Theater alumna Judy Kaye ’73 takes home her second Tony™ Award
“Featured Role in a Musical” nod for “Nice Work If You Can Get It”
Classically trained opera and Broadway singer Judy Kaye ’73 has won a 2012 Tony® award for her performance in the Featured Role of Estonia Dulworth in the hit musical “Nice Work if You Can Get It.” Starring Matthew Broderick, the show is an original production built around the classic songs of George and Ira Gershwin.
The award is Kaye’s second turn in the Tony® spotlight. She won in the same category in 1988 for her performance as Carlotta in “The Phantom of the Opera.” She was also Tony®-nominated in 2002 for “Mamma Mia!” and in 2006 for “Souvenir.”
In her televised acceptance speech, Kaye dedicated the award to the memory of her father, who had passed away a week earlier.
Kaye got her start when she was cast out of UCLA in 1968 to play Lucy in the Los Angeles company of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” She was the first Rizzo in the national tour of “Grease,” originated the role of Emma Goldman in “Ragtime” and played the maid, Agnes, in “On the Twentieth Century.” Kaye has appeared with the Santa Fe Opera, the New York City Opera, the New York Philharmonic and the London Symphony, singing Musetta in “La Boheme,” Lucy in “The Beggar’s Opera” and Eurydice in “Orpheus in the Underworld.” She returned to the New York City Opera for its 2005 production of “Candide.”
Born in Tokyo, Japan, to a family of an opera singer and a journalist of NHK and educators, Natsuo Tomita began her ballet training at the Tokyo Ballet Company Junior School. Wanting to broaden her dance education, she moved to New York City in her teens to attend the New York Conservatory of Dance and study with several renowned teachers, including David Howard, Robert Denvers, Finis Jhung, and Magi Black and Rebecca Wright of ABT, and Ballet and Barre au Sol from Marc du Bouays of Paris Opera.
As a professional dancer, she has performed and traveled with companies such as the Garden State Ballet, Omaha Ballet, Nevada Dance Company and Aponte and Friends. Inspired by Christopher Aponte of Roland Petit and Alvin Ailey. Tomita started to choreograph with Mr. Aponte and creating her own works, drawing her influence from neo-classical contemporary dance. Following a move to Los Angeles, Tomita began working extensively in front of the camera. She has appeared in many commercials and worked on several music video and shows with Michael Jackson. She embarked on acting and joined Sal Romeo’s Friends and Artists theater group, where she received training for film and stage acting, directing and producing. Her feature film appearances include For the Boys with Bette Midler, I’ll Do Anything with Twyla Tharp, and Memoirs of Geisha, directed by Rob Marshall. She was also a guest star on the TV dramas Viper and Vengeance UnlimitedAmerican Way and King of Darkness.
Tomita’s directorial debut, Lolita, was an experimental multimedia theater piece, combining acting, dancing, music and film. It premiered in July 2003 and has been featured at the Moving Picture Theater Festival at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, Caught Between at The Iver Theater and Hysterica at Open Fist Theater. The work Wide Eyes Open, expressing world peace in dance and text, premiered in Barcelona and Madrid in 2005. In fall 2007 Tomita expand her talent to direct a play My Werewolf, written by John Schneider and originally performed at Theater X. Her innovative multimedia take on this play was a collaboration with composer Akira Rabelaiy and sound artist Andy Haye. My Werewolf was well received by the Los Angeles Times and was chosen as a Pick of the Week. Her choreography work Water from the Moon II premiered in 2007 New Perspectives at the El Portal Theater. Tomita had the opportunity to create the multimedia piece Musk in 2009, with political poet Steven Connell, for a fundraiser to support victims of sexual violence and to promote a humanitarian organization Pave.
Passing on her knowledge of the arts and ballet to young and talented dancers continues to be an enriching experience for her. Currently Tomita is a faculty member of the WAC/Dance department, and director for musical theater in dance for the U.S. Performing Arts Camp and UCLA TFT Summer Institute. She is also an instructor at Legacy Dance Academy, Born to Play Production, and the Edge Performing Arts, and runs a summer workshop in Tokyo.
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Peggy Hickey is an award-winning choreographer and one of the most versatile artists today, working extensively in theater, opera, film and television. Hickey’s Broadway credits include Anastasia (April 2017), A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (2014 Tony Award, Best Musical); and the world premiere/pre-Broadway production of Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre (June 2017). She will also direct and choreograph the upcoming national tour of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Fall 2017). Other New York credits include My Fair Lady, starring Kelli O’Hara, Kelsey Grammer and Brian Dennehy, at Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic; Cinderella for the Little Orchestra Society of New York at Lincoln Center; and several productions at New York City Opera at Lincoln Center including The Most Happy Fella, starring Paul Sorvino; Lucky to Be Me and The Music of Leonard Bernstein. Hickey also collaborated with Monty Python’s Eric Idle on An Evening Without Monty Python, which played in New York and Los Angeles.
She was awarded the MTV Video Music Award for Best Choreography for her work on Grammy-Award winner Beck’s The New Pollution. She choreographed the Spring Awakening sequences on the hit CW series 90210; the episode “So I Think I Can Dance” for Christina Applegate’s ABC series Samantha Who?; and was nominated for an MTV Movie Award in the category of Best Dance Sequence in a Feature Film for her work on Paramount’s The Brady Bunch Movie. Hickey choreographed the “Nurses Ball” episodes on ABC’s General Hospital for eight consecutive seasons as well as the “Jailhouse Tango” episode of NBC’s Passions.
Hickey is a 2014 Outer Critics Circle nominee for her choreography on A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and a two-time recipient of the Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Choreography for Brigadoon and On the Twentieth Century at the renowned Goodspeed Musicals in Connecticut.
Also for Goodspeed, she choreographed King of Hearts, A Little Night Music, Amour and the recent revival of Carnival. Other credits include Oklahoma! at the Paper Mill Playhouse; The Music Man (starring Shirley Jones and Patrick Cassidy) for Hartford’s Bushnell Theatre; and Gigi and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum for Los Angeles’ Reprise. She’s also done many productions for Music Theatre Wichita, Sacramento Music Circus and Casa Mañana.
Hickey also works extensively in opera, and has collaborated with such renowned artists as Plácido Domingo, Samuel Ramey, Denyce Graves, Susan Graham, Jonathan Kent and Franco Zeffirelli, among others. Her work has been performed at Los Angeles Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Santa Fe Opera, Palm Beach Opera, and the Julliard School, where she choreographed Hansel und Gretel with sets and costumes by Maurice Sendak, which was subsequently televised on PBS’ Live from Lincoln Center. Internationally, Hickey choreographed La Cenerentola and Ballo en Mascara at the Hong Kong Arts Festival; Don Giovanni and Salome at the Savonlinna Opera Festival; and The King & I at Théâtre du Châtelet, starring Susan Graham.