Chris Akerlind (CFA’85) Nominated for Tony Award
In the slideshow above, see some of the work of lighting designer Christopher Akerlind, a Tony Award nominee this year for The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. Akerlind has done the lighting design for more than 600 productions during his close to three-decade career.
Chris Akerlind woke up on May 1 knowing the day was going to be special: he was turning 50. Then his agent called with good news: he’d just been nominated for a Tony Award—Broadway’s highest accolade—for his lighting design for The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, which garnered 10 nominations. The awards ceremony will be televised this Sunday, June 10, at 8 p.m.
Since graduating from BU, Akerlind (CFA’85) has become one of the country’s busiest—and most in-demand—lighting designers. Over almost three decades, he has created lighting for more than 600 productions staged by some of the world’s leading opera and theater companies. His Broadway credits include 17 musicals and dramas. This year’s Tony nomination marks his fifth (he won the award in 2005 for A Light in the Piazza) and he has received many other honors, including a Drama Desk Award and an Obie Award for sustained excellence for his work Off-Broadway.
Working on roughly 25 productions a year, says Akerlind, has taught him that “all new projects bring new challenges. A life in the theater is like learning all the time, a perpetual kind of undergrad experience: new collaborator group dynamics, new spaces, new texts, new cities, not to mention that this work keeps me so aware of how I change and/or stay the same over time.”
Akerlind isn’t the only BU alum nominated for a Tony this season. Six producers with ties to BU will be sitting in the audience of the Beacon Theater hoping to hear their names called. They are Allan S. Gordon (LAW’65), who earned two nominations, for best play (Peter and the Starcatcher) and best revival of a musical (Evita); Stuart Lane (CFA’73), nominated for best revival of a play (Gore Vidal’s The Best Man); James L. Nederlander (CGS’80), who also scored two nominations, both in the category of best revival of a musical (Follies and Evita); Jon B. Platt (CGS’74), who has an astonishing four nominations in three categories: best musical (Nice Work if You Can Get It), best play (Clybourne Park and Venus in Fur), and best revival of a play (Death of a Salesman); Takonkiet Viravan (COM’90), nominated for best musical (Nice Work if You Can Get It); and Frederick Zollo (CAS’75), for best musical (Once).
The Tony Awards ceremony will be broadcast on CBS this Sunday, June 10, at 8 p.m. EDT.