It's hard enough for regular people to be up and out of bed on a Tuesday morning, but for theater folks it's a rarity. But that's exactly what happened when the nominations for this year's Tony Awards were announced at the New York City Library of the Performing Arts at 8:30am this morning. Immediately, phones started to ring across town alerting nominees to some great news to jumpstart their day. Broadway.com was among the callers—to congratulate and find out how they heard the news. Here are the first reactions from the nominees. —Reported by David Drake, Kathy Henderson and Beth Stevens
John Lloyd Young
Best Leading Actor in a Musical Nominee for Jersey Boys
"I was on my way into the shower when my girlfriend said, 'It's on!' So I threw on a towel and ran into the bedroom. It used to be four nominees in each category rather than five, so when I heard the fourth name, I had a sinking feeling—even though I've always been at the end of the alphabet. Then I felt relief! When you're a struggling actor, you dream of things like Tony nominations, but you never expect them. I've been watching the Tonys since I was a kid; I remember B.D. Wong winning his Tony for M. Butterfly. I didn't relate to the Academy Awards as much because it seemed more distant, but the Tonys have such a mythic stature. I've gotten messages from my parents in upstate New York, my sister in the D.C. area and all my cousins in the Syracuse area. In fact, three busloads of people came down from there last week to see the show!"
Best Featured Actor in a Play Nominee for Awake and Sing!
"I'm shocked, and I'm in awe. I feel like I'm in really great company, and I'm just honored to be in the position that I'm in—to be on Broadway having my debut and then to get this nomination was completely unexpected and rewarding. My brother [Liev Schreiber, who announced the nominations with Natasha Richardson and Phylicia Rashad] text-messaged me saying that I had to watch the nominating show. He woke me up and told me to tune in. He didn't and wouldn't tell me why, so I put on CBS and watched it this morning. I guess he had some inside information. I think I screamed. Actually no, there were people sleeping in my living room, so I couldn't scream. It was a pretty silent celebration. My girlfriend came out and gave me a kiss, and everyone in the world called me."
Best Leading Actress in a Play Nominee for Rabbit Hole
"I actually left my cell phone somewhere about a week ago, and I keep thinking it was going to turn up, so I didn't get a new one. So I've been sort of dependent on my Blackberry. I was dropping the kids off at school, and I started to get all these messages on my Blackberry, and that's how I knew. The hilarious thing is that I called into my cell phone, and there were like 14 messages. Then today I took my daughter to her Hebrew school, and her teacher was like, 'Oh, did you leave your phone here last week?' I was just on the verge of buying a new one because this is not the week to be without a phone, but luckily it was returned to me. So I got my phone back, and I got nominated--it's a winner of a day all around. We all loved our play so much. It's so nice to have it recognized—and so many of us recognized—especially since the play is closed. I wish we had all been nominated because we had the most crackerjack cast of all time. Still, it's just really nice. It feels great."
Frances de la Tour
Best Featured Actress in a Play Nominee for The History Boys
"I was asleep at the time—trying to get some sleep like actors do in the morning because we always stay up so late. It was lovely. A totally lovely, unexpected surprise; and I'm thrilled, of course. I didn't expect it, and it's wonderful to be so celebrated in this city. This is a great city. I think it vindicates all the work and all the commitment that we've put into to it for so long,. It's just the icing on the cake. It's the most wonderful icing we could have. It's very hard to leave anybody out—it's such a team—but it's just wonderful that some of us could be representatives to the Tony nominations and all the other nominations we're getting. It's an extraordinary pleasure, and it's an honor. I was here years ago in 1971 doing a play, and I haven't been back since. So to come back later on in my life like this is a very special treat. I know [the ensemble] will be terribly thrilled for Sam [Barnett, who was nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Play]. It's hard because they are all so much of a team. They're just brilliant. They're all special, but that's the way it goes. You have to take the separation of singling people out with a pinch of salt whenever you present art. Who's the best? I don't think anyone's the best. I think it's a wonderful show. [Director] Nick Hytner and [playwright] Alan Bennett have brought out the best in us, and in that respect, we bring out the best in all of each other. That's how we think of it. We're representative of the rest of the best."
Best Featured Actor in a Musical Nominee for Sweeney Todd
"Last night, I said, 'I'm going to watch the season finale of Grey's Anatomy and go to bed.' I didn't really want to watch [the nominations]. What's worse than sitting with the remote control in your hand waiting for your name to be called and then it isn't? This morning, I was asleep and my phone buzzed; it was a text from a friend and the message was five exclamation points. That's all it said! I thought, 'That's strange,' and then my phone just started exploding. I had run out the door to get physical therapy in the pouring rain, and I was never happier to be drenched. We're very proud of our show, and now we get to go and do it on TV! And it won't be a number with just one or two people because we don't have an orchestra so they have to have us all on stage. I was on the Tonys with Jesus Christ Superstar in 2000, and it was exciting to see how big Radio City is from the stage. The Tonys are our community's year-end party, and it's very exciting to be a part of it this time. I called Michael [Cerveris] this morning and said, 'Dude, you've got to shepherd me through all this.' And he said, 'Just enjoy the ride.'"
