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The Tony Nominees React!

April 30, 2019 by Suzy Evans
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The 2019 Tony Award nominations were announced on Tuesday morning, and we chatted with the stars bright and early about the life-changing moment. Find out all the secrets of the Tony nominees below, and keep checking back for updates, as we’ll be talking to the nominees all day.

Heidi Schreck in “What the Constitution Means to Me”

Heidi Schreck, Best Play and Best Actress in a Play, “What the Constitution Means to Me”

How does it feel to be nominated for two Tony Awards?
I feel overwhelmed and honored. This is a childhood dream that honestly I had given up on quite a while ago. I thought, “This is not my path.” This play has taken an unexpected journey to get where it is now. This was not my imagined future for the play so it’s quite wonderful and a little shocking to me. I was so excited to be nominated alongside both Tarell [Alvin McCraney] and Taylor [Mac] who I have grown up in the theater together. I’m thrilled to be nominated with everybody.

How are you going to celebrate today?
I have a show tonight. So I have to rest and drink water and sleep. Try to keep my voice and body intact. It’s funny because I think the play appears to be sort of spontaneously happening in the moment, and of course it’s not. I think that Oliver Butler’s work as a director is remarkable and also it looks invisible. But the tremendous amount of work he’s put into the play to create an experience that feels extemporaneous is special.  I really want to give him a big shout out.

What would you say to your younger self in this moment?
I grew up in a very small town, so I think I would tell her New York City is not quite as terrifying as it seems so she can move when she’s a bit younger. I would also tell her that the things she is in love with, the things that she is passionate about are the things that will give her the most joy and she should focus on those things as much as possible, as opposed to trying to worry about the thing she’s supposed to care about.

Sarah Stiles and Andy Grotelueschen in “Tootsie.” (Photographed by Matthew Murphy)

Sarah Stiles, Best Featured Actress in a Musical, “Tootsie”

How are you feeling?
Holy crap, I am thrilled! I’m so thrilled for our company. I’m so just thrilled for “Tootsie.” I can’t believe how many nominations we got, and it’s going to be so fun to celebrate with them. This season has been bananas. I’m so humbled by it and ecstatic. I just feel so grateful to be a part of this category and this whole season.

How did you find out about your nomination?
I did the Actors Fund gala last night so I was sleeping and my boyfriend just comes in running into the room and said, “Congratulations!” And I just popped my eyes open.

Are you doing anything fun to celebrate?
I booked a massage and an acupuncture appointment at 11. No matter what happens, I’m going to need to get a rub down and get my qi centered. And then try on some outfits and then go do my amazing show with my amazing cast.

This is your second nomination. How does this year feel different?
It does feel different. Last time, I really didn’t expect it at all so when it happened, I just sobbed. You dream about being nominated as soon as you start doing Broadway and musical theater. The first time it happens, it’s so overwhelming. This time, I didn’t expect it, but you know what it feels like so you’re like, “I want to go to the party again.” There was more hope this time so when it happens, it’s so exciting. I’m not crying the same way. I’m just more excited. Now I know what’s in store.

What would you say to your younger self in this moment?
Oh god, well now you’re gonna make me cry! I think I would say all of your dreams can come true. You can be anything you want to be and you can get anything you want so just keep dreaming and know that you are enough to make it all happen. This feels like a dream come true. I really am in such a good place in my life and I’m so grateful.

Lilli Cooper in “Tootsie” on Broadway. (Photographed by Matthew Murphy)

Lilli Cooper, Best Featured Actress in a Musical, “Tootsie”

How did you find out about your nomination?
I’m still sort of freaking out. I slept through it because I was so anxious I didn’t set my alarm until after 9 o’clock. I rolled over and just saw 57 text messages on my phone and that was sort of my first hint and then I called my mom.

Are you doing anything fun to celebrate?
I sort of packed my day. I’m doing a table read and then I have a rehearsal for a concert. I definitely need to see my family, and I’m really excited to go to the theater and celebrate with everybody.

What would you say to your younger self in this moment?
I don’t think that I ever imagined that I would be here. It’s such a dream. It’s hard to even accept as reality right now. I was always so insecure as a young performer, and I think being confident in my ability and my skill and my talent. I think that I would push that on my younger self and try to be more confident in my abilities. I think I’ve gotten to a place where I should be really proud of myself, and I just want to live in that and bask because I worked really hard to get here.

Kelli O’Hara in “Kiss Me Kate” on Broadway. (Photographed by Joan Marcus)

Kelli O’Hara, Best Actress in a Musical, “Kiss Me Kate”

How did you find out about your nomination?
I was with my whole cast. We were at the Today Show. They were doing the Too Darn Hot number and I introduced then. It was great. And they got choreography and it’s a celebration almost around.

