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CMU grads take the spotlight in Tony nominations

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 10:54 a.m.

Pittsburgh talent has received its share of Tony attention.

East Liberty native Billy Porter received a Tony nomination as best actor in a leading role in a musical for his performance as Lola in “Kinky Boots.”

This is the first Tony nomination for Porter, who graduated from CAPA in 1987 and the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in 1991. He also studied at the CLO Academy and performed as a CLO Mini-Star.

Five other Carnegie Mellon University graduates also received nominations:

• Patina Miller, who graduated from the School of Drama in 2006, received a nomination for best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical. She plays Leading Player in the revival of “Pippin,” which has a score written by Stephen Schwartz, a 1968 graduate of Carnegie Mellon's drama department.

• Judith Light, a 1970 graduate, was nominated for best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play for her portrayal of Faye in “The Assembled Parties.” This is Light's third Tony nomination. Last year, she won the Tony as featured actress in a play for her work in “Other Desert Cities.”

• Ann Roth, a 1953 graduate, received a nomination for best costume design of a play for “The Nance,” which stars Nathan Lane. She has six previous Tony nominations — five for best costumes and one for best producer of a play.

• Jules Fisher, who graduated in 1960, and Peggy Eisenhauer who graduated in 1983, received a nomination for best lighting design of a play for their work on “Lucky Guy,” which marks Tom Hanks' Broadway debut. Fisher is an eight-time Tony winner and has been nominated 21 times — 20 for best lighting design and one a best musical producer. Eisenhauer has won two Tonys and has received eight Tony nominations for lighting design.

• Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera is among the investors in two nominees for best musical — “Kinky Boots” and “Matilda: The Musical” — and “Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella,” which was nominated for best revival of a musical.

Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808 or

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