2016 Tony Award Nominees React!

Tony Awards   2016 Tony Award Nominees React!
Reactions from this year’s Tony nominees, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Lupita Nyong’o, Cynthia Erivo, Daveed Diggs, Laura Benanti, Sara Bareilles and more!
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Read the complete list of 2016 Tony Award nominees here.

Leslie Odom, Jr in <i>Hamilton </i>
Leslie Odom, Jr in Hamilton Joan Marcus

Leslie Odom, Jr., Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, Hamilton
[I found out] from [my wife] Nicolette’s [Robinson] phone. We went to breakfast, and then we were walking home and her phone just started blowing up. She got 21 or 22 messages at the exact same time, so that’s how we found out. I needed to take a walk around the block and process it. It’s been such a long time with the show, and it just started with the tiny belief that I had in this material and the potential – the potential that we all had collectively, if we did our jobs right. I was just trying my best to wrap my mind around where we are. I still haven’t done it, just for the record. My phone started ringing and text messages started coming in, so I haven’t really had the time to sit with it myself but that’s what I’m trying to do – trying to wrap my mind around where we are and connect to where we started from.

David Korins, Best Scenic Design of a Musical, Hamilton
“It was a huge flurry of emotions. I felt so wonderful, and I immediately thought of my team that I’ve been working with for years and years, and how many people contributed to the work—not just the scenic design, but our entire production. It’s an incredible thing to be part of this Hamilton family, and it’s wonderful to get recognized. I have worked on many many Broadway shows and been part of many wonderful productions, and the profundity of Hamilton and this incredible season and this list of nominees is not lost on me. I don’t take any single moment in this business or in my career for granted, and this is so sweet.“

Jessica Lange, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, Long Day's Journey Into Night
“To be back on Broadway is an absolute thrill. It’s an honor to play the role of Mary Tyrone in Eugene O’Neill’s masterpiece. I’m so grateful for my incredible director and my co-stars whom I dearly love. I’m honored to be recognized for my first Tony award nomination. Thank you so much to the nominating committee.”

Jayne Houdyshell, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play, The Humans
“When I woke up, I saw a lot of emails and text messages on my phone, so I kind of figured something good had happened. I’m just really grateful and excited, and it’s very thrilling to be part of this season in this awards season. It’s just stunning, you know, the wide range of plays and musicals that have happened this year feel kind of landmark to me. I’m hard pressed to come up with a more exciting Broadway season in recent years. It means so much really, every acknowledgment that I’ve received along the way. But in terms of this particular play, I just think the play is brilliant, and I love this role. It’s such a beautifully textured and colored part, and I feel lucky every day to be able to perform it.“

Michelle Williams, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, Blackbird
“I’m incredibly honored to be recognized for my work in Blackbird, and especially thrilled to share this morning with Jeff and our entire production. David’s play is an adventure every time we step onto that stage, and this moment feels equally exciting. I look forward to celebrating with everyone at the Belasco tonight.”

Carmen Cusack
Carmen Cusack Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Carmen Cusack, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, Bright Star
“I think my first reaction was, ‘Wooooooah.’ I think that’s about all I could come up with. ‘Oh wow,’ is, I think, about what I said. It’s hard to put into words how it landed on me. I think back to my five-year-old self and how I would look in the mirror and imagine what I would say in an acceptance speech. All that stuff, when you’re sitting as a child and watching the Oscars and watching the Tonys and just marveling at these beautiful people and the talent and the excitement and the fulfillment on their faces when you know that they’ve worked so much and finally someone has said, 'That’s a good job. Well done.' I already feel lucky enough that I get to do a job that by the end of every day, people are standing up and clapping. How lucky is this path? I already feel unbelievably blessed. It’s almost too much. I’m so full. I’m so full, and I haven’t even had breakfast yet.

Joe Mantello, Best Direction of a Play, The Humans/Best Revival of a Play, Blackbird
“I literally had just woken up and was pouring coffee and my friend and agent Joe Machota called. It was thrilling to have two shows nominated and it’s an exciting feeling. It’s also complicated because certain people get singled out and others who made equally essential contributions, don’t. But what’s nice with both shows is that [both actors in Blackbird] and the show were acknowledged this morning and that the company of The Humans received that special Best Ensemble Award from the Drama Desk so, to me, there’s no higher compliment to a director than when all of the actors are acknowledged in some way.”

