Heading into the 74th Annual Tony Awards, many theater critics believed Jeremy O. Harris and company would come home with the night's top prize for their work on the Broadway hit, Slave Play. However, these bold predictions ended up falling short of reality. Despite earning a record-breaking 12 nominations, Slave Play went winless at the 74th Annual Tony Awards. This turn of events sparked a discussion that has grasped much of Broadway.
"Slave Play doesn’t need recognition from this messy establishment to live on as a challenge to artists to write about what scares you, to cut yourself open and let audiences stare at your beautiful and bloody guts," Pulitzer Prize finalist Michael Breslin tweeted.
"The Slave Play shutout is embarrassing. And not for Slave Play," author Mark Harris added.
While many were upset that the production was shut out after receiving a dozen nominations, others were relieved that it did not win any awards. Written by Harris, the film explores the intersections of race, power, culture and economics, but it has been heavily criticized for the treatment of Black women throughout the play.
"The disconnect between white and black people over Slave Play is fascinating and indicative of how little black people are actually listened to in matters of anti-racism. Major award shows are biased against black creatives but lets not hitch ourselves to a burning wagon," USA Today's Dean P.E. Stephens tweeted.
In the midst of this back and forth regarding Slave Play's Tony Awards shutout, Harris hopped on to Twitter to share a few thoughts on the matter.
Slave Play has never won one of the major awards of any of the great voting bodies but changed culture and has inspired thousands of ppl who didn’t care about theatre before," Harris tweeted.
"I saw someone randomly reading the play in Slovenia. We already won."
In addition, Harris announced that Slave Play would be returning to Broadway this fall.
“‘Slave Play’s return engagement marks for me a chance for New York and the world to re-meet a play that many met at New York Theatre Workshop and Broadway in 2018 and 2019, and that thousands of others met in its published edition in a year when theaters around the world were dark," Harris said in a statement to Variety.
“To be doing it in 2021 with the Kaneisha who originated the role at Yale and members of the original cast fills me with the same joy I had I had watching the play for the very first time in a classroom five years ago.”