Best Leading Actress in a Musical Nominee for The Color Purple
"I was washing my hair. And then the phone started ringing. But of course I was thinking about [the nominations being announced]. It's hard not to! I'm a lead on Broadway this year in a new musical, so, of course I was waiting for it. And now I'm so excited; I've always felt that the show has such a strong story and creative team. I am just so pleased for everyone, particularly Brandon [Victor Dixon]. I'm very, very, very happy for Brandon. He is, in my opinion, one of the gems of the show, and to see that his work is being acknowledged, it really fills my heart. I'm so happy for him—almost happier for him than I am for myself! [Laughs.] And for my other leading ladies! I'm so excited for both of them because I just respect their work so much. The first time I was nominated for a Tony [1991's Once On This Island] I was so new to the industry that everything was coming at me rather fast. I didn't understand all that was going on. But I was so excited about it. I really wanted to win it. I was heartbroken when I didn't. But this time, having worked so many years since then, and having the value of the nomination and the acknowledgment for the show and for my work, it really just makes me feel good about that. Honestly, the group of women nominated in this category? It's a tough year! Come on, who's better? I mean everybody's great! Every single one of the women in that category I admire. And always have. You know, everyone in this category is extremely talented and is deserving of everything. So, to be in the group, in my opinion, is really an honor."
Best Leading Actress in a Play Nominee for Well
"I watched the nominations over at [Well director] Leigh Silverman's apartment. We were clinging. And then later I was on the bus and the minute I stepped off at like Hudson and Jane Streets, this gay man was like, 'Miss Kron, congratulations!' And I thought, 'I'm in the right place. They know me here!' But this specific nomination is a lot to wrap my mind around. I mean, it's very gratifying because I felt a lot like people have assumed that I was wandering around [in Well] just being myself onstage. So it's nice to have that recognition. But I just keep thinking about when I was in college and I couldn't get cast in plays, and it was just so clear to me that there wasn't a place for me as an actor in the theater. It was said to me pretty directly. So I started writing my own plays. And I keep thinking about this one woman at this Q&A after Well. She was like 60 years old, and she was saying, 'I cannot even tell you how much this play affected me. I'm kind of reeling from it. It's just that when I was young all I wanted to do was work in the theater, but I didn't.' And she was totally crying, and then she said, 'I had a whole different life, a whole different life. Because until I saw this show tonight I didn't realize, you didn't have to be pretty to be an actress.' And Jayne [Houdyshell] and I fell on the floor laughing. So that's what keeps ringing in my head today: You don't have to be pretty to be an actress!"
Best Featured Actress in a Musical Nominee for Lestat
"My husband [actor Gregg Edelman] and I were at home getting our daughter off to school. We turned the TV on; he was squeezing my hand, and when they got to my category, we both screamed so loud. My son, who is five, was in the other room and he called out, 'What happened? What's happening?' Oblivious to all the Tony craziness, he just wanted to know why Mommy and Daddy were screaming. I can't say I was expecting it. I was grateful to get a Drama Desk nomination and Drama League nomination, but it's hard when you're in a show that was not well received. I was disappointed the show didn't do better, but I'm trying to hold on to the possibility that we'll keep a run going in spite of that. We'll see. It's a great company, a really nice group of people and they're trying to keep their spirits up. This is only my second time being nominated. It's such a platform of achievement and such a thrill when you can touch the platform with the tip of your finger, to say, 'I'm almost there.'"
Best Featured Actress in a Musical Nominee for The Pajama Game
"We were awake because I have like 100 kids. We just moved to Jersey, so we don't have NY1, and CBS tells you a little bit, but then they cut off and talk to each other. So were listening through the computer speaker, it was sort of like an old radio with the family gathered around. My in-laws are in town, and we were all literally standing in a huddle. It's also very exciting because my husband [Kevin Kern] is in The Wedding Singer, and they kept getting nominated for stuff. We were just thrilled about that. And then they started naming the featured actors, and we were all literally kind of shaking. I didn't think it would be quite as dramatic as it was. We were all standing there—I don't think we were breathing—I was holding the baby. We just heard the ‘M' part of Megan, and we all screamed. The baby started freaking because she thought something was wrong, and we all just started crying. It was my mother-in-law, father-in-law, everybody—we were all just crying. We were just crying and crying, and the baby was screaming because we freaked the crap out of her. We were all so excited, and then we finally breathed and ate a bunch of doughnuts. It was a good, good morning.”