You’ve been nominated before. How does this time feel different?
Well it’ll always be wonderful. I’m very proud of our show. I’ve had a great time on it. My category is the most amazing women, including dear friends like Stephanie [J. Block] and Beth [Leavel] and Caitlin [Kinnunen], who played my daughter in “Bridges.” I couldn’t be more excited about that.

How are you going to celebrate today?
I got up at 4AM to do “The Today Show,” so I’m going to take a nap. I’m going to go do some ADR for a film, and then I’m going to go do my show, which is the most exciting part.

Sophia Anne Caruso and Alex Brightman in “Beetlejuice” on Broadway. (Photographed by Matthew Murphy)

Alex Brightman, Best Actor in a Musical, “Beetlejuice”

How did you find out about your nomination?
I love that everyone asks that question. I literally woke up with five minutes to spare. With “School of Rock,” I missed it. I got a text from my brother. I didn’t remember they were that early. For this one, I knew. I had a restless sleep last night for many other reasons. I opened the computer and googled where to find it. Is it on TV? Is it on a computer? And then found it.

How does it feel to be honored alongside so many people in your show?
It was especially cool because my name was a part of it My fists were very raised this morning, both fists pumping for every person that got a nomination. I’m thrilled for this creative team. Watching them work, not a lot of people get to watch that. We get to watch the creatives and the designers work, and that deserves more accolades than they ever get so I’m thrill that they’re getting some.

You tweeted something celebrating everyone in the season a few days ago. Can you talk about that?
It’s that thing I learned in community theater and it’s never left my brain or heart is just that everybody is so deserving of accolades when they do something that wasn’t there. Creating is an incredible feat. Sometimes awards can make people feel like it’s a competition, and I can see why. It’s always important to me before awards season happens to say something to the effect to we should be congratulating everyone all the time and not just a specific time.

What would you say to your younger self today?
You should get more sleep because you have a lot of stuff coming that won’t allow you to sleep. If I were to go back and tell “Wicked” Alex or even “Glory Days” when we closed after one performance, just so you know you’re going to be starring in two Broadway shows, I don’t think I’d believe it. Not because I don’t think I’m talented ,but the odds are so against you. When something like this happens, it feels miraculous. I’m not unaware that I got a role that many other hpeople auditioned for, and it does not escape me that one person is doing the thing. I’m very happy and very grateful for it.

Are you going to do anything fun to celebrate?
I’m going to do a show tonight. I’m going to celebrate by doing the show tonight. I’m going to bring the cast cookies or fried chicken or something.

Ali Stroker and James Davis in “Oklahoma!” on Broadway. (Photographed by Little Fang Photo)

Ali Stroker, Best Featured Actress in a Musical, “Oklahoma!”

How did you find out about your nomination?
I was watching the news and then I felt like the first five announced, and then it cut out to another story, so my boyfriend jumped up and looked online and he was like you got nominated. I haven’t stopped smiling. You feel like a kid again. When you’re an adult, so many parts of your life are being an adult. You really just fall into being a kid and you’re like, somebody is nominating you for an award. I feel really proud of the show and I feel really proud of my work.

Are you doing anything fun to celebrate?
Currently on the couch, and then I have a show at 7 and then after the show I think we’re all going to go have a little moment together.

What would you say to your younger self in this moment?
Just everything will arrive and come to you when the time is right. I can’t imagine this happening this before this. The timing of it all is crazy. And you just never know what is going to lead to the next thing.

Damon Daunno and Mary Testa in “Oklahoma!” on Broadway. (Photographed by Little Fang Photo)

Damon Daunno, Best Actor in a Musical, “Oklahoma!”

How did you find out about your nomination?
I got a call from my agent because I decided to stay in bed and abstain from watching the live announcements. I’m over the moon. It’s just so incredibly exciting. I’m so grateful to be part of the community and this show. And to be able to see it through in this way. It felt like Christmas morning.

It’s almost surreal. I’m just overwhelmed with gratitude because I’ve had a lot of luck, but I’ve also had a bit of bumpy road getting here. It’s just extra meaningful to see a project through from beginning to end so to be nominated for something that I’ve been with since the beginning is really special.

Are you going to do anything fun to celebrate?
Yeah I’m going to cook a big breakfast for me and my wife, maybe some pancakes.

What would you say to your younger self in this moment?
I would say I’m proud of you for not quitting. And then hopefully this is the beginning of a new creative chapter as well and to keep going.

Mary Testa, Best Featured Actress in a Musical, “Oklahoma!”
I’m just delighted and I’m thrilled and proud and very excited for the event and also really it’s really lovely to be nominated in this particular group of women who are mostly friends of mine.

Reeve Carney and Eva Noblezada in “Hadestown” on Broadway. (Photographed by Matthew Murphy)

Rachel Chavkin, Best Director of a Musical, “Hadestown”

How did you hear about your nomination?
The director’s nomination is, in a sense, everyone else’s nomination so more than anything I’m so proud of the team. Anais [Mitchell] and I were in a taxi cab coming back at 1AM last night, coming back from the album recording, and we chanted pretty much the whole way about hope for recognition of our whole company. It feels thrilling.

