Colman Domingo Organizes Pre-Tonys Dinner Celebrating Black Broadway

 Colman Domingo Organizes Pre-Tonys Dinner Celebrating Black Broadway


The actor and “Fat Ham” producer gathered a group of friends at Panorama Room on Saturday to mark the moment with Zacapa Rum.

The actor, who also serves as a producer for “Fat Ham,” organized a gathering of friends at Panorama Room on Saturday. Zacapa Rum was chosen as the beverage of choice for this special celebration.

“It was a golden season on Broadway,” said Colman Domingo as the light streamed through the windows at Roosevelt Island rooftop venue Panorama Room. “We have so many diverse stories, people of color in leading roles, stories about women, deconstructed versions of ‘A Doll’s House.’ I feel like everyone is feeling this, they’re feeling that love.”

During his visit to the city, the actor from Los Angeles hosted a celebratory dinner for his Black theater colleagues, cohosted by Zacapa Rum. This event took place on Saturday, the night before the Tony Awards, where he received a nomination as a producer for the play “Fat Ham.”

Inside Pre-Tonys Dinner with Colman Domingo

“I thought this was a unique opportunity for us to come together, because we don’t get those opportunities often,” he said, nodding to his partnership with the spirits brand, also a sponsor of this year’s Tony Awards.

“Fat Ham” transferred to Broadway earlier this spring after a successful run at the Public Theater, where Domingo fell in love with the new rendition of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” told through the lens of a young queer man at a family barbecue in the South.

“I was so taken aback of what I saw, I immediately rushed to Saheem Ali, who’s a colleague of mine and the director, and said, ‘I need to be a part of this. What’s happening? This should be on Broadway,’” said Domingo, stressing the importance of promoting diversity on the producing and financing side of theater. “That’s how we get the diverse stories. That’s how we make sure that we’re telling all stories,” he added.

As an actor, Domingo is starring in two major films with theater roots coming out later this year: “Rustin” directed by theater legend George C. Wolfe, and a new adaptation of “The Color Purple.”

“It’s me stepping into my leading man phase,” he said. “The way I’ve led is hopefully with love and grace and things that I’ve learned from the theater, which is about making community and making sure that everyone’s empowered to tell one good story. We leave the ego out of the room.”

Amber Ruffin, LaChanze Rose Gooding and Lena Waithe

While Domingo was excited to celebrate the success of “Fat Ham” — the show recently extended its run and picked up five Tony nominations — he was most eager to gather and celebrate the wider Black theater community.

Many of the season’s nominees had made the trek over to Roosevelt Island for the occasion. There were the “Fat Ham” nominees — Pulitzer-winning playwright James Ijames, director Saheem Ali and featured actress Nikki Crawford — along with “Ain’t No Mo” star and writer Jordan E. Cooper, and producer Lena Waithe; “New York, New York” book cowriter Sharon Washington, and several best leading actor nominees: Stephen McKinley Henderson, Wendell Pierce and Corey Hawkins. During dinner, the three Juilliard alum compared their respective drama “Group” numbers — 1, 14 and 40.

Prior to assembling around the room’s expansive table adorned with a striking floral installation, Domingo extended an invitation to his guests to gather on the terrace.

“I wanted to throw a dinner to acknowledge not only the Tony Award nominees of a darker hue, but we also have some guests from a season they didn’t get their shine, during the pandemic season,” said Domingo, as the group applauded “Some Like It Hot” cowriter Amber Ruffin and “Tina Turner” star Adrienne Warren. “Tonight this dinner is for you. We want to love on you, tell you to keep going, keep shining the light you’re doing, keep creating incredible work like you’re doing,” added Domingo.

Jeremy O. Harris stopped by later in the evening, and Domingo made sure the playwright was also given a moment of recognition. But first, he passed the mic to Henderson, inviting him to share a few words about the significance of the moment.

“We are here with so many others. I’ve been thinking of brothers and sisters that I worked with and been with. The great Esther Rolle told me a long time ago, she said, you don’t want to pick at a sore, but you don’t want to forget one either,” said Henderson, the city skyline stretching behind him. “We got here because we did it. We did the work.”

Throughout the evening, Domingo ensured that the microphone was passed around, and he then invited Jonathan McCrory, his co-producer for “Fat Ham,” to deliver a pre-dinner blessing.

“What a blessing it is to have clear skies when we had red skies a couple days ago, a blessing to be affirmed, to come together, of fellowship,” McCrory said. “Tomorrow isn’t about an accomplishment, it’s about a reckoning, it’s about knowing we were given the space to be seen, and tomorrow it’s as if we already won. We don’t need acknowledgment, any beyond what we just got: I am a Tony nominated human, and the acknowledgement of that is rarefied air.”

“May tomorrow be a day where we celebrate every last second, and be reminded that we are winners.”

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