As sexy Hedy La Rue in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Tammy Blanchard is giving the kind of expert, side-splitting performance producers build sitcoms around. What’s amazing is that this 2011 Tony nominee is a comedy newbie. Though she’s adorably daffy in real life, Blanchard has specialized in sob-sister roles, from her Emmy-winning performance as Judy Garland in Me and My Shadows and Tony-nominated turn as Louise in Gypsy to TV movies such as Amish Grace, in which she played the widow of a murderer. Blanchard, who chatted about her career in depth in an episode of Broadway.com’s Show People, got on the phone just after her Tony nomination was announced to talk about Hedy, Daniel Radcliffe’s Tony snub and the fun of making audiences laugh.
What have your first few days as a Tony nominee been like?
It’s a ride! It was instant shock and gratitude and then a dazed-like state, mixed with a little bittersweetness because of my man Daniel [Radcliffe]. But mostly gratitude.
You’re upset that Daniel Radcliffe didn’t get a nomination?
I’m really, really devastated. But my faith tells me that he doesn’t need that kind of assurance from anyone else. He is on the road to being a fabulous movie star, theater star—whatever his heart desires—and he may not need [Tony recognition] as much as everyone else. Fortunately for Daniel, he’s already world-renowned, and he’s going to go on and play great roles and win many awards. He’s amazing. When I was his age, I was on Guiding Light!
It’s nice that you can share Tony season with your Mr. Biggley, John Larroquette.
John is as sly and funny in real life as he is onstage. He gave me a lot of my Hedy just by his love for her, and that shows how deep an actor and a person he is. I was a complete stranger, and he has totally taken me in. It’s such a blessing to work with him. He has made me shine, and I just thank him and love him so much for that.
What’s been the most enjoyable thing about the show?
I am so enjoying the audience’s laughter. I’ve made people cry for so long! Going out there and being the one who brings joy to them is awesome.
Are Hedy’s tight dresses and bouffant wigs getting easier to handle?
That’s still difficult. My back hurts; my head hurts; I’m wobbling on these high heels. I’m a 2011 chick, so the whole get-up is ridiculous to me, but it helped create this creature that’s out there every night. It’s a lot of fun to play this crazy, crazy chick!
You were wonderful as Nicole Kidman’s sister in Rabbit Hole—and now that the movie is out on DVD, lots more people will see it.
Thank you! That was kind of an introduction into comedy for me. John Cameron Mitchell, the director, is so uniquely funny, and he took this dramatic story by David Lindsay-Abaire and made light of it in a way that was just so impressive to me. I think that’s why I was so open to Hedy when the opportunity came.
You’ve got a movie coming up with Patti LuPone, right?
Yes, it’s a really low-budget film called Union Square. Mira Sorvino and I play sisters, and Patti LuPone plays our mom. I don’t have any scenes with her, but I’m watching a video of her in one scene, and what happens is amazing. I cannot believe that our paths are going to cross [as Tony nominees]. I remember Anne Bancroft was in my category for the Emmy for Judy Garland, and just to be in that kind company gives you a thrill—knowing that you can play great parts if someone just gives you the opportunity.
Where do you keep your Emmy?
My Emmy is in my china closet. People don’t really look at it, though.
Is is true that your three-year-old daughter, Ava, waits up for you every night after the show?
Most nights, yes. If I’m really tired after a two-show day, I’ll ask my mom to get her to sleep, but she usually stays up so I can read a book with her and kiss her. She’s a 12-hour sleeper—she goes to sleep at 11:30 and she wakes up at 11:30. She’s been the perfect baby from day one, even though I used to stay up all night staring at her making sure she was breathing!
Who's going to be your date to the Tonys?
My mom. She was on it as soon as I got on the phone about the nomination: “I’m going, right?” She wants to wear this pants outfit that she has, and I said, “No, it’s a gown night.” We’re going to find something nice.