It feels good. This story is so ancient, and at the same time, it feels so timely. It feels like a revival in that room every night with our audience. Something very special and singular is happening so it feels more than anything, to get the most nominations feels like a recognition that something very singular is happening. The show feels so now. And the promise that spring does come again and there is hope in the act of telling the story.

This is your second nomination. How does this year feel different?
I’ll probably be a lot more relaxed this year. I was very well-behaved at the Tony Awards last time and now I would be more interested in having a good time because I think we got celebrated for being artists. That’s how these nominations feel. As you approach the season you can still be an artist, you don’t’ have to become a corporate hound. That’s liberating to keep in mind.

What would you say to your younger self in this moment?
I would say, keep directing that show in the basement of the bar during the day when you can get it for free because your company members working there. Fifteen people are going to come to your showing. That is worth it. And never stop doing that and occasionally there will be bigger rooms to come ahead. Keep making work for 15 people because the grassroots is where everything is born.

Anaïs Mitchell, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score, “Hadestown”

How did you find out about your nomination?
I was on my phone. I had dropped my kid off at school. I couldn’t figure out to stream the announcement. So I just had Rachel [Chavkin] text me every time there was a nomination. I was on a thread with Rachel and Amber Gray, and then I would text back emogis

How does it feel that “Hadestown” is the most-nominated show?
Amazing. I can’t believe it. I love how many people have been recognized in our cast and our creative team. “Hadestown” has taken a long and unconventional path to Broadway, and so many artists have put their hands on it and kept it moving at certain times. I really feel like it’s taken a village and it’s nice to see a village worth of nominations.

Are you going to do anything fun to celebrate?
We’re smack in the middle of working on our cast recording so I’ll probably go to the studio and keep working because it’s the most down to Earth thing to do.

What would you tell your younger self in this moment?
It’s a good thing to remind myself of because I think any of us at any stage of our lives and our careers are like, this is what I know. I know how to write three-and-a-half minute song so I’ll do what I know how to do. We can blaze new trails we can enter new terrain as artists and people, and I hope that I’ll stay curious and stay open to trying new kinds of art or just new things in life.

Patrick Page and Reeve Carney in “Hadestown” on Broadway. (Photographed by Matthew Murphy)

Patrick Page, Best Featured Actor in a Musical, “Hadestown”

How does it feel to be nominated?
It’s thrilling for me, and I’ve been around long enough. I was trying to figure it out this morning. My first Broadway show was almost exactly 20 years ago. And my first professional show when I got my Equity card was almost 30 years ago. This is my 15th Broadway show. I’ve been around long enough to really know how rare and special this all is.

This is your first nomination too.
You try as hard as you can — or I have been trying as hard as I can to try not to care too much about it — because if you do and then you don’t get nominated, you’re just crushed and that’s happened to me in the past. I do care about it, and it’s wonderful to be acknowledged by your peers.

What would you say to your younger self looking back in this moment?
I would say just keep acting. What you can see in retrospect — which you cannot see when you’re in the middle of something — is that there is strange and mysterious kind of sense to those things which you thought you wanted, but it turns out if you had gotten what you wanted, it wouldn’t have been the best thing for you. When I first came to New York, I thought — and I hope most young performers are filled with enough false confidence as I was that they think they’re going to have their first Tony Award in a year or two. Had I been nominated for a Tony, I wouldn’t have appreciated it well enough and probably been really full of myself. And now hopefully I’m neither of those things. I can put it into context and know it’s wonderful to be acknowledged.

Bradley King, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, “Hadestown”

How did you find out about your nomination?
I had just dropped my older daughter off at pre-K, and my wife and I were walking, each with an ear bud in, watching the livestream.

How does it feel to be nominated among so much of your company?
It’s hugely humbling especially to be in a group of such exceptional peers many of whom I worked with and worked for. I’m mostly filled with a lot of love and for Anaïs Mitchell and Rachel Chavkin, who I think are two of the most incredible women that I’ve ever worked with.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
It’s still a little overwhelming. It’s still a little shocking. I think 17-year-old me still thought I was going to be a Broadway actor. To arrive in any sort of capacity on Broadway and then get a chance to go to the Tonys. It’s a recognition of a dream that I couldn’t even fathom.

Beth Leavel and Michael Potts in “The Prom” on Broadway. (Photographed by Deen van Meer)

Beth Leavel, Best Actress in a Musical, “The Prom”

How did you find out about your nomination?
My fiancé came and woke me up. I woke up at 4AM. I don’t like to watch them live, and then of course I fell back to sleep and my cat and I were just laying I’ve been walking and pacing every since.