Renee Elise Goldsberry
Renee Elise Goldsberry

Renée Elise Goldsberry, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical, Hamilton
[I was] watching CBS this morning and jumping around and happy hearing so many names of friends and Danai [Gurira]. I unfortunately didn’t have the live feed playing, so I was grateful to hear via text and email from so many friends that were watching for me, to tell me that I had a nomination as well, so happy. [I’m] grateful and honestly shocked because it’s always shocking and surprising when anyone calls your name. It’s such a prestigious group of people, such a prestigious award. You know, most of my time with this job has always been figuring out how to do it justice. You don’t really let your brain go to the kind of highest level of awards, you just want to be worthy of it every night, just to think that on top of that you have a Tony nomination — it really, you know, just makes you want to cry.”

Danielle Brooks, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical, The Color Purple
“I couldn’t sleep at all, so I was cleaning my house and I had called my dad. My dad is really excited about the Tonys, and so he was watching it live and he was making me nervous, so I had to get off the phone with him. I decided to watch my cast mates on The Today Show and I had put my phone on silent, but I had it face up. And, as I was watching them sing the number, all of a sudden I just got a flood of notifications, text message after text message, after call. And that’s when I felt in my heart, ‘I think this is it. I think I might have gotten a nomination.’ And so my manager, my publicist, they all called me and told me the good news. Then I called my father and my mom together, and my mother’s actually teaching right now, so she put her students on to say congratulations, so her whole class of elementary school students said, ‘Congratulations, Danielle!’ My dad’s now booking his flight for the Tonys! I’ve just been just so excited and so grateful and for my first Broadway show to be nominated… I’m so humbled that people thought enough that it was worthy of a nomination. I’m so grateful and so excited about this whole month and the whole process, and I’m so happy that Orange Is the New Black was so generous with me allowing me to be a part of this.”

Jennifer Simard in <i>Disaster! </i>
Jennifer Simard in Disaster! Jeremy Daniel

Jennifer Simard, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical, Disaster!
“I looked down at my cell phone, and I got a text from my brother Chris. My husband and I live in Cold Spring, and we decided to go down by the water to this gazebo because it’s a beautiful, rainy day and I love the rain. My other brother Tom went to West Point and from that vantage you can see West Point and the mountain that approaches it; so I wanted to be there. I lost my mom a year and a half ago; I’ve been very public about the fact that this is the last role she got to see me do, and I said to my husband, ‘You know, I don’t want to watch it live. I feel like I’ll find out either way and either way, I’ll be in a place where I can think of her.’ That’s why we chose that spot. I’ll always remember that I’m her daughter and it was so great to hear it from my brother Chris. That’s how I found out. I’m so excited. My husband and I just cried and kissed and said we loved one another.”

Jessie Mueller, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, Waitress
“What an amazing, groundbreaking season for Broadway! I am honored to be part of it. I’m so thrilled for Sara, Chris, and our entire company. I am so proud of this show, its beautiful message, and all of our hard work. And now… let us eat pie!”

David Furr, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play, Noises Off
“I’m just surprised and incredibly honored to be nominated, especially among so many incredible performances this Broadway season. Upon seeing the nomination online, I thought it was entirely likely that I was misreading something. I wasn’t able to really believe it until all the phone calls, texts, e mails, Facebook messages started streaming in. My wife Carrie and I were thrilled, of course, and my 21 month old summed it up nicely with a simple ‘wow.’”

Andrea Martin, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play, Noises Off
“I am shocked, thrilled and giddy and at the same time, well aware, that I wouldn't have this nomination if I had not been part of an expertly gifted ensemble. So proud to represent our show and be included in the legacy that is Noises Off!

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre, Bright Star
“We are not quietly excited. Also, we are grateful to the Broadway community for this extremely special acknowledgement.”

Alex Brightman and the kid band from <i>School of Rock—the Musical </i> (2015).
Alex Brightman and the kid band from School of Rock—the Musical (2015). Matthew Murphy

Alex Brightman, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, School of Rock
“A couple of things happened all at once – it was kind of hysterical. I woke up, we turned on the TV and New York 1 was playing, and then right when they were getting the go on with … the nominations, the screen went blank and they lost the feed. We were just like, ‘We’ll wait until it comes back on. We’ll find out anyway, whatever.’ Then my brother called me, and as I was picking up, I also got about 30 billion text messages so I figured something was going on. Then my brother, who is at work right now, was crying and screaming and clapping. He was like, ‘I applauded in my office and no one knew what I was doing!’ So I found out from my brother, which was very special actually, because he’s my biggest fan and mutually – I’ve always looked up to him, and I’ve loved having him in the audiences. I’ve been lucky enough to have him in literally every single audience of every show I’ve ever done. He’s been front-row center when he could be. We used to do theatre together, so it’s kind of cool. He’s got a beautiful voice just for the record. He called me, and it was perfect. I’m glad that happened.”

Glenn Slater, Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre, School of Rock
“It’s enormously gratifying to be nominated in such an amazing year for Broadway musicals! Working on School of Rock has been nothing but pure fun, from the very first moment I sat down with Andrew and Julian and our director Laurence Connor and started talking about how to make this story sing on stage. That joy was picked up and amplified a zillion times by Alex Brightman and Sierra Boggess, and especially by our astonishing cast of rock and roll kids. We’re so lucky to have them singing our score, and this nomination is really about the hurricane of joy and energy they’re generating in the Winter Garden eight times a week.”

Daveed Diggs and the company of <i>Hamilton</i>
Daveed Diggs and the company of Hamilton Joan Marcus

Daveed Diggs, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, Hamilton
“My brother and my best friend broke into my house wielding a bottle of champagne and putting music really loud [this morning]. After I got over the shock of having people in my house, I’ve just been smiling real big. I’m very happy for the success of the show at large. I’m very proud to be a part of it. I’m new to this New York theatre community, and I’m always so inspired by it, so being sort of recognized as a part of it is kind of a really humbling thing. So yeah. That’s how I’m feeling.”

Rupert Goold, Best Direction of a Play, King Charles III
“I am delighted that two Almeida Theatre productions have received multiple Tony nominations today. It’s particularly exciting that King Charles III and American Psycho have been recognised in such an outstanding Broadway season.”

Sergio Trujillo, Best Choreography, On Your Feet!
“I'm thrilled and honored to be in the company of these other choreographers. I've dreamt of this moment my entire life. On Your Feet! is about the American dream and I'm living it.”

Scott Ellis, Best Direction of a Musical, She Loves Me
“I got a ping from my niece in Virginia who sent me a ‘Congratulations, Scott,’ and then the phone rang and it was Jane Krakowski. That was a nice way to find out. I tell you, I’ve been really fortunate that it’s the eighth time, and you’re always very grateful and proud of the people you’re working with. I guess this one is probably the most special only because it was my first nomination I ever got – my first Broadway show – and to come back and revisit it [so many] years later really set a challenge for me to do it totally different and new and fresh – not repeat anything. It was a real challenge; a great ride and a difficult ride. I think I’m just very grateful that I had the experience again. It does mean that probably out of all of them, it’s the most special one because it just reminds me of where I started and the fact that I’ve made a full circle with it is pretty cool.”

Lupita Nyong'o and Liesl Tommy
Lupita Nyong'o and Liesl Tommy

Liesl Tommy, Best Direction of a Play, Eclipsed
"It was one of those things where to do this with your life requires a great deal of sacrifice. It’s not an easy path to choose, there’s absolutely no guarantee. There’s a lot of instability and obviously you do not do it for the awards, you do it for the deep passion and belief in this kind of storytelling. This play means so much to me. I’ve been working on it for so long, and the story we’re telling on the stage and the women on the stage—they mean the world to me, and it’s incredibly meaningful and profound that we get recognized like this. It means that our fighting for our place at this table is vindicated. It’s just really powerful."

Hofesh Shechter, Best Choreography, Fiddler On the Roof
“Wow! It's been a huge pleasure and a most rewarding experience to work on such an important and timeless musical, being taken by the beautiful story and music and swept by Jerome's inspiring germ... And mostly, working with that amazing team, more of a tribe of talented dancers, performers, and a creative team that is nothing short of brilliant. I'm so pleased our hard work has been recognised and mainly so that it may inspire others.”

Lupita Nyong’o, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, Eclipsed
“I am deeply proud to be nominated for my work in the Danai Gurira's Tony-nominated Eclipsed. My performance could not exist without the brilliance of my ironclad co-stars Pascale Armand, Akosua Busia, Zainab Jah, and Saycon Sengbloh, with the direction of Liesl Tommy. Our hope is to awaken something in the consciousness of our audience to effect change around the world. The six Tony nominations Eclipsed has received today gives me hope that we are succeeding.”

Lortel Awads 16 HR23.jpg
Zachary Levi Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Zachari Levi, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, She Loves Me
My agent, Joe, called. I think he probably called before they even said my last name. He wanted to call me, and I woke up and heard the phone ringing, and he said, ‘Good morning Tony-nominated Zachary Levi.’ [I’m] completely beside myself. Based on everything, all the warm things we’d been hearing, nominations and stuff, I thought maybe [it was] a possibility. But I was in bed last night and just prayed and wanted to be ok if I woke up in the morning and it didn’t happen — to just be at peace knowing I had a job to do and do the best I can. So, to wake up to that kind of news was really… it’s humbling and I feel gobsmacked.”