Best Leading Actress in a Musical Nominee for The Drowsy Chaperone
"I crawled out of bed this morning at 8:30, went out to the couch and watched it on TV. The morning when they announce the Tony nominations is so thrilling, and to hear your name or to be in a show that's nominated makes it even more special. [Waiting for the nominations] is so weird: Do you allow yourself to be excited? Do you get your hopes up? Do you try to ignore it? I just try to be realistic. I'm really happy the show has been nominated because there's the possibility of performing at Radio City during the Tonys. The curtain opens, you see that huge house and you know that all your family across the country is watching—there's nothing like it. The Tonys are a little girl's fantasy, and the first thing I thought was, 'What am I going to wear?' Last year I wore Michael Kors and I'm a big fan of his, so I'm hoping…"
Best Leading Actor in a Musical Nominee for The Wedding Singer
"I was at the Hilton in midtown, where I'd stayed after the Manhattan Theatre Club gala. I thought the announcements were being made at 7:40am, so I woke up about 8:20 and looked at my phone. When I saw no one had called, I thought, 'Oh well, I guess no news is not good news.' I walked outside in the pouring rain to get something to eat, and at 8:50, my phone rang; it was my mother-in-law, and I knew she could only be calling for one reason. It was a complete surprise, and I'm really excited for [composers/writers] Chad [Beguelin] and Matt [Sklar] and Tim [Herlihy] and [choreographer] Rob Ashford, for everybody involved. I'm hoping I can go out on the town tonight. The audience response has been great: On the second day of previews we had kids sitting in the second row singing along. How they knew the songs, I have no idea. They must have bootlegged them."
Best Leading Actress in a Musical Nominee for Sweeney Todd
"I was in Connecticut, and my press agent and agent called me. I had taken my son to school and I was waiting for the call either way. You never know what's going to happen with the Tonys. Ever. Ever. Ever. I've been nominated and lost; I've not been nominated. Now we can all relax and just enjoy performing every night. I'm going to take my son with me to the ceremony. I think my husband would rather not go, and I think Josh would really like to be there. I'm so happy for the entire company, for the producers, for John and Sarah [Travis, Best Orchestrations nominee]. It's incredible."
Keep Reading! More of Your Favorite 2006 Tony Nominees Are on the Next Page! Alison Pill
Best Featured Actress in a Play Nominee for The Lieutenant of Inishmore
"My agent called and woke me up; I was in bed dreaming! I knew the play would get nominated because it's so great, but I was really not expecting a nomination myself. I just talked to my mom and dad in Toronto; my mom started squealing and my dad kept saying how proud he was. The fact that after only two years of living here, I'm on Broadway and nominated for a Tony is amazing. It's insane! I'm thrilled [at the play's five nominations] because I love the production so much. Thank goodness [co-star David Wilmot] was nominated; we have so much fun on stage and the relationship has changed and grown with the audience reactions. And so I'm happy for Domhnall [Gleeson]—I watch him in the wings and crack up every night"
Best Actor in a Play Nominee for The History Boys
"[Publicist] Jim Byk called me from the press office at nine o'clock. I was trying to wake up, so it all came over my muddy brain. I woke up a bit now, and I think it's extraordinary, isn't it? It's remarkable. It seems ridiculous to me. I've been doing the show for a couple years now, and it's what I'm used to doing. The show itself is a reward, but I've been up for a couple of awards, and it's astonishing. I feel slightly shamed to feel as pleased as I am because it's supposed to be very much more laid back than that. It's got to have beyond normal meaning because—correct me if I'm wrong—I think the difference between the Tony and everything else is that most awards are selected by small groups of people—well informed people, you understand—but the Tonys are chosen by an enormous panel of people. The biggest award in England is the Olivier. I know the Tony was named for Antoinette Perry, but then it should be Toni with an 'I.' It's a female award, not a male award. The Olivier is a very male-oriented award. I think the Tony should look back at its feminine side and not be afraid to just show it off, you know what I'm saying? This award comes as a bolt from the blue. It's a thing set down from somewhere else—like word arrives from Texas—that you're nominated for this award. I think that large number of people being involved lift the Tony above just about any other theater award onto a different level. I know it's always regarded as the big one for people. This is the highest accolade in American theater. What could be better than that?"