How are you going to celebrate today?
I have a show to do and just being at the theater with my family. I’m responding to emails and just celebrating this fabulous season. It’s so diverse and so full and just to be a small part of that.

You’ve been nominated before. What do you know now going into it?
You go in with knowledge of what’s kind of going to happen so it makes it a little more enjoyable as opposed to panic-stricken. You go in a little calmer and maybe a little more available just to be in the moment and not be swirling.

It’s the epitome of what your career is striving for, to be nominated for a Tony Award. Particularly with “The Prom,” Dee Dee is so close to me that it’s such a delicious process giving birth to her. They’re allowed Beth Leavel to have my DNA all over this complex woman. I have such ownership and love for Dee Dee and with the creatives and myself, we’ve just given birth to this. It just makes it more special to be recognized.

Isabelle McCalla and Caitlin Kinnunen in “The Prom.” (Photographed by Deen van Meer)

Caitlin Kinnunen, Best Actress in a Musical, “The Prom”

How did you find out about your nomination?
I am staying at hotel. I treated myself to a staycation because I wanted to be in my own space and cry and have my feelings. I was watching the livestream and I was shocked and am very overwhelmed. I called my mom, and I was just like, “I got nominated for a Tony!” She’s in Seattle and woke up far too early to watch the announcements so she knew and was just excited.

How does it feel to be honored alongside your cast and creative team?
It’s amazing. It’s incredible. We all have been working on this show for so long and care so greatly about it so to have so many nominations come in is incredible. Our hard work is paying off. I’m so grateful to be in a category with Beth [Leavel]. She is the most incredible woman. I’m honored to be in the show with her every night. It’s overwhelming.

What advice would you give to your younger self in this moment?
Just relax. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy every part of your life. And don’t worry so much.

Brooks Ashmanskas, Best Actor in a Musical, “The Prom”
To say that I’m thrilled and honored to be on that list with those wonderful gentlemen is a huge understatement. Congratulations to all the nominees, and I’m so grateful for all the love out there for “The Prom.”

Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar, Best Score, “The Prom”
Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin, Best Book of a Musical, “The Prom”

We have been writing musicals together for over 25 years. It is beyond thrilling to be a part of the theater community, which we love so much, and an absolute honor to be amongst such talented fellow nominees. To be recognized in this way for an original musical, is simply overwhelming. If we could go back and tell those two college kids, who first met over greasy fries in a NYC diner, that they would be nominated for a Tony Award for Best Original Score, their minds would be blown. We share this with our amazing “The Prom” family who bring this show to life every night.

Ephraim Sykes, center, in “Ain’t Too Proud” on Broadway. (Photographed by Matthew Murphy)

Ephraim Sykes, Best Featured Actor in a Musical, “Ain’t Too Proud”

How did you find out about your nomination?
I had a massage therapy appointment at my apartment at 9AM. I went ahead and woke up to watch the livestream. I was in my bed with one eye open.

Are you doing anything else today to celebrate?
Honestly no, besides doing the show. It’s going to be so fun tonight. I’ve got a voice lesson before so I can do the show because I’ve been weeping all morning. The show receives so much love, our cast, and our creatives have all been calling and loving on each other.

What does this moment mean to you?
I literally can’t find the words. It doesn’t feel real. It’s so miraculous and God is so good. It’s a dream that I could have never dreamt. I made my Broadway debut with Derrick Baskin and Jeremy Pope and I go way back. It’s like the family is winning. The one thing is this whole process for me has been lesson in trust and trusting God and trusting even when I don’t know that I’m capable that I am enough. As long as I keep focusing on giving and using my gift to give to others, I do believe God will open doors you could never open for yourself.

Dominique Morisseau, Best Book of a Musical, “Ain’t Too Proud”
The one thing I’ve told my cast repeatedly is that we are storytellers first.  Our mission as storytellers is to serve the people that we are telling stories about.  In this case, that is Detroit.  That is Otis Williams, our incredible muse.  And that is the legend of the Temptations.  So this recognition just makes me feel like we’re doing our job.  And oh yeah, go Detroit!

Paddy Considine, Best Actor in the Play, “The Ferryman”

How did you find out about your nomination?
I was completely unaware that they were being announced so it was my agent that called me this afternoon. It was a bit of a shock really, a pleasant shock. I just try to not focus on those kinds of things. It was a real surprise when it was announced. I had no idea.

What does it mean to be honored with the play and your castmates?
It’s nothing without everything that came together. You’re nothing if the material wasn’t incredible. It was a joy to get this script. I knew it was going to be a life-changing thing the minute I read it, and I didn’t realize it was going to be two years of my life. Working with Sam Mendes was one of the greatest things that I’ve ever been graced with. My cast members, I couldn’t have asked for better people to work with. From beginning to end it was a fantastic journey. It was tough and it had its moments, but it