Wright State University musical theatre graduate Joey Monda of Sing Out, Louise! Productions won his second Tony Award Sunday. He was one of the producers of Matthew Lopez’s gay-themed drama “The Inheritance,” named Best Play at the Tony Awards.
Inspired by E.M. Forster’s “Howards End,” “The Inheritance” addresses the desires, pitfalls, complications, and tragedies within New York City’s gay community circa 2015 to 2018. A close circle of friends is put to the test when budding playwright Toby Darling (Tony winner Andrew Burnap) and his activist-boyfriend Eric Glass (Kyle Soller) breakup and enter new relationships. As matters of love challenge and evolve, the characters become effective catalysts particularly questioning the responsibility of gay men to gay culture, especially for a generation without significant knowledge of gay icons or the AIDS epidemic.
For example, over brunch with his friends leading to flavorful discussion about the kitschy nature of camp and Sean Penn winning an Academy Award for portraying Harvey Milk, Eric ponders the future of the gay community and gay identity:
“American students are taught nothing about the famous queers throughout history. All my life I was taught the Shoah but it wasn’t until I was in college and saw a student production of ‘Bent’ that I learned they threw queers in the gas chambers, too. Kids aren’t taught about Harvey Milk, Bayard Rustin, Stonewall, the Plague Years. And yet Tristan’s 14-year-old niece knows ‘Yas Queen’ because of ‘Broad City.’ It feels like we’re getting stripped for parts and the inside is hollowing out. It honestly feels like the community that I came up in is slowly fading away.”
A modern companion to Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America” in tone and scope, “The Inheritance” notably received the Olivier Award for its London premiere in 2018. In addition to Tonys for Best Play and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play, the production won for Best Direction of a Play (Stephen Daldry) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (Lois Smith).
“It feels remarkable,” said Monda on his second Tony win. “So happy for Matthew, Stephen, Andrew and Lois.”
The Youngstown native, who earned his bachelor of fine arts degree in 2012, previously won a Tony for producing the 2019 Best Musical “Hadestown.” He was also nominated this year for producing Jeremy O. Harris’ racial drama “Slave Play,” which will return to Broadway in November.