Best Play Nominee for Rabbit Hole
"I was tuned into NY1 like everybody else. I had dropped my son off at kindergarten at 8:30 and dashed all the way home. Tyne Daly called immediately. Lynne Meadow at MTC, Robyn Goodman, who is my producer on High Fidelity, my agent and a bunch of friends and family called. I'm mostly relieved. I'm thrilled and flattered to be among the other nominated plays. It was a really competitive year; it could have gone either way. I feel lucky to have made the cut. It's pretty good, right? Especially for a little play that closed a few months ago. I'm so happy for Cynthia [Nixon] and Tyne [Daly], especially. Of course, you want all your actors to get nominations, but I'm thrilled for Tyne and Cynthia and [director] Dan Sullivan. It was such a huge deal for me just to get to Broadway in the first place, honestly, so this is already a huge victory for me. This is just supreme. I've cleared the calendar [for the ceremony on June 11], but not a spot on my mantel, sadly. I'm happy I can go in and enjoy the show and not be worried."
Best Leading Actress in a Play Nominee for Souvenir
"I'm just really glad they remembered me. They could've forgotten, and they didn't! And that says to me that didn't forget the play, too. It goes back to this incredible piece of writing by Stephen Temperley that I was fortunate enough to get to perform. And I celebrate that. I represent that play and all the people who had a part in my performance, and there were many, many —including Tracy Christensen, who I'm so sorry didn't get nominated for her costumes. I suppose I could've done it in a pair of slacks and a t-shirt, but it was a lot better being dressed that way. This nomination is really different for me because the other two times I was nominated I was a part of a really huge major musical hit; Phantom of the Opera, still running fabulously, [Kaye won the 1988 Best Featured Actress Tony Award] and Mamma Mia! still goes on. And though I created those roles for the United States, other people had played them in London. This one [Souvenir] was from the ground up. I was there in the beginning, got the words hot off the press from the playwright, and worked with the director to craft this thing through off-Broadway and on. I feel like this one's really mine. This was the birthing process. I got to be in on it. So there's a different kind of pride in my efforts with this one, yes, but also so much gratitude for the opportunity to play the part and be a part of this creation."
Best Leading Actress in a Musical Nominee for The Pajama Game
"My sister called. I was sleeping and my phone was off, so she called my fiancé's phone. He had it on on purpose, just in case, and she called and woke us up. She was so excited to be the one to tell me. She's in Austin, Texas. She was looking on the computer. She's such a supporter. It was great news. I'm not screaming like I was last year, but I feel even more grateful to still be in the race and to still be working. I think what really gets me is the group of people [in the category]. Chita Rivera, Patti LuPone, Sutton Foster and LaChanze! It's a little bit like I can't believe it. Like, how did I get here? What gives? It's pretty neat! I had like 17 phone messages. Kathleen [Marsahll] called and Harry [Connick Jr.], of course, called and everyone from the Roundabout. It's kind of bittersweet. There are a couple of people that were left out that I feel badly about. Michael McKean has inspired all of us. But I'm so happy for Megan Lawrence. She's just amazing and a good heart—she's just the kind of person you want this to happen for. I can't wait to just throw her up in the air."
Best Featured Actor in a Musical Nominee for The Color Purple
"I couldn't ask for a better way to wake up in the morning. I was getting ready to go into work at One Life To Live this morning, and my dresser Liz called me. I didn't know exactly what time they were making the announcements, and so I wasn't going to sit down and watch it on TV or anything. But it feels wonderful. I mean, it's a wonderful show and there's a lot of wonderful work that we've done on it, and I am happy for us as a whole. Getting a nomination is a dream come true for me, and I'm ecstatic about it. But the show being nominated—as a whole—for so many awards, really, it warms my heart. All of us together is what it's about, really. And although with the luncheons and all [scheduling] may be a little difficult—I mean, doing The Color Purple and doing One Life to Live... I couldn't ask for a better problem. [Laughs.]"
Best Featured Actor in a Play Nominee for The History Boys
"I've actually been out of the country since Sunday because of a very ill relative, and I've just flown back from the U.K. today. I got off the plane and there about 20 text messages and voicemail messages telling me that I'd been nominated. It's been an insane trip, but that was just the best news to get back to. We went to award ceremonies and things in London and luckily enough, we are a very lovingly and supportive cast. [The ensemble] is being really nice. I haven't actually seen any of them face to face. I'm sure tonight at the theater I'll get a real ribbing. Everyone's been really, really good about it. The Olivier nomination, for me, was just huge. I never expected to get one. To be nominated for a Tony on my Broadway debut… I didn't even imagine it could happen. Actors want to get to Broadway, of course, and many British actors don't. I'm overwhelmed actually. I really didn't expect it. Another reason that I'm so surprised I've been nominated is that if I was watching the show I don't know how you pick the people out because it is such an ensemble. I think I'm working with some of the best people, some of the best, most experienced actors—like Frances [de la Tour] and Richard [Griffiths] and Clive [Merrison]—and some of the best new up-and-coming actors. I always say, you can only ever be as good as the people you are working with, so I think it's a kind of testament to all the people in the show."
