40 Tony Nominees of 2012, Including Steve Kazee, Audra McDonald, Kelli O'Hara, Linda Lavin, React to Nomination News

By Andrew Gans
and Kenneth Jones, Michael Gioia
01 May 2012

Stockard Channing
photo by Joan Marcus

Stockard Channing, Best Leading Actress in a Play (playing "Polly Wyeth"), Other Desert Cities: It's an enormous, enormous thing. It's enormous. I really love the play. I love this character. She's so unusual, and it's so satisfying to play her. I don't think I've seen anyone — a character — quite like her. But…the audience has no idea what she's really like until the last five minutes of the play. [Laughs.] You don't get a chance to play that very often. But she never apologizes for herself, and she's her own person. I don't know if I'd want to be around her. [Laughs.] But I have my quota of a couple hours a night. That's about it.

Harvey Fierstein, Best Book of a Musical, Newsies: It's exciting. Jeremy Jordan wrote me this morning and said, "Does it ever get old?" And, I wrote back and said, "Does applause ever get old?" It's very exciting. As you probably know, Newsies is the most requested title that Disney has for production. They get more requests from schools and church groups and community theatres and camps to put on Newsies, and they never had a version to license out, so people have taken the movie and done whatever they could with it. So really, we wrote this with that in mind—that this would be a version that could be licensed out. And, that was our hope for it — that we would be creating something that would make a lot of children happy. But when you're working on something, you always have a dream that could go further. And so the fact is, we wrote something that was not really ever supposed to be what it's become, but it's become what it wants to be, which is something wonderful.

Kathleen Marshall, Best Direction and Choreography of a Musical, Nice Work If You Can Get It: Our kids — our twins — are almost two, and they go off to a music class on Tuesday mornings, so we were sort of getting them ready and getting their shoes and coats on and watching [TV] at the same time. [Laughs.] [I'm] thrilled. I mean, so thrilled. And, I'm thrilled for my husband because he's got two nominations because he's on the producing team of Venus in Fur [and on Nice Work], too, so he's got New Play and New Musical, which is great. So we're a quadruple-nomination household. [Laughs.] It's bittersweet because I really was disappointed that Matthew Broderick didn't get a nomination because he is our show, and he carries the show, and he's the reason we're there, so that's disappointing. But I'm thrilled for everyone in our cast. I'm especially happy for Kelli and Michael McGraw and Judy Kaye.

John Lee Beatty, Best Scenic Design of a Play, Other Desert Cities: (Via statement) I am currently in rehearsals for Gentlemen Prefer Blonds at Encores! and was arranging jewelry cases when I heard the news. We started Other Desert Cities last year Off-Broadway, and all knew instantly that we had something special. Thanks to Lincoln Center Theater, Jon Robin Baitz and Joe Mantello for including me in such an amazing team of artists.

Rob Ashford
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Rob Ashford, Best Choreography, Evita: It's always a thrill to be included. It's always nerve-racking and such an honor, really, to be included, so I was very happy.

David Alan Grier, Best Featured Actor in a Musical (playing "Sporting Life"), Porgy and Bess: Well, I got up really early and I had my phone purposefully turned off, and I started watching "Sports Center," and I just wanted to have breakfast in peace before I heard about anything. So I turned my phone on, and as soon as I did, one of the cast members — a good friend of mine, Allison, she's in the ensemble — called, and I found out at that same moment, and we just started screaming and crying and hollering. I mean, it's so great that I got this individual nomination, but for this show to get ten nominations is just really overwhelming and just blows me away. We all do good work. We all try our best — all these actors on Broadway. Everybody. It's like being in a cult. But for the show to get honored like that — emails and texts and phone calls have just been flying. I'm so happy.

Jeremy Shamos, Best Featured Actor in a Play (playing "Karl/Steve"), Clybourne Park: (Via statement) My kids were a little disappointed to turn off the cartoons… but when they announced my name, we had a big family hug and my daughter, who just turned five (but is comically advanced) put a whoopie cushion in the middle of the hug so it was a big fart hug. Really excited and so proud of the show and I consider my nomination to be a nomination for the whole ensemble because it's the most incredible six people to share a stage with and so happy for [director] Pam [MacKinnon], [playwright] Bruce [Norris] and the whole team.

Condola Rashad, Best Featured Actress in a Play (playing "Cheryl"), Stick Fly: I was asleep, and my best friend since I was 12 called me. He called, and I looked at the phone, and I was like, "O.K., I'll call him when I get up," and he called me again, and I was like, "O.K.!" And, I went back to sleep, and he called me a third time, and I was like, "Uh-oh, what's going on?" I pick up the phone and there it was. I was kind of like, "Wait. What?" [Laughs.] I was very surprised. I am very surprised. I'm still left jobless, so I'm still a little shocked. I'm greatly humbled, and I'm very grateful, but again, I kind of just do what I do and I don't really think too much about whether it's still happening or not. These are all little aftershocks for me. It's great, it's exciting, I'm really proud, but I'm also kind of like, "All right. I'll just keep doing what I do." [Laughs.]

Judy Kaye
photo by Joan Marcus

Judy Kaye, Best Featured Actress in a Musical (playing "Duchess Estonia Dulworth"), Nice Work If You Can Get It: I was sleeping away, and in the mornings I turn on the television and I slap myself around a little bit. It happened that CBS was up because I watch "Letterman" at night, and they just happened to be announcing it. I said, "Wait a minute. Wait a minute. That's why I didn't sleep so good last night." [Laughs.] I forgot all about this, and there it was on the tube. It's amazing how fast everyone in this day and age knows something. It's rather amazing and a little scary and actually very good that everyone wants to share their happiness with you. It's really great. I'm not the new, young thing on the block. Did [Tony-winning character actress] Helen Gallagher say it was "very encouraging"? [Laughs.] It is encouraging. It means that they're going to keep letting me do what I love to do, which is do plays, do musicals. I'm really, really thrilled and excited to be invited back to the party because it's a great party. The whole thing. The whole month is wacky and wonderful, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Linda Lavin, Best Leading Actress in a Play (playing "Rita Lyons"), The Lyons: I'm absolutely thrilled and in a state of high elation right now. I found out as I was landing in a plane this morning from a trip back home to North Carolina to a theatre that I own with my husband, who has directed a new play, and they did a performance last night… I went to see this new play that my husband has directed and designed. He's running a theatre in Wilmington, NC. I took a couple of people from the Vineyard [Theatre] with me for an overnight vacation, and we were flying back and just approaching LaGuardia when my phone started buzzing and ringing and making all those sounds that it makes when technology kicks in. And, I started getting texts and phone calls, so it was at 9:45 this morning that I got the news, and I'm just really flying high still even though I'm off the plane. 

Celia Keenan-Bolger

Celia Keenan-Bolger, Best Featured Actress in a Play (playing "Molly"), Peter and the Starcatcher: I woke up for it. We just finished doing like two weeks of the show without a day off, so months ago I booked a little stay-cation for me and my husband, not realizing that this was the day that the nominations were going to be announced, so we were in this sweet little hotel and turned on the television and it didn't have NY1, so we watched them on my tiny little phone. Honestly, I was so excited, but when the nominations were being announced and the show got nominated, in my head I was like, "It will be O.K. if I don't get nominated because I was so happy that the show and that Roger [Rees] and Alex [Timbers] were recognized. I didn't think I would feel that way, but I did. So it was just sort of icing on the cake when it got around to me and Christian [Borle]. I am just so grateful for it because I love this project so much, and I've been attached to it for three years, and I believe in it so much and so when you get to do something that you're really proud of and then it gets recognized, it's just so much more special.

Grant Olding, Composer-Lyricist, Best Original Score, Peter and the Starcatcher: I was actually at an awards ceremony for an award One Man, Two Guvnors was up for [in England], and, halfway through our awards meal, I got all these texts and emails saying, "Congratulations." I found out from friends texting me saying, "Well done." I couldn't quite believe it. And then I saw the list of the seven nominations [for One Man, Two Guvnors], and I was with Nick Hytner, the director, and Cal McCrystal, the physical-comedy director, and we were just over-the-moon. It's just fantastic to have the show recognized in this way. For a composer, there's no higher accolade than a Tony Score nomination. We don't have any awards for Best Score in England — not for plays or musicals, so it's never even been a possibility that I would be nominated or win anything for my music. To be entering in that long tradition of amazing scores that have been nominated for the award is just thrilling.