What Didn't Kill Them Made Them Stars: Sutton Foster, Jessie Mueller and More Turn Rejection Into Tony Success

Tony Awards   What Didn't Kill Them Made Them Stars: Sutton Foster, Jessie Mueller and More Turn Rejection Into Tony Success
 
The day following the announcement of the 2014 Tony Awards, Playbill.com asked this year's nominees to talk about how they cope with rejection in show business and the hard work it takes to carve out a career in theatre. From bad reviews and flops, to the jobs they didn't get and the roles that got away, here's what keeps these artists going.

Sutton Foster in Violet
Sutton Foster in Violet Photo by Joan Marcus

As the June 8 Tony Awards ceremony approaches, Playbill.com will continue to update with nominee responses. Click through to read them all. 

Warren Carlyle
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Warren Carlyle, Best Choreography (After Midnight)
I'm in this life for life. It's a marathon not a sprint. Yesterday I was lucky enough to get two Tony Award nominations. I also had an interview that I did not get. [Laughs.] So I also did not get a job yesterday. That was a great reminder. It's just life. It's what we signed up for.

Sutton Foster
Photo by Monica Simoes

Sutton Foster, Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Violet)
I think [those experiences] do drive me in a weird way. I feel like a good thing about my personality is that whenever someone tells me no, it just makes me want it more. Or if I ever fall on my face, or if someone says, "Oh, you can't do that." Then I'm like, "Oh yeah?" It makes me want to fight for it even stronger. I've fallen down a million times in this business. I've been fired from jobs, I've been re-hired for jobs, I've gotten panned in the papers. It is about sort of saying, "Okay, I'm just going to keep going and I'm just going to learn, and I'm hopefully going to be better the next time and hopefully continue to challenge myself." I think that's what it takes in this business. You've got to keep moving forward.

Jessie Mueller
Photo by Monica Simoes

Jessie Mueller, Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical)
I'm not just saying this, and I still work on it, but I have come to peace with the idea that if it doesn't happen for me then it wasn't for me. It's not that I'm bad or I'm wrong, that role is for somebody else. That experience is for somebody else. There's another experience for me. There's another role for me. You know? And it happens all the time, so I think you have to look for the good in those situations. I don't really have the thing of, "Oh, they didn't want me, so I'm going to show them." I've just never had that kind of perspective on it, but I've also been really blessed to be able to do roles that I wanted to do. Certainly, I look back at things I didn't get and I think, "Yep, that's exactly why that didn't happen because the next thing that happened for me was this and that helped me meet this person." Sometimes it's not even business related. Sometimes it's that I met my best friend in that production, or I had this certain experience. That's the way I try to look at it.

Bryce Pinkham
Photo by Monica Simoes

Bryce Pinkham, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder)
I like to think of myself as a young actor [laughs], but I like to tell younger actors who ask me about this, "Every time you get turned down or a door closes, try and think of it as fuel for the fire as opposed to rejection." There are more doors that have closed than have opened in any actor's career, and I've tried to use those moments as fuel to get me to this one. You have to think about "I can't wait for the day when," and so here we are at that day.

Playbill.com will continue to update with additional responses from the 2014 nominees. Check back!

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