Book of Mormon's Rory O'Malley Taps His Way to a Tony Nomination

News   Book of Mormon's Rory O'Malley Taps His Way to a Tony Nomination
Rory O'Malley, who plays Elder McKinley in the new musical Book of Mormon, which was recently nominated for 14 Tony Awards, was awakened by his boyfriend the morning the Tony nominations were announced.

Rory O'Malley
Rory O'Malley Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

"He got me to watch it live, and my jaw was on the floor when Book of Mormon kept being said over and over again," O'Malley told that May 3 morning. "I am just so, so thrilled that everyone is being recognized for their work in this show because people have worked so hard to make this show what it is, and I am just totally, totally shocked and excited."

When he heard his own name read in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical category, "that's when the shock really came in," O'Malley admitted. "Honestly, I started with this show three years ago, and this part didn't exist, and it's just kind of grown over the last three years into what it is now. So the fact that this has happened today is truly, truly unexpected. I never ever thought that I would be in this situation and receive such an honor, and I'm just blown away. I've been speechless. It took me an hour to stop shaking and start making sense and articulating words, but it was great," O'Malley laughed.  "I called my mom to tell her, and I think she's told the entire city of Cleveland by now, and it's unbelievable. Being a kid and growing up in Cleveland, the Tonys were how you saw Broadway shows, you got to hear from each show, and that's what inspired me to live my dream, so the fact that I am getting recognition from them, it's mind-blowing."

O'Malley, who brings the house down nightly with both "Turn It Off" and "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream," said the biggest challenge of the role was "definitely the tap dancing. I am definitely one of those actors who check the 'mover' box, and [director-choreographer] Casey Nicholaw, and John MacInnis, and Jen Werner—his team—they were so good with me, and it's not just that they taught me and trained me well, but they really instilled the confidence in me to be able to dance a whole tap number front and center, and it's exciting to be challenged. It's something that I believe in so much. It was definitely the most difficult part, and now it's the most fun part for me because it's a miracle!"

And, what's it like for the actor, who made his Broadway debut in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, to receive such a huge ovation each night at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre?

"It's something that I don't think I could ever take for granted," O'Malley answered. "It's holy theatre. ... I have to be so lucky to be at this moment where I'm in a show that is this exciting and this electric, and to have an audience respond in that way, there's nothing else like it. There's nothing like live theatre, there's nothing like Broadway, and now there's nothing like our show. There's nothing this crazy and fun, and I know that's why audiences are really responding in that way. It's beautiful, it's precious; that's why I'm so happy to get to walk out on that stage every night." [For tickets phone (212) 239-6200 or visit Telecharge. The Eugene O'Neill Theatre is located at 230 West 49th Street.]

Rory O'Malley and cast in <i>The Book of Mormon</i>.
Rory O'Malley and cast in The Book of Mormon. Photo by Joan Marcus
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