|Photo by Matthew Murphy|
Charl Brown, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical (playing "Smokey Robinson"), Motown The Musical: I actually watched it live on my couch. [Laughs.] It was utter joy to say the least. I don't think I ran, I think I flew off the couch, running around my tiny apartment, crying actually. I started doing theatre when I was a teenager. I went to a performing arts school in San Diego, and so the Tonys and Broadway have always been this big, seemingly unattainable, dream of mine. And now, to be on my third Broadway show, and my first leading role on Broadway, and to get nominated for a Tony, it means the absolute world to me. It truly does.
Annaleigh Ashford, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (playing "Lauren"), Kinky Boots: Oh my gosh, my fiancé came in our bedroom and told me, and we both cried and hugged each other! [Laughs.] You know, my whole life, I've wanted to sing and dance and act, and this is like the ultimate recognition that you are an actor in the theatre, so I am just so grateful that I am representing our show, and I'm so grateful that my mom drove me to dance class every night. It's crazy! It's so amazing. It's such a treat when you're doing something that you really believe in, and I feel like our show has so much heart, and we always feel like it's reaching every seat in the theatre, but it's amazing to be recognized for something that we believe in so much.
Judith Light, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play (playing "Faye"), The Assembled Parties: What a wonderful honor it is to be nominated. A special thanks to my incredible ensemble and amazing director. You make me grateful to be a part of this Broadway company and community.
Nathan Lane, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (playing "Chauncey Miles"), The Nance: I'm absolutely thrilled to be nominated for The Nance, and that our entire brilliant design team was nominated as well. I was sad that Doug Carter Beane and Jack O'Brien were not included, since I wouldn't be here without them, but it doesn't change the fact that they've done extraordinary work on this beautiful play, as well as our stellar company of actors. I'm so proud of everyone involved and grateful that audiences have responded so positively to the play.
|photo by Joan Marcus|
Valisia LeKae, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (playing "Diana Ross"), Motown: I was snuggled in my bed, with my heating pad on, and I didn't want to watch it, and we couldn't get the computer to work, and my phone hasn't been working properly. I knew that if anything were to happen, my agent was going to call me, so by 8:35 AM, I hadn't heard anything. I just looked at my phone, and it had seven or eight phone calls on it, and finally my agent got through, and he told me the news. I was screaming, and I kept saying to him, "Are you sure? Are you really sure they said my name?" And then I said, "Did they pronounce it correctly?" And, he said, "They were close, but they really didn't get it right." I said, "That's okay. I had never been so happy about my name being mispronounced ever in my life." But this was the moment, so that's how I found out. It really, really means a lot because it feels like my 10,000 hours [of work] have paid off. I didn't go to school for performing arts, and I didn't go to college for theatre or drama, and the years spent on Broadway have literally served for me as a conservatory — learning from the best like Audra McDonald and Alan Cumming and Ana Gasteyer. So I really feel like all those years of watching them and listening have paid off now that I get to step into my own leading-lady role! [Laughs.] It's really kind of funny just to even say it, but I feel so honored about it. I really, really do.
Diane Paulus, Best Direction of a Musical, Pippin: I was actually sitting at LaGuardia waiting to board a plane to come up to Boston to the A.R.T. [American Repertory Theater] and I had several people texting me every 30 seconds, so I found out right as I was boarding the plane. I was so excited, so thrilled for the show. Gosh, a musical is just a team effort, and to see the show recognized in so many categories was so deeply rewarding for the whole team and so thrilling for the show. I was ecstatic. It is such a great honor. You know, you try not to think about awards when you're making a show. You're just putting your head down and making the best possible work you can and making it better and better and working hard. And, you come up for air, and when this recognition comes, it's so encouraging. It's a great moment, and especially for the A.R.T., where we birthed this show. It's a great recognition for the theatre and every effort that was made by my whole team here at the A.R.T. that gave birth to Pippin.
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