Three Elon alumni and a member of the Class of 2022 took to the stage during the annual celebration of Broadway theatre.
Elon University’s Department of Performing Arts was well-represented during Sunday night’s 72nd Annual Tony Awards, with alumni and a future student in the musical theatre program taking to the stage to wow audiences.
Generating plenty of talk following the awards show was the emotional performance of Rent’s “Seasons of Love” by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in honor of their theatre teacher, Melody Herzfeld, who was named the recipient of the 2018 Excellence in Theatre Education Award. Herzfeld saved dozens of lives during a shooting at the school earlier this year during which 17 were killed.
Delivering the solo from the well-known Broadway hit was Kali Clougherty, who sang, “Remember the love. You know the love is a gift from up above,” and caused the crowd to erupt in applause.
Clougherty, who graduated earlier this month from Marjory Stoneman Douglas, will attend Elon this fall, having been accepted into the Department of Performing Arts’ musical theatre program as a member of the Class of 2022. On Twitter, Clougherty said the opportunity to perform at the Tonys was “a dream come true.”
As noted in an article in the Miami Herald, celebrities in the audience were obviously moved by Clougherty’s performance. “Broadway star Nathan Lane was smiling broadly,” reporter Madeline Marr with the Miami Herald wrote. “‘Roseanne’ star Laurie Metcalfe was choking back tears. Comedian Tina Fey clapped wildly.”
Clougherty and her schoolmates were interviewed Monday morning on the Today Show, with their performance generating headlines around the country.
During the show’s “In Memoriam” segment, members of the cast of the Broadway hit “Dear Evan Hansen” performed, including Taylor Trensch ’11, who earlier this year joined the cast as the title character in the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit. Trensch had previously finished a 10-month run as Barnaby Tucker in “Hello, Dolly!”
Trensch and the rest of the cast performed “For Forever” from “Dear Evan Hansen.”
The Tony Awards audience also heard from another 2011 alum, Barrett Wilbert Weed, who performed “Where Do You Belong?” with her castmates from “Mean Girls,” a stage adaptation of the hit movie from comedian Tina Fey. “Mean Girls” was nominated for 12 Tony Awards this year, with eight shows a week on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre.
Playing the role of Janis Sarkisian in “Mean Girls,” Weed recently performed one of the show’s hits, “I’d Rather Be Me,” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and was featured in an article in Variety, “Barrett Wilbert Weed on Her Memorable ‘Mean Girls’ and ‘Heathers’ Stage Roles, Dream Gig.“
Mackenzie Bell ’09 also took the stage during the Tony Awards as part of the performance from “Summer, The Donna Summer Musical.” Bell is currently playing David Geffen/Detective in the show at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway.