• Interviews

TONY TALK: Emilio Sosa

May 18, 2023

Meet Emilio Sosa, the veteran Broadway costume designer and double nominee at this year’s Tony Awards for his work on the plays AIN’T NO MO’ and GOOD NIGHT, OSCAR.

Ain’t No Mo’. Photo by Joan Marcus

Sosa’s costumes have been a fixture on Broadway for over 20 years, having designed 13 shows since his first credit in 2002, the original Broadway production of TOPDOG/UNDERDOG (revived this year in a new Tony-nominated production directed by Kenny Leon). He had already earned two Tony nominations prior to this year, for Best Costume Design of a Musical for THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS in 2012, and Best Costume Design of a Play for TROUBLE IN MIND last season (2022). 

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Good Night, Oscar. Photo by Joan Marcus

Sosa designed the costumes for an impressive five Broadway shows this season, including last fall’s 1776 and AIN’T NO MO’, and the currently running A BEAUTIFUL NOISE, THE NEIL DIAMOND MUSICAL; SWEENEY TODD; and GOOD NIGHT, OSCAR. 

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (2012). Photos by Michael J. Lutch

Get to know this Broadway perennial with our TONY TALK Q&A:

Who was the first person to text/call you when you got the nominations?

My agent was the first person to call me to congratulate me on the nominations and then my phone alerts started going off nonstop. Soon after, I called my mother to share the good news.

Show some love to a fellow nominee this year. Whose work blew you away?

Crystal Lucas-Perry. I was honored to design for her for both Ain’t No Mo’ and 1776.

Top Restaurant in the Theatre District?

Glass House Tavern and Bond 45

The first Broadway show you ever saw?

A Chorus Line in 1986

When did you decide to become a theater artist?

When I met George C. Wolfe and he hired me to design Topdog / Underdog at the Public.

What is your earliest Tonys memory?

I remember when costume designer Ann Hould-Wald was nominated for Beauty & the Beast. I was working at Grace Costumes at the time and we made a lot of the costumes for the production. It truly was a formative experience.

Who’s your favorite Tonys host in history, and why?

Ariana DeBose brought a new energy to the telecast. And I worked with her on Motown when she was just starting in the business, so it’s a pleasure to see the growth and success.

All-time favorite Tonys performance on the telecast, and why?

Jennifer Holiday and Dreamgirls. The sheer emotions of her performance captivated me through the tv screen and still resonates today.

Most memorable Tony’s acceptance speech, and why?

Andre De Shields and his philosophy on life and success. He’s an ICON!

What is one play or musical you would like to costume design on Broadway and why?

Anything Jordan E. Cooper writes! His voice is much needed as Broadway expands its mind and ability to depict stories reflective of all cultures.

Next up for Sosa is the upcoming Broadway revival of PURLIE VICTORIOUS, directed by Kenny Leon and starring Leslie Odom Jr., set to hit Broadway later this year!

GOOD NIGHT, OSCAR is currently running at the Belasco Theatre, in a limited engagement starring Sean Hayes, also nominated for a Tony Award this year for his leading performance in the production. SWEENEY TODD is running at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in a grand revival led by Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford, both also nominated for their starring turns. A BEAUTIFUL NOISE, THE NEIL DIAMOND MUSICAL is at the Broadhurst Theatre, starring Will Swenson as the music icon.