Best Play Nominee for The Lieutenant of Inishmore
"It's great news for the play, and great that three of the actors and the director got nominated, too. I was hopeful [that the play would transfer to Broadway] because the aim, for me, is always to get it as far as we can possibly go. I wasn't sure it would work [on Broadway] because it's so dark. But last year, I didn't think The Pillowman would necessarily work because it's even darker, and it did. I like the idea of trying to change what a Broadway play can be—it can be smart and dark and funny all at once. My attitude is, if you don't laugh you're going to cry, so it's best to laugh. I really enjoy the build-up to the Tonys, but I'm working on a feature film now [in England] so I'm only going to able to come over for a few days. I'm a three-time [Tony] loser; I'm going to make it four this year."
Best Featured Actor in a Musical Nominee for The Drowsy Chaperone
"I was shocked! I wasn't nominated for the other awards and I thought, 'That's OK.' But my wife [actress Rebecca Luker] said, 'Let's watch, just in case.' The next thing I knew, Natasha Richardson said, 'Danny Bernstein,' pronouncing it wrong, and my wife screamed at the top of her lungs and jumped into my arms. It's been wonderful. Old friends have been calling from all over the country. It gets very emotional when your mother cries over the phone. She's in Queens. I haven't traveled that far; I'm from the Bronx and I went to high school right here on 46th Street at the High School of Performing Arts. All of [director/choreographer] Casey [Nicholaw]'s hard work and crazy-ass imagination has paid off: It's his first directing gig, and he wanted the show to be fun and smart and witty so he cast people he knew had those qualities. The writers wound up structuring the show toward everybody's individual strengths."
Best Featured Actress in a Play Nominee for Awake and Sing!
"A friend of mine phoned me at about nine o'clock. I was very pleased. I'm really more pleased for the show and for Bartlett Sher, who I think is a phenomenal director. I'm thrilled for Clifford Odets. In some ways, this made people realize what a wonderful playwright he is; he's handled with passion and dedication. It's put him into the 21st century and that is in itself a great thing. To be nominated is to have, I think, an understanding of the work that people have put in. The thing about prizes like this is that you have to be somewhat cynical about it in a way, but also, it's nice to be nominated—and when you don't get nominated, it pisses you off. What can you do? It's one of those things that you have to accept or not because everyone works hard. Nobody does it to have Tony nominations. We do it because we're passionate about a production of a play. It's been great. It's been good fun. I just had a birthday, and this is another one."
Keep Reading! More of Your Favorite 2006 Tony Nominees Are on the Next Page! Christian Hoff
Best Featured Actor in a Musical Nominee for Jersey Boys
"My alarm went off at 8:30, and I was lying in bed thinking, 'There's something I've gotta do.' Then my phone rang, and it was my agent. I called my wife, Melissa, first— she's in California doing Zhivago at La Jolla Playhouse. My wife and children have supported me and encouraged me all these years, and I'm so proud of them. Then I spoke to my mom and my brother, who are my biggest fans. They had the live feed from the internet, and it was 5:45AM for them; they were far more diligent than me. I wasn't expecting it—or maybe I was; there are all kinds of psychological defense mechanisms that kick in. I tried to remove myself from it a little bit so I wouldn't be disappointed. Now, of course, I'm ecstatic! I've been an actor for 30 years, since I was 8 years old; it's been a struggle at times, and to be able to walk onstage in a great role like this and be recognized is very rewarding."
Best Leading Actor in a Musical Nominee for Sweeney Todd
"I slept through the nominations, as I always do. Anything I need to know, I'll find out when I get up at a reasonable hour! I woke up to a lot of texts and messages from friends and family. You never want to assume anything about awards, but it's kind of a relief to have the day arrive and to get the acknowledgment. [Sweeney] is an intimidating role—it's really the Hamlet of musical theater, and it was also the first Broadway show I ever saw, with Len Cariou the epitome of a musical theater actor. But from the first day of rehearsal, because of the way John Doyle created the production, I felt I was going to be able to make it my own. The great thing about [Tony season] is getting to meet actors you may not have met before. I've seen Harry [Connick] and John [Lloyd Young] and Bob [Martin] and I think they're all terrific. I haven't seen The Wedding Singer because we're on the same schedule. My way of dealing with the negative, competitive aspects [of awards] is to try to get to know the other guys and see what they do so I can be supportive and happy for anybody who wins. Because at the end of the day, it's not like we're playing basketball and can outscore each other."
Best Director of a Play Nominee for The Lieutenant of Inishmore
"I was getting into a cab to go fly to the West Coast when I got the news. It's glorious, really an out-of-body experience. I wish I could tell my mom. She passed away after we did the play in Stratford, and I think that's when she became convinced I was a director. She loved this play; she memorized it and could sing all the songs. She laughed her head off at the blood and the gore and each time we added a new effect, I'd call her up and say, 'Mom we made it bloodier.' The warm response from New York audiences has been really gratifying because you never know what the reaction to this play is going to be. The laughter and the concern and the response at the end is enormously gratifying."
Best Director of a Musical & Best Choreography Nominee for The Pajama Game
"I knew, of course, they were coming out this morning, but I didn't know they would be announced on NY1, and I actually had to get up and take my dog to the groomer this morning. I turned on the TV—I always turn on NY1 to see what the temperature is outside—and there was Liev Schreiber reading off the nominees. It was in the middle of it. So I heard the list, but I still had to get my dog to the groomer. I walked to the groomer, and when I got home, there were like a million messages on my machine. It's thrilling, especially for a 50-year-old show to get nine nominations. It's my second time directing on Broadway and to get two nominations again as director and choreographer—you sort of feel like the first time [for Wonderful Town] that you're just being welcomed to the club. To be nominated a second time means maybe I'm here to stay. There's really that sense that maybe it wasn't just a fluke. We're all insecure in this business, and we all feel that we've been getting away with something—getting away with murder—and they're going to find you out, and it's all going to be over. This show was so fun to do. I love the show. I love the score. I love the story. I love these characters. Our cast is brilliant top to bottom. You don't know how people are going to respond, especially to something that's not edgy, not cynical and not satiric. To have people respond this way is really surprising and lovely."
Best Director of a Play Nominee for Awake and Sing! and Regional Theatre Tony Award for Seattle's Intiman Theatre
"I actually got a call from one of my best friends. It was at a quarter to six in the morning because I'm on the West Coast. I was woken up early, although I didn't really sleep that much—my daughter has a fever and so we were up and around. Intiman was not expected. It's a great thrill. Something we could really use. It's so helpful to acknowledge Seattle and our work here and the kind of stuff we've done and to be recognized nationally for what we've put out into the world is good. As far as Awake and Sing! goes, from my point of view, it's a deep profound relief. You carry the responsibility of trying to make sure the shows do really well for everybody, so you just want to make sure that everybody gets properly acknowledged when they are as good as all the people working on that show. I've been directing for 25 years, so I'd look younger than I am. I've been doing a lot of stuff in New York for at least the last 10 years. I think that the New York theatrical community is the most extraordinary in the world. To be able to be a part of it and to be working in that kind of really rewarding context is pretty special."
Best Scenic Design Nominee for The Pajama Game
"I got a call from Sydney Beers, the Roundabout general manager. The first thing she said to me was, 'I'm glad I didn't make you cut too much scenery.' It's very gratifying because we didn't have any money to do the show, and it was a real struggle to put on a splashy musical like this and not make it feel like we were low on resources. I assumed because of that I wouldn't get nominated and that it would go to some bigger budget things. I've gotten like a million phone calls, which has been really fun. They're all interesting. Lots of old friends and lots of colleagues in the theater. It's all very gratifying."
Best Featured Actor in a Play Nominee for Faith Healer
"Well, people in London, of course, get excited about awards, but not to the extent that you all do—and we all do— here. But the way that we in London regard the Oscars as number one, we also regard the Tonys as number one. So it's an extraordinary honor, really. And it's all been a strange upward curve. Every time I've done [the play]—first in London, then Ralph [Fiennes] took over and played the part wonderfully in Dublin and now here on Broadway, where, we have the great bonus of having one of your greatest actresses [Cherry Jones] join us—it's always been an upward curve. Then to get a call this morning and hear that I've been honored, I can't really believe my luck. I suppose the most gratifying thing is that the play itself has had an upward trajectory. And particularly because it had its world premiere on Broadway [in 1979]—but was not initially a success and, in fact, critically dismissed. I don't know if [playwright] Brian [Friel] has quite taken this in yet, but I feel the play has returned garlanded and in triumph. And that's a wonderful thing for those who consider Faith Healer to be a masterpiece."
Best Leading Actor in a Musical & Best Book of a Musical Nominee for The Drowsy Chaperone
"I was out pretty late last night at a benefit, so I got up around 9 and went online. It's an amazing feeling. I've been on the phone all day with the composer and my co-book writer. I've always done both [acting and writing] so it's fabulous to be nominated in both categories, but as an actor—hey, it's a Tony! I've watched the Tonys for years: I remember Michael Jeter winning for Grand Hotel and crying and performing a number onstage. I identified with him because he's a character actor. It's a great compliment when people tell me, 'You're nothing at all like the person on stage.'"
