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

Josh Young
Photo by Joan Marcus

Josh Young, Best Featured Actor in a Musical (playing "Judas"), Jesus Christ Superstar: I 100 percent counted myself out because, I'm sure you know, I was sick for a good portion of the time surrounding opening. I expected it weeks ago that this probably wouldn't happen for me, so I was really just hoping for my show to get the recognition that it deserves. Anyway, last night I was at a gala, and everybody was asking me, "Are you nervous? Are you nervous for tomorrow?" And I said, "Not at all. I'm going to go to sleep. I'm going to sleep in as late as possible, and at some point during the day, I'll find out that my show was nominated and that I wasn't. And, that's it. I'll go on and do the best show possible as I always do." And, that's what I intended to do. I wasn't going to wake up [early] this morning, but my dog was actually pawing at my face to walk her… at exactly like 8:35. So I got up to walk her, and on my way out, I saw that the little LED light on my Android phone was blinking blue, which means I have a text message. I had left my phone off intentionally because I didn't want any sympathy calls early in the morning. So I left my phone off because I was really going to sleep through the morning. So the text message — I just clicked on to see what it was, really quickly, and it was my agent saying, "Atta boy!" And, I didn't know what "Atta boy!" could possibly mean. I thought maybe he had seen me in a concert last night or it was a leftover text from last night. Then it made me curious, and I went online — on my Facebook really quickly — and I had more messages than I've ever had in my life in a span of a couple minutes. [Laughs.] I'm just so shocked, and I also just want to say how much I appreciate the Tony committee to either come back and see me again or rearranging their schedules because I was sick. Not only is it such an honor and to get it for this role and to get it for my Broadway debut, but I really am so happy that it happened with this show and this company because I love the show, and I especially love the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. The Festival has been such a huge part of my life for the past two-and-a-half years. The fact that my nomination might bring a little more recognition to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, that's kind of what means the most to me. They've been so supportive of my career and of me for the last couple of years.


James Corden
photo by Johan Persson

James Corden, Best Leading Actor in a Play (playing manservant "Francis Henshall"), One Man, Two Guvnors: I watched it on the TV… I have a one-year-old son, so it actually doesn't feel earlier anymore. [Laughs.] You know what I mean? I'm sure, for most actors, 8:30 in the morning is a time when they're asleep, but in our house, you've already been playing with some cars and crayons for a solid hour. It's kind of overwhelming to see…the list of other actors. You just go, "Oh my God!" Kind of crazy! It's such a special thing. If you grow up in a small suburb outside of London like I did, these things are so remote. [That] you would even work here — let alone work here and be recognized for your work here…it's terrific. I mean, especially to see four incredible, special actors [in the same category]. You would go as far as to say legends, I think. It's incredibly humbling.

Danny Burstein, Best Leading Actor in a Musical (playing "Buddy Plummer"), Follies: I found out about the nomination — my phone starting buzzing at 5:30. I'm in L.A. My phone starting buzzing, but all my messages were like, "I've got my fingers crossed, and I'm going back to bed now." Things like that, and I had no idea what the hell that meant, so of course I ran to my computer, and my computer wouldn't work. [Laughs.] Just crazy. So finally after about two minutes of pounding at my computer and nearly throwing it against the wall, it started to work, and they had, of course, passed my category. But then finally my friend John Schiappa sent me a text that said — in bold, big text letters — "Congratulations," so I figured, "Oh God. Thank God, I got one." That was really nice. I love it. It's the most difficult role I've ever done. And, it's nice to be recognized and thought of in a different way. It's a very difficult dramatic role. These performers are tragic figures, and it's very different from anything I've done before. And, to be nominated for roles like Adolpho in Drowsy Chaperone and Luther Billis, which are really 180 degrees different, is wonderful.

Alex Timbers, Best Director of a Play, Peter and the StarcatcherI was thrilled to get word about the nominations this morning. I missed the telecast but immediately got a raft of texts and emails and facebook messages. Receiving a Tony nomination is akin to having your birthday recognized on Facebook--there's a pile-on of affection from all sides that's exhilarating. The biggest treat of this morning was seeing so many of our collaborators on Peter get nominated for their work. The breadth of nominations really reflects the nature of the process--the show is built by an ensemble of actors and designers working together as equals and each excelling because of it.

Joe DiPietro, Best Book of a Musical, Nice Work If You Can Get It: It's raining, and I was struggling to get the leash on my dog because he saw it was raining and he hates it, and [the nominations] came on the TV. [Laughs.] Wrestling with my dog, and I heard it on the television. I consider myself a comedy writer, and Nice Work If You Can Get It is a big ol' screwball comedy, so to get a nomination for this show, especially having this ridiculously talented cast led by Matthew Broderick — just making these words so funny every night and bringing so much to light every night — it's a childhood thrill for me, I have to say.

Watch the Playbill video of the 2012 Tony Award nomination announcement: