Young originated the role in Des McAnuff's production at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival last summer; in fact, the singing actor spent two seasons at the Festival, also performing in productions of Grapes of Wrath and another Lloyd Webber-Rice musical, Evita.
"Not only is [the Tony nomination] such an honor and to get it for this role and to get it for my Broadway debut," Young told Playbill.com the morning the nominations were announced, "but I really am so happy that it happened with this show and this company because I love the show, and I especially love the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. The Festival has been such a huge part of my life for the past two-and-a-half years... The fact that my nomination might bring a little more recognition to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, that's kind of what means the most to me. They've been so supportive of my career and of me for the last couple of years."
Young, who missed several performances prior to Superstar's March 22 opening due to a respiratory infection, added that he "100 percent counted myself out [for a nomination] because...I was sick for a good portion of the time surrounding opening. I assumed… weeks ago that this probably wouldn't happen for me, so I was really just hoping for my show to get the recognition that it deserves."
Young added, "I'm just so shocked, and I also just want to say how much I appreciate the Tony committee [coming back to] see me again or rearranging their schedules because I was sick."
And, what does Young consider the most challenging aspect of his current role? "The vocals are very, very challenging, but the way we've done the show, it is so emotionally devastating every night, so you put those two things together, and that's... kind of what is really difficult about it," he says. "Not only am I singing from the very bottom to the very top of my range, the very bottom and top of volume, you get to the depths of despair in this role, and it's tough to go there every night, but it's also the most rewarding role, I think, possibly, I've ever played." Read Playbill.com's Leading Men column with Young and Paul Nolan, who stars as Jesus.
The principal cast of Superstar at the Neil Simon Theatre also includes Chilina Kennedy as Mary Magdalene, Tom Hewitt as Pontius Pilate, Bruce Dow as King Herod, Marcus Nance as Caiaphas and Aaron Walpole as Annas.
The Stratford Shakespeare Festival production of Jesus Christ Superstar is produced by The Dodgers and The Really Useful Group, Latitude Link, Tamara and Kevin Kinsella, Pelican Group, Waxman-Dokton, with Joe Corcoran, Detsky/Sokolowski/Kassie, Florin-Blanshay-Fan/Broadway Across America, REG/Caudwell, Shin/Coleman, Theatre Dreams North America, LLC.
For tickets visit Ticketmaster, or phone (877) 250-2929.
View Playbill.com's highlights of Superstar below: