San Diego-raised choreographer Justin Peck among scattering of Tony Award winners with local connections


Shows and artists with links to San Diego weren’t quite so prominent at last night’s Tony Awards as they have been in past years. But there were a few to be found.

San Diego-connected nominees for Broadway’s top theater honors included the Ayad Akhtar play “Junk,” which premiered at La Jolla Playhouse, and the writer-actor John Leguizamo’s solo show “Latin History for Morons,” which likewise has Playhouse origins.

Also nominated were two stars of the Playhouse-launched “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical”: the one-named LaChanze, and Ariana DeBose.

Although none came away with a Tony, a win did go to the San Diego-raised choreographer Justin Peck, for his work on former Old Globe artistic director Jack O’Brien’s revival of the musical “Carousel.”

Peck trained at the California Ballet School here before moving to New York. He’s now resident choreographer of New York City Ballet.

Onstage at Radio City Musical Hall, Peck name-dropped O’Brien and thanked his own parents “for taking me as a kid every year on our annual trip to New York to see theater on Broadway. That was my reason to dance in the first place, and it’s such a personal full-circle moment to be standing up here now.”

Leguizamo also received a previously announced Special Tony Award for his body of work.

The lighting designer Tyler Micoleau won for his work on the musical “The Band’s Visit,” which took home 10 Tonys overall, the most of any show. While that production isn’t connected to San Diego, Micoleau has been in town designing the lighting for La Jolla Playhouse’s world premiere of the Robert Askins play “The Squirrels,” which officially opens this week.

And Itamar Moses, who has written three plays that had their world premieres at the Old Globe, won for his book to the musical “The Band’s Visit,” in a bit of an upset over Tina Fey of “Mean Girls.”

Twitter: @jimhebert