Two USC School of Dramatic Arts alumni were among the 2013 Tony Award nominees announced on April 30.
Charl Brown received a nomination for best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical for Motown: The Musical. Stark Sands was nominated for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical for Kinky Boots, which leads the nominations with a total of 13, including for best musical.
This marks the first Tony nod for Brown; Sands was previously nominated for best featured actor in a play for his work in Journey’s End in 2007.
“The stars have really aligned for me, and I’m not sure why, but I’m very grateful,” said Sands, who credits his training at USC and a measure of good luck for the work he has booked since graduation.
In Kinky Boots, Sands plays the lead Charlie Price, a shoe factory owner who must find a way to keep his late father’s business afloat. In search of a solution, Price runs into a drag queen named Lola, who gives him the idea of producing high heel boots that can support a man’s weight.
The Chicago Tribune declared that Sands “offers up a genuinely affecting and potent leading performance with a strong emotional center” and The New York Times hailed his performance as “terrific.”
For his role in Motown, Brown performs as the famous singer Smokey Robinson in the musical recount of the life of iconic Motown founder Berry Gordy and his creation of the legendary record label.
Reviewers have said Brown’s “honeyed croon replicates Mr. Robinson’s convincingly” (The New York Times), and his performance is “warm-centered” (Chicago Tribune) and “true-blue” (New York Daily News).
The 67th Annual Tony Awards will be broadcast on CBS from Radio City Music Hall on June 9. For the full list of nominations, visit the official Tony Awards website.