Best Leading Actress in a Musical Nominee for Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life
"I was in bed when Joe McGinnis, one of my show's producers, called and told me about the nomination. And I thought, 'Well, isn't that nice!' But it's my first experience with being nominated for a show that isn't still open, so it's a strange feeling. But [the nomination is] swell, terrific, really. To be acknowledged by your peers is a great thing. And it'll always be a great thing. I think I've been through this nine times already, or something like…let's just say, a lot of times. But with [the autobiographical nature of] The Dancer's Life, it's different. People tend to think it's easy, you're telling stories that you kind of know, even though they were written brilliantly by someone like Terrence McNally, who can write them better than you can tell them. So you love to tell them and they're wonderful stories, and then you go, 'Oh! That's a story about me!' So with this nomination, I guess there is an extra kind sparkle to it."
Best Costume Design Nominee for The Pajama Game
"I'm pleased. A little bit surprised but really pleased. I didn't hear until I came into work. I went to the gym and didn't turn on NY1 because I'm superstitious. Then I came back from the gym and looked at my cell phone, and there were no messages, but it was one of those days where the cell phone doesn't deliver anything and then all of a sudden at 10:30 it said you have a message—and, of course, I had like eight. This is really important to me because when you're doing a big, beautiful show, one that's—if you will—showy, then you sort of go, 'Maybe I'll be noticed for this.' But what's been wonderful is that anytime anyone has complimented me on the show is that somehow my work with Kathleen [Marshall], developing the characters paid off. That certain charm came off. It's about pajamas and middle class people. I think just the fact that it's a modest show makes me enjoy that the voters take that into account and that's not just about the glamour like when I was able to do something like Millie. When you get a vote like this, it's actually a huge compliment. That's how I feel."
Keep Reading! More of Your Favorite 2006 Tony Nominees Are on the Next Page! Casey Nicholaw
Best Director of a Musical & Best Choreography Nominee for The Drowsy Chaperone
"Oh my god, I couldn't be happier! I was at Lincoln Center rehearsing a number for the introduction of ABC's new season with 14 dancing girls and William Shatner, and I was thinking, 'How am I going to find out?' I was on the phone with my partner trying to figure out how he could see it in New Jersey and then a friend called. The dancing girls popped champagne for me! It's astounding: Four years ago I was dancing at the Tonys in the chorus of Millie. Last year [as best choreography nominee for Spamalot] I had the time of my life. I was just so honored to be part of it. To me, the Tony nominees' luncheon is as much fun as the win, and now, being nominated twice? I couldn't be more excited. I was so excited about [having four acting nominees]. They're all such lovely people. We feel like a family. People say that all the time, but I really mean it."
Best Featured Actress in a Musical Nominee for The Color Purple
"I want to run down the street in my little silk nightgown and just scream! This is such a blessing. I mean, I woke up this morning and I was looking at my daughter—we have this huge king size bed—and I said to my husband, 'Her butt should be in her crib.' See I'd taken her out so she could lay with me. Well, we both ended up pushing my husband out of the bed, and he went into the other bedroom. So, this morning he came in about 8am, and she wanted to play. So we play for a while. Then she's done and… you know, I can't get back to sleep! Then that's when I get the phone call from my agent. The thing is, we laugh about this [awards] stuff backstage. We're knocking on each other's doors, 'Hey, congratulations! You got another one, girl!' I think if you do anything other than that, it gets in the way of the work. It's confirming. But you know, even without one nomination, we still feel good about the piece. The morale is still up. And I think that's plays a part, with the producers coming around — Scott Sanders and Roy Furman and Oprah poppin in now and then. But today I am going to get on my knees and have some quiet time with God, then go work out, and come back and feed my daughter. And stick with the plan, 'cause, baby, that's what you gotta do."
Best Director of a Musical Nominee for Jersey Boys
"My 15-year-old daughter called me from L.A. She was up early doing homework and saw the nominations online. It's nice to be awakened by your daughter with news like this! I'm sort of superstitious about these things, so I would never check myself; I knew someone would call me either way. I feel wonderful— obviously there were categories we weren't eligible for, such as Best Score, and I was disappointed that [choreographer] Sergio Trujillo and [costume designer] Jess Goldstein didn't get recognized, but no sour grapes here! I am more excited about this show than anything I've done because it reaches such a broad audience, including people who don't traditionally go to the theater. I felt it was a story we had to tell, and I'm very, very excited about being part of the Tonys this year."
Best Orchestrations for The Pajama Game
"I was lying in bed when the phone rang. We generally don't answer it because it's always someone calling to ask for money. So we let it ring three and a half times, and then when we heard on the answering machine that it was my friend Earl Rose, who is another musician. He said, 'Dick, look on the Internet, you got nominated!' So that's how we found out. It's quite a surprise. I'm very happy. It's a very nice thing to get a shot at this. In my old age, as I always say, you never know."
