Dayton Daily News: Tony Awards airing Sunday include Wright State connections

Tilly Evans-Krueger received the 2024 Chita Rivera Award for Outstanding Dancer in a Broadway Musical in “The Outsiders.”

The 77th annual Tony Awards, airing Sunday, June 16, live from Lincoln Center in New York City, will notably incorporate four connections to Wright State University.

2014 Wright State University dance alumna Tilly Evans-Krueger is the associate choreographer and an ensemble member of “The Outsiders,” nominated for 12 Tonys including Best Musical and Best Choreography. In addition to performing with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company while studying dance, her credits include Broadway’s “Moulin Rouge!,” off-Broadway’s “The Lucky Ones,” “Rent Live!,” the film version of “In the Heights,” and Ariana Grande’s music video “yes, and?”

In “The Outsiders,” movingly led by Tony nominee Brody Grant as soul-searching Ponyboy, Evans-Krueger is among the working-class Greasers who brings fierce physicality to an extraordinarily choreographed Act 2 rumble against the privileged Socs.

In addition Evans-Krueger received the 2024 Chita Rivera Award for Outstanding Dancer in a Broadway Show.

“It’s so crazy to be recognized as a dancer — it doesn’t happen very often,” Evans-Krueger said in her acceptance speech. “(Dancers) are the hardest-working people ever and the most selfless people. We do this because we truly love it… And I live by the quote by Kendrick Lamar: If I’m generous at heart, I don’t need recognition. The way I’m rewarded, well, that’s God’s decision.”

“When you watch Tilly, the passion to move oozes out of every pore,” said Marya Spring Cordes, faculty member, Associate Chair and the Artistic Director of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Wright State.

The electrifying production of “The Who’s Tommy,” nominated for Best Revival of a Musical, features 2022 Wright State University musical theatre alumna Tassy Kirbas in the ensemble and as the Acid Queen understudy. In 2022 Kirbas delivered a phenomenal portrayal of Charity Hope Valentine in Wright State’s production of “Sweet Charity,” directed by Cordes.

“WSU audiences knew as they watched Tassy’s triple threat prowess as the lead role in ‘Sweet Charity’ only two short years ago that we were witnessing greatness,” Cordes recalled. “It was my great privilege to direct Tassy as we created the production together. Her spirit twinkles through her eyes in a way that lights up any room and any stage from Ohio to NYC.”

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