They Brought Us the Works That Shaped This Year’s Tony Nominees

Amid the songs, dances and celebrations, the Tony Awards ceremony on Sunday night will take a melancholy pause for the theater world people who have died in the past year. This time around, one of those will be the thrice-nominated Marin Mazzie, who died on Sept. 13 and will be granted a special Tony.

But countless other writers, choreographers and actors from the past have laid the groundwork for many of the shows up for the 2019 Tonys. Some are playwrights whose works are in the revival category (Arthur Miller of “All My Sons” and Lanford Wilson of “Burn This”); others gave birth to movies that inspired shows (Larry Gelbart, “Tootsie,” and Paddy Chayefsky, Peter Finch and Sidney Lumet, “Network”). The life of one actress inspired a new play (Sarah Bernhardt, “Bernhardt/Hamlet”).

For most of them, The New York Times wrote obituaries. Revisiting these lives and their legacies deepens our appreciation for the works that will be recognized at this year’s awards evening. Here is a sampling.

Arthur Miller’s play was originally produced in 1947 and opened at the Coronet Theater on Broadway. The Roundabout Theater’s production, directed by Jack O’Brien, is a nominee for best revival of a play. Miller was 89 when he died in 2005, and his obituary ran on the front page of The Times.


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