Best Director of a Musical Nominee for Sweeney Todd
"I was just getting off the plane from London this morning, and there was a message on my phone. You try not to think about it or you'll start playing mind games with yourself. I'm thrilled. Who wouldn't be? I think six nominations under any conditions is fantastic, but six nominations for a revival is really wonderful because there are lots of categories you can't fit into. I had hoped to see Patti [LuPone] and Michael [Cerveris] nominated because they have such huge roles and they do them so beautifully, but I'm also happy to see Mano Felciano nominated as Tobias. So much of the production has been based around how that character views the story, so it's nice to see him get the acknowledgment."
Best Featured Actress in a Play Nominee for Well
"It really lovely news, really lovely. I was very excited. In fact, I was as, or more, excited for Lisa [Kron, a Best Actress nominee] as I was for myself. But having won an Obie Award, which I was so proud to receive, [the Tony nomination] didn't feel Déjà vu-y at all to me, because everything about having gone to Broadway with Well [from the 2004 production at the Public Theater] has felt very fresh and new. Everything about it has felt like a first time for me—and not only me, but for our entire company, as it was all of our Broadway debuts. So each step of the way, since we first went into rehearsals for the Broadway production, has felt like, 'Oh, wow, I'm doing this for the first time. And that for the first time.' Or like, 'I've never had a dressing room in a Broadway house before!' So I feel like, with this tremendous honor, I'm still going to be learning a lot. Learning on my feet here! And meeting so many people that I've admired for so many years that, really, it still is a great adventure."
Best Leading Actress in a Play Nominee for The Constant Wife
"It's so nice that we were remembered. We closed August 21! It's insane. I found out by turning on the TV, and I don't know if I had a sense of the possibility, but truthfully—because the show had closed so long ago—I though it was only a remote chance. And my daughter and I watched because my husband [Michael Ritchie] is one of the producers of The Drowsy Chaperone, so I wanted to hear about that as well. And there it was! I was a true and complete wreck. My daughter is eight, and she was so excited. She gets a big kick out it, which is just the sweetest thing. I've gotten about 25 calls today, but I've been in rehearsal [for The Water's Edge at Second Stage] all day, so I haven't been able to call anyone back, and then I'm going over to Actors' Equity to vote on the new general secretary, so it's quite a day!"
Best Leading Actor in a Play Nominee for The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial
"My agent called before they even finished announcing the category—as soon as they said my name, he dialed! I was trying very hard to be asleep so I could be woken up with good news, or just sleep through it. It's a mixed blessing because the show has not done well, and it would have been nice to get more nominations. There's a certain focus toward the end of the season on [awards], which is a tricky thing for any show to deal with. I've been nominated twice before, for Brighton Beach Memoirs and Two Shakespearean Actors. I've never been completely comfortable with [awards season]. Believe me, it's thrilling to be nominated, but I've also been on the other side. Last year, with The Pillowman, I was the only person in the cast not nominated for anything, so I know how that feels. The main thing I wanted to bring to this part [Commander Queeg] is to humanize him. I've had a very good time, even though I have nothing good to say about him: He's paranoid, crazy, incompetent and a coward, but he's incredibly human. Now I have to go to the theater tonight and try not to give my Tony nomination performance, which I hear is a danger. Suddenly, everybody kicks it up a notch. I'll try to take it down a notch."
Best Leading Actor in a Play Nominee for Shining City
"I was in my bed. I try and sleep late because I have to do the show, and my publicist woke me up in classic publicist style. I did know they were coming out today. How could you not know? Everyone's telling you this is happening. You just try to live your life. It means a lot to me. It would mean a lot more to me, frankly, if other members of the ensemble—and I do think this is an ensemble play—and the creative team had been recognized. I think Martha [Plimpton] and Peter [Scanavino] are extraordinary in this play. Also extraordinary—for me, especially—is Brían [O'Byrne]. Anybody who has seen the play knows how woven our stories are. It would be so easy to say he's just sitting there listening, but it's so much more than that. I also would have loved to see [director] Bob Falls get recognized. I think Bob, in a way, is victim to his own talent because the best kind of directing is invisible, and I think that's what happened here. I'm thrilled for [playwright] Conor [McPherson]. I'm very excited. It's a tremendous honor."
Best Featured Actress in a Musical Nominee for The Drowsy Chaperone
"I am floating! I'm trying to stay in my body. Really! My husband was downstairs watching TV and I was upstairs in bed with a pillow over my head. I heard him running up the stairs; he burst into tears and I burst into tears. Soon I was on the phone with my mother in North Carolina, and she went straight to the important stuff: 'What are you wearing?' I text-messaged my 16-year-old at high school, and my 10-year-old got the news because he's at home with poison ivy all over his face. I'm doing a demo recording for a friend today, I'm going to go see a movie—whatever's playing at 2 or 3 o'clock—and then I'll get my nails done and go out to dinner. I'm just going to sit and be quiet and live in the moment for a while."