critic and entertainment staff will be live tweeting during the 70th Annual Tony Awards. Join the conversation using #tbtTonys on Twitter!

  • Ephraim Sykes’ dad is pastor of St. Petersburg’s Bethel Community Baptist Church | Associated Press

    Look for St. Petersburg's Ephraim Sykes in 'Hamilton' during Sunday's Tony Awards


    Andrew Meacham, Times Staff Writer

    Regardless of who wins what, the 70th annual Tony Awards will likely be memorable due to Hamilton. The show has already garnered a record 16 nominations.

    For the Rev. Manuel Sykes, Sunday's awards show is especially thrilling. His son, Ephraim Sykes, will be dancing in the ensemble during the show. Sykes also plays George Eacker, who shoots Hamilton's son Philip in the Broadway show.

    Ephraim, 30, grew up in St. Petersburg, where his father is pastor of Bethel Community Baptist Church. He played baseball and attended Perkins Elementary, John Hopkins Middle School and Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School.

    Hamilton is his fourth Broadway production. He received Astaire Award nominations for outstanding male dancer in a Broadway show for Memphis and Newsies and as part of the Hamiltonensemble. Sykes also danced in the ensemble of Motown: The Musical and served as understudy to the part of Gator.

    He has danced in two prior Tony shows, his father said, but this performance carries a bigger weight for his son.

    "He knew this thing was a game changer from the beginning. That's what makes it special."

    READ MORE....

  • Before there was 'Hamilton,' there were these groundbreaking musicals

    Andrew Meacham, Times Staff Writer

    Lin-Manuel Miranda came to his friend with news of a new musical he was working on.
    Tom Kitt clearly remembers the day six years ago. Kitt, a composer who won a Pulitzer that year for Next to Normal, had teamed with Miranda in Bring It On, about the crazy world of competitive cheerleading. Now Miranda, a budding superbrain who had already won an original score Tony award for his rap-and-salsa musical In the Heights, was talking an altogether different concept:


    A hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton.

    "When we were working on Bring It On, he was just beginning to work on it," Kitt said. "We were talking about it. He was showing me some of the things he was doing, and playing for me. And you just knew it was going to be something special."

    Now Hamilton is the rage of Broadway, destined to leave a permanent mark on the musical genre. People talk about Miranda, 36, as a genius who almost single-handedly created a "game changer," words we blurt out when we're not sure how to express astonishment. Some reports say Miranda will leave the production July 9, when his contract to play Hamilton ends.

    This much is not in doubt. At the Tonys on June 12, Hamilton will be richly rewarded. Already voters have nominated the show for a record 16 awards.

    The hoopla follows a long line of shows that in some way altered musical theater. Some left subtle imprints. Others felt more cataclysmic. Some gained instant attention, and others were appreciated in retrospect.

    All feel necessary.



    Sunday evening's Tony Awards have been dedicated to those affected by the Orlando nightclub shooting that killed at least 50 people.

    In a statement Sunday, the Tony Awards said "our hearts are heavy for the unimaginable tragedy." The awards, it said, will be dedicated to the friends and family of those affected by the most deadly mass shooting in U.S. history.

    Organizers didn't say how the evening's broadcast would be affected. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the star and creator of "Hamilton" — expected to be the night's big winner — tweeted a rainbow-colored heart with "Orlando" written beneath it.

    The Tonys are to be hosted by late-night host James Corden.

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