Clint Ramos, Best Costume Design of a Play, Eclipsed
“I was totally floored. I'm in Dallas right now working on a new musical and was asleep when it happened. My husband Jason broke the news. First call I got was from my friend Liesl Tommy (also nominated). We cried and hung up to call our parents overseas. Called my mom in the Philippines to thank her.”

David Rockwell, Best Scenic Design of a Musical, She Loves Me
“I was on a plane that landed at 9:30 AM going up to Boston. So, you know when you land and it says you should be getting your messages, but no messages come through? I thought, ‘Well, that’s not good.’ And then about 30 messages came through. First of all, this is my 20th Broadway show, and it’s just been an unbelievable love affair with this show and the company, and thank God, Scott [Ellis] asked me to do it – I didn’t know the show. It’s just a very emotional moment for me to be acknowledged and have the show acknowledged. And there was something about being on a plane; being out of touch and having to receive all the information at once. It made it sort of more powerful.”

Danny Burstein, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, Fiddler On the Roof
“I got a huge smile across my face. I actually have to admit this, it’s my sixth and it’s the hardest I’ve ever worked on a role. Of course, you don’t do any role for awards, that kind of thing, but it’s nice to be recognized. I also wish a couple more people from Fiddler on the Roof were [nominated], especially Jessica Hecht, my leading lady, who I absolutely love and adore, and she makes me a better actor. I honestly don’t know that I’d be nominated if I wasn’t playing opposite Jessica Hecht. She’s incredible.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda
Lin-Manuel Miranda Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Best Actor, Best Book, Best Original Score, Best Musical, Hamilton
“We had a little watching party this morning, you know, I wake up early anyway 'cause of the baby. My parents came over, my neighbor Quiara [Hudes], with whom I wrote In the Heights came over, brewed a big pot of coffee, and we watched it together. It was pretty incredible, you know it’s unbelievably gratifying to get one of these things. So it’s almost hard to even process 16 of them, but I’m super grateful that the nominating committee spread the wealth among our incredible cabinet, aka our design team, who I think are some of the best artists working right now and our incredible group of actors… They really spread the love, and I get the best seat in the house getting to play with them every night, so it’s thrilling to watch them be recognized.”

Cynthia Erivo_glikas (2).jpg

Cynthia Erivo, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, The Color Purple
“I found out just before we went live on national television to sing “The Color Purple” on The Today Show. [I was] trying to pull myself together in order to sing the song; but completely overwhelmed and what a way to find out! It was just incredible. I’m really pleased and really happy. Just everything. I didn’t come here expecting to get that, and I didn’t know that that’s how Celie would be taken in. I didn’t know that that’s what people would do with her and feel about her. I’m just completely grateful that people think I’m worthy enough to be even nominated for this award. It’s just something that you see from afar and think, “I hope one day, maybe one day, I might get that in my lifetime – we’ll see what happens.” Then when it happens, it’s like, “Oh my gosh. It’s happened. I’m nominated.” This is something that you see other people have and you watch other people get it; you watch Audra McDonald get it and you think she’s so awesome. It’s amazing. I’m really pleased.”

Christopher Oram, Best Scenic Design of a Play, Hughie
“I am very excited to be nominated for this Tony Award. It is always such a privilege and an honor to work with the amazing, brilliant and talented people on Broadway, and I’m very proud of the work we all did together on Hughie. The Booth is a beautiful, intimate and soulful theater, and was the perfect space for us to build this mournful and elegiac world for Erie Smith in which he shares his loss and his pain, but ultimately rediscovers his humanity.”

Bill Camp, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play, The Crucible
“I am deeply grateful to the Tony Nominating Committee. It is a privilege to be a part of the remarkable company and production of The Crucible. This would not have happened were I not amongst such an exceptional acting company and creative team.”

