Pinoy producer wins Tony Award

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

NEW YORK – A murderous musical called “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” came out as the 68th Annual Tony Awards’ biggest winner on Sunday night.

“Gentleman’s Guide” won four Tonys out of its 10 nominations — including Best Musical, Best Costume, Best Direction, and Best Book of a Musical.

Denzel Washington’s “A Raisin in the Sun” won a Tony for Best Revival of a Play.

But what many kababayans do not know is that behind these productions is a Tony-winning Filipino.

Jhett Tolentino, of JoanJhett Productions, was the recipient of two Tonys on Sunday night as co-producer of the two shows.

Tolentino, an Iloilo native, is the third Filipino to receive a Tony following Lea Salonga’s Best Lead Actress in a Musical award and Robert Bobby Lopez’s two Best Original Score and Best Book wins.

“I kept thinking of Lea Salonga and Bobby Lopez, those Filipinos who’ve been there. I’m carrying the tradition that we have to be represented every year. And I’m so honored to be in the producing side,” he said.

This is also his second and third Tony win after receiving his first one last year for co-producing “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” — the 2013 Tony winner for Best Play.

“It’s a home run, it’s fantastic. I’m so appreciative of all the love of the community and all the supporters, really. Thank you, thank you, and bringing pride to the Pinoys,” Tolentino said.

Meantime, award-winning Filipino-American Broadway star Adam Jacobs, who plays the lead role in the Tony-nominated musical “Aladdin”, performed live at the Radio City Music Hall last night.

“Oh my God, I still believe he is our Hugh Jackman in the Filipino community, and I’m so glad he got the Drama Desk nomination for the lead actor. He’s underrated.

He has to be there. I can’t wait for him to be up there, too, to get a Tony himself,” Tolentino said.

Tolentino is also one of the producers of another 2014 Tony-nominated play “The Velocity of Autumn,” as well as the hit musical “Here Lies Love.”

You may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com

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