The renowned costume and set designer feels proud that the musical is getting its deserved recognition after abruptly closing on Broadway.
The Tony Awards nominations have been announced, and Filipino-American costume and set designer Clint Ramos has made it to the roster of nominees. Ramos and fellow costume designer Sophia Choi are nominated in the Best Costume Design in a Musical category for their work in the Broadway musical KPOP.
The announcement came on Tuesday, May 2, in a broadcast hosted by stage and TV actress Lea Michele and Tony Award winner Myles Frost. Ramos and Choi will be going up against five other nominees in the category,
“I actually forgot that it was Tony Tuesday as I was busy prepping for our first rehearsal of Here Lies Love. My husband was the one who broke the news,” Ramos tells Vogue Philippines. “[I’m] so grateful. My first text was to my co-designer and mentee, Sophia Choi. [I’m] so proud.”
“This is the sixth time I’ve been blessed with a Tony nomination, having won my first. I guess it means that I’m not a fluke,” the designer adds in jest.
This nod for KPOP is the latest Ramos has received from the Tonys. Previously, he won in 2016 for Best Costume Design in a Play for Eclipsed. In 2018, he was nominated for Best Costume Design in a Musical for Once On This Island, and the year after, he was nominated for Best Costume Design in a Play for Torch Song. Most recently, he was nominated for two categories in 2020: Best Costume Design in a Play for The Rose Tattoo and Best Scenic Design of a Play for Slave Play.
KPOP tells the story of fictional K-Pop performers navigating personal struggles and relationships as they prepare for their one-night-only debut show in New York City. The immersive musical performed well off-Broadway in 2017, winning three Lucille Lortel Awards, including Outstanding Musical, the 2018 Richard Rodgers Award, and an Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best Unique Theatrical Experience.
Though the show’s Broadway run was cut short after just 44 previews and 17 performances, the musical sparked conversations about Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) representation on Broadway. KPOP was the first Broadway show to tell a Korean story and featured the first Asian female composer on Broadway (Helen Kwan). It was the only show in its season that had an almost-all Asian American and Asian cast, something that Broadway is only beginning to see more of through shows such as Once On This Island and the upcoming Here Lies Love.
“Seriously, for this to happen during AAPI Heritage Month and for an Asian-American and for an Asian show that did not get its deserved recognition on Broadway–it feels like the show has entered the zeitgeist. It makes me extremely proud,” he says.
The Tony Awards will take place at the United Palace in New York on June 11.