Christopher Fitzgerald Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Christopher Fitzgerald, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, Waitress
“This is the third time I’ve been nominated, and the other two times I was sleeping because my kids were a lot younger. But this morning I got up and got everyone to school, and then my wife and I were just sitting on the couch and we thought, 'I guess let’s just check it out!' We were drinking coffee and then New York 1 was on and then the screen went green. Did you hear about that? The whole thing just shut down. So then we were just sitting there and went, 'Oh – ah – well…okay.' So then I was like, 'Let’s go out and get some breakfast.' Then my manager texted me and said, 'Congratulations,' so that’s how I found out. The first thing I did was to finally find it on my phone. My wife and I thought, 'Let’s see if we can find it on our phones?' Then when we couldn’t find it we thought, 'You know what, let’s just get out of here.' It was seeing the category and who was in the category with me; that was the thing that I was like, 'These guys are just…I’m fans of all of them!' I just kind of feel cool by proxy. I’m really looking forward to be able to hang out with this company of people. I was really excited; this one in particular, I feel like I worked my tail off on this one.”

Pascale Armand, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play, Eclipsed
“I woke up early this morning about 8:25, and I turned on the TV and my fiancée and I were watching. Then they had to return to their regular broadcast, so my fiancée had his phone and he was live broadcasting, so once we went from the TV we went right to his phone and we were watching it. And his phone froze right before they got to my category. And we were like, 'You got to be kidding me!' He brought up the list and I saw my name first, and my heart was just beating so fast. My heart had already started beating like every time I saw any nomination for Eclipsed. I just started crying… my eyes just started getting really teary. And then I called my mom. She was like, 'You better get your knees down on the floor and pray,' because, I mean, she knows it’s been a long road for me.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sierra Boggess, and Alex Brightman Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Andrew Lloyd Webber, Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre, School of Rock
“This is fantastic. We have just had Jack Black see our show and proclaim it ‘A Broadway Masterpiece.’ Now we get this nomination! We are very proud, but the real prize will continue to be all the young people being inspired to pick up an instrument after seeing and loving School of Rock on Broadway.”

Ivo van Hove, Best Direction of a Play, A View from the Bridge
“I’m in Amsterdam at the moment, and I was in the middle of a big meeting with my employers because I’m the director of a theatre [here]. My agents, one by one, were messaging me. Ping, ping, ping, ping. I said, 'Guys, stop. I have to get out of this meeting for a second and look at this.' It’s amazing to have two nominations for Best Revival; one for Best Director and also for Jan Versweyveld for Best Scenic Design and two for Best Lighting – it feels like Christmas. It’s like an Oscar nomination for theatre; what more is there to get? You can win it now, that’s the only thing that has to happen – hopefully. Even if that doesn’t happen, it’s huge. I feel so honored by the press, by the audiences, by the actors’ community in New York. I really had a great season in New York, and I enjoyed every second of it.”

Laura Benanti in She Loves Me Joan Marcus

Laura Benanti, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, She Loves Me
“My husband and I watched online, which I’d never done before. I was very very nervous, weirdly, right before it, so I just kept saying to my husband, 'I feel like I’m gonna throw up.' And then when I heard my name, I was like, 'Oh, I’m not gonna throw up.' I’ve never been nominated in a leading category before, so it really feels like a milestone. This role is very near and dear to my heart, and I’m just excited to be representing funny sopranos. That doesn’t happen a lot, you know? This role allows me to sing the way I was meant to sing and also to be funny and spunky and do more than swoon. So, yeah, I’m just thrilled, honored and excited for our show.”

Michael Shannon, Best Performance By An Actor In A Featured Role In A Play, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
“I am very honored, although I can only accept so much credit. I am playing one of the most exquisitely written roles in the history of American drama.”

Sara Bareilles, Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre, Waitress
“Working on Waitress has been a life changing experience personally and professionally. What I have learned from my collaborators on this show and the theater community at large about heart, perseverance, intention, and grace has rewired the way I think about what I put into the world as an artist. Congratulations to all the nominees, as well as all those wonderful shows, actors, singers, dancers and creators who simply make up this truly unique and inspired medium... awards or not. It is truly the highest honor to be sharing this theater season with such outstanding artists. I am very grateful to be here and consider myself a very lucky girl.”

Megan Hilty
Megan Hilty Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Megan Hilty, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play, Noises Off
“This is insane! And SO exciting! Thank you Tony Awards for all the Noises Off love! And congratulations to all the nominees!”

Florian Zeller, Best Play, The Father
"It is with great pleasure that I have just heard that The Father has been nominated for two Tony Awards. The play has been produced in many countries before New York, but I must admit that the American production is particularly dear to me. For a French author, New York is the capital of theatre and consequently, the capital of all one's dreams. Thank you to all those who were so supportive. Thank you to those who made it possible, in particular to Christopher Hampton, Doug Hughes, the Manhattan Theatre Club, and of course to Frank Langella for whom I have such admiration.”

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