Tony Award-winning The Light in the Piazza star Victoria Clark is back on Broadway this season in the revival of the classic Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe musical Gigi in the role of Mamita. The Eric Schaeffer-directed production marks Clark's 11th Broadway outing and her fourth Tony Award nomination.
The June 7 Tony Awards will also be the acclaimed singing actress' seventh time performing on the CBS broadcast. Clark offers advice for those heading into the final weeks of Tony season for the first time.
It's time to start your preparation for The Tony Rodeo. Based on personal experience, I humbly offer up some practical advice to this year's nominees (and the people who love them) for this hectic time preceding Tony Sunday!
1. Don’t read any blogs, newspaper articles, fan mail, magazines or ads. You never know when someone is going to make some clever little comment about your show or performance that will send you into a “frenzy of dissipation.”*
2. Don’t look at any city buses; they may be advertising something that isn’t your show. Don’t watch TV or listen to the radio. Or eavesdrop on anyone’s conversations at Orso or that little speakeasy above Joe Allen. Basically, stay in a bubble.
3. Stop eating. You’re going to want to try to look at least a size 4 in the Tony dress, so stop eating now.
4. If someone you love has been nominated, don’t be discouraged if they seem to have disappeared. They’ll reappear June 8th ready to party.
5. There will be no sleeping the night before the Tony’s, and there will be no sleeping the day of. Just expect it. Try to tank up now, because you won’t be tanking up later.
6. Don’t listen to the people that tell you you’re going to win. Don’t listen to the people that tell you you aren’t going to win. You already know you’re going to win, right?
7. If you think you’re tired, think about Chita.
8. To nominees who are also performing: When you get to the Radio City dress rehearsal, early, early Sunday morning, and you look out into the audience and see where they’ve decided to seat you, don’t panic. If they’re using a headshot of you from 20 years ago, and you’re not remotely near the stage, don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you aren’t going to win (However, I will say this. The year I did win, I was very close to the stage.) Don’t worry. You’re going to win.
9. Don’t stop and chat with all your friends from other shows in the wings when you see them at rehearsals and during the broadcast. Your Production Stage Manager will kill you. At least
Bonnie Panson, our
Gigi PSM, had the courtesy to tell us that well in advance.
10. The stage at Radio City Music Hall is really big. So take a much earlier cue than you normally would to get on stage. Say, half an hour. Don’t worry about singing to the camera. There are 220 of them and by the time you figure out which camera has the shot, they will switch it.
11. On Tony Sunday, expect some sort of technical malfunction during the actual broadcast. Your mic, fast change, high heels, wig, or underwear is going to break, fall off or catch on fire. Just expect it.
12. There will be no food at Radio City Music Hall. All day long. You will look for it, you will fantasize about it, but it won’t be there. You will arrive before dawn to do the Dress Rehearsal in full makeup and costume to perform for an audience from God knows where in the balcony. This audience also got there before dawn, and there will be no food. You will have just come from your respective theatres where you got ready and there wasn’t any food, and you will go to Radio City Music Hall where there is REALLY no food. Then you will go back to your theatre to do your matinee performance, but you will be too tired to eat, unless you have no performance Tony day like
Fun Home. Then you’re lucky and you’ll be able to take a nap. But you’ll also be too nervous to eat. Either way, you’re going to get dressed up and feel too fat or nervous to eat, then you’ll go BACK to Radio City Music Hall and after the red carpet, around 7:45, you’re gonna want to scrape the red velour off the chair in front of you and stuff it in your mouth. If you win, congratulations!!!! But, there will be no food backstage in the press room. There’s a very remote chance there will be champagne and/or chocolate. But that all depends on this year’s sponsors. So here’s what you want to do:
13. Get the snack-size Ziploc baggies, and I’m not talking one or two, and stuff them full of snacks and smuggle them into your evening bag and your date’s tuxedo pockets. They will help you.
14. Because of #12, start eating 400 extra calories every day from now until June 7th. In fact, put down your device right now and go find some food. You’ll feel fat now, but you’ll thank me later. This is in direct conflict with #3. Don’t worry about it.
15. Warn your date about the seat fillers. I don’t know where these people come from. They’re always very nice, but extremely quick. The second you get up to go anywhere, there will be someone replacing you. Welcome to show business. If you want to make sure that your date has fun, hire your mother to sit a few rows back and then she can dash down the aisle to be your personal seat filler. Just warn her about #26.
16. Tuxedos. If you’re a man, make sure your tux is made out of something other than polyester. Think natural fibers. It’s going to get hot in there, people. There should be no polyester on you or your date. You will be stuck to your chair at Radio City Music Hall, or your date, or the seat filler (See #15.) You will have chafing, and unless you packed baby powder, you’ll be dying in your own flop sweat.
17. Don’t be responsible for remembering your own tickets to the Tony’s. Even if you tape them to your dressing-room mirror, or put a ring of fire around them or hot-glue them to your head, you will forget them or take the wrong purse. Give this job to someone else who isn’t worried about her mic going out during the broadcast. Otherwise, you will forget them, and Radio City security will not let you in, and one of the stage managers from your show will have to race back to the theatre to get them, and you might miss your best friend receiving the Tony for Best Orchestrations. Doesn’t matter how famous you are, you will be left waiting outside the theatre hanging out with
Jeff Goldblum and
Megan Mullally, who also forgot their tickets.
18. If you’re pregnant and dancing on the Tonys, don’t wear something flowy and amorphous. Be proud of your shape. The flowy thing only makes it worse. And please wear something that covers your legs. For shoes, see rule #19.
19. Choose shoe sizes that are three sizes too big, at least. At the end of doing a performance and Tony dress rehearsal, your feet will have swollen to the size of cantaloupes.
20. Wear deodorant. Directly related to #16. When they turn off the A/C during the broadcast for sound issues, and they have the bright TV lights glaring in your face, you will attain that dewy glow, but you will also smell like you just came in from an outback camping experience. Smuggle small deodorant sticks into your evening bag or your date’s tuxedo pockets.
21. Also, remember about dehydration. DRINK, people! Smuggle the lunch box-sized Gatorade bottles into your evening bag or your date’s tuxedo pockets.
22. Don’t worry about bringing a sweater or wrap. It’s going to be hot outdoors and in. (See #16.) Besides, you’ll lose it anyway.
23. Don’t bring a valuable camera. You’ll leave it under your seat and forget it.
24. IF you win, SPRINT to the stage to maximize your speech time. They’re really not kidding when they say they’re going to start playing the music.
25. If you don’t win, look happy for the person who won. Lose graciously. Remember, you’ll get to eat sooner than they will. But you don’t need to worry about this, anyway, because you’re going to win, remember?
26. Be aware of cameras in the aisles! The steady cams have about 100 meters of cable around them at all times. You will be stepping on and tripping over that cable all night long. Get ready for it.
27. LASTLY, have a really good time! A month from now no one is going to remember who was nominated or who won. We’re only going to remember what a great season it was.
*This is one of my favorite expressions that Honoré Lachaille (
Howard McGillin) uses when consoling his nephew Gaston (
Corey Cott) in the current production of
Gigi at the Neil Simon Theatre. Thank you,