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

Jeff Calhoun
dirty sugar photography

Jeff Calhoun, Best Direction of a Musical, Newsies: How did I find out? Well, my partner and I set my alarm, and I stood in my kitchen, and I watched live on NY1. There's so many things that go through my mind. Anyone that says that it's not thrilling is full of shit. And, I know now because for years I've been full of shit! [Laughs.] Look, no one goes into the theatre to win an award. You go into the theatre to create beautiful work, and to have a show that I'm really proud of actually get this recognition is honestly thrilling. But the most thrilling for me was the vindication that Bonnie & Clyde had with Laura [Osnes'] and Frank [Wildhorn's] nomination — I can't even tell you. I got very emotional. It was a thrilling morning. It's a thrilling day. I've only been nominated once before, and that was for choreography for Grease, and so to have a nomination as a director is also sort of a dream come true. Tommy Tune was the first person to call me this morning. And, he was my mentor. The first nomination I received, I was actually with Tommy when that was announced, so that was a nice full circle.

Jeremy Jordan, Best Leading Actor in a Musical (playing "Jack Kelly"), Newsies: I watched [the nominations] on my computer. I live in Jersey, so I don't get the live broadcast [on TV]. It was pretty awesome! [Laughs.] I was sitting in bed with my fiancée and my puppy, and my heart was pounding, and they said the name, and it was like a wave of gratitude. It's great. It's a really awesome feeling. It feels like it's kind of like the end of this really long road I've been traveling on. It's sort of been going nonstop, and switching from one thing to the next to the next. I thought when maybe Newsies opened, I get to breathe a sigh of relief. [Laughs.] It's still going. Maybe it's not the end. It's like an ever-progressing journey that keeps on getting better and better.

Michael Cerveris, Best Featured Actor in a Musical (playing "Juan Perón"), Evita: I was actually in transit on my way to the recording studio, where we're recording the Evita cast album today. We started recording at 9 o'clock this morning, so I was already on my way when I got a call from my agent. I think the special thrill of the recognition this time is the feeling that it kind of acknowledges and recognizes the new things that we discovered and unearthed in the character of Perón and the new sort of place that the story of the relationship between Perón and Eva has taken in this production. I think that's something we're really proud of — shedding more light and bringing more dimensions to the character of Perón that has been played brilliantly and memorably by Bob Gunton and Jonathan Pryce in the movie.

Alan Menken, Composer, Best Original Score, Newsies: I went online at 8:30 and saw Jim Parsons and Kristin Chenoweth — they were adorable. They were great. I was really happy. I was relieved at the top to see that actually Leap of Faith got a nomination, too, for Best Musical. The show needs that. And, thrilled to see Newsies get so many people recognized. I don't really understand the nominating process with the Tony committee — what criteria they use — but I feel pretty satisfied. I'm sad, I've got to say, that Raúl was not nominated. It was shocking for me, and yet I love the other people. Jeremy [Jordan] — fantastic! It's been an interesting year for me, because of the two babies [Leap of Faith and Newsies]. The truth is, the real award for me is in the relationships I have with people on these shows, and I care about both shows—so deeply about everybody. In both cases, it has been a great group of people. The awards are a celebration, and you want to share that.