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

Steve Kazee
Steve Kazee
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Playbill.com reached out to the 2012 Tony Award nominees on May 1, shortly after they learned that they were nominated for Broadway's biggest award. Here's what they had to say.

*

Visit Playbill Vault to learn more about your favorite Tony nominees.

Steve Kazee, Best Leading Actor in a Musical (playing "Guy"), Once: My phone was just exploding. [Laughs.] I was sound asleep, and I just sort of heard bells and whistles going off everywhere. I sort of knew… Usually when the news is not good, it's just this dead silence, which I have experienced in other years. But this is completely different. The phone has not stopped calling all morning. Then I went immediately online and saw all the nominations. I'm just a little stunned at the moment, actually. I've known that we've been in a good show since the day that we started just because the way that it feels, as an actor. But to be recognized like this is actually quite humbling. It's special on so many different levels this year. I've never been as proud of a piece of work that I've been a part of as I am with this show. And, I know that that's sort of the stock answer that everyone has, but for me it's true. If we would have gotten zero nominations today, the job that was done by this show, to sort of inspire me as an artist for the rest of my days — to know that we could do this, and I can do this, and it can be commercial, and people will recognize it — to me, that's a gift larger than any award nomination. But the fact that we are getting this sort of recognition just goes to make it all that much more special. I recently lost my mother — it's also special for me for reasons along that level. I always wanted her to be able to see this moment. It's a little surreal right now that this is all happening.



 

Roger Rees, Best Direction of a Play (co-directing with Alex Timbers), Peter and the Starcatcher: I was walking in the park, and someone phoned me on my cell phone. I was so pleased for the play. We got nine nominations, which is wonderful, across the board for the creative and the acting and the directing and everything, which means that more people will come and see this play, which is why we moved to Broadway. We sold out and people were clamoring for tickets and couldn't get in when we did this play at the New York Theatre Workshop, so now more people can see it. I'm so pleased to have done it with Alex Timbers, who is half my age — a wonderful new, great, spirited, talented director in the theatre who cares immensely about the theatre being a great, great place.

Jessie Mueller
photo by Joan Marcus

Jessie Mueller, Featured Actress in a Musical (playing "Melinda"), On a Clear Day You Can See Forever: (Via statement) I'm still in shock. It has not sunk in yet. I'm honored and humbled to be nominated with the other amazing women in this category. And I'm floored by the way the community here has embraced me. My agent called to tell me. I was with my boyfriend at the time, and when I got off the phone I just cried! I was not expecting this. I loved doing the show every night. I am so grateful to Harry [Connick, Jr.] and David [Turner], the whole cast and crew, our producers, and the whole team. The outpouring of love from friends and family is overwhelming!

Jack Feldman, Lyricist, Best Original Score, Newsies: I just happened to flipping channels… [Laughs.] No, I knew it was going to be televised! It's a reasonable 8:30 here in New York. I was not blasé enough not to watch. I had it on every second. I was beyond thrilled. The first one that came up was the Best Musical nominations, and obviously I whooped and hollered. I whooped and hollered for all connected with the show who got it, and how could I not be proud and thrilled beyond words that they nominated the score? It's been my dream forever. Just to put it in context in a complete thumbnail, it's what I wanted to do since I was five years old — write songs for the theatre — so I can't think of anything that means more to me, personally, than that.

Michael McGrath, Best Featured Actor in a Musical (playing "Cookie"), Nice Work If You Can Get It: I watched the stream on the computer. I watched it live — in color! Well, first of all, I'm excited for the show to do so well — it's a great thing for everybody involved. And, for myself, my wife and I were just sort of holding each other for a couple of seconds and waiting with bated breath. [Laughs.] It's a little nerve-racking… If your name doesn't get called from the very get-go. I guess they do it in alphabetical order or something, but it just draws out the anxiety. My wife's response was a little more animated than mine — she hugged me and kissed me. I was in shocked silence for a couple of seconds. [Laughs.] I was nervous, to tell you the truth, but very, very excited and very happy. It makes me satisfied that the hard work pays off. I've done a lot of shows, and it's all about the work — it's all about how much you put in, and getting this back now, at this stage of the game… I mean, I'm not through by any means! [Laughs.] But it's great to come now. I'm so glad it's happening now rather than when I was 22 or 23 and probably wouldn't have appreciated it as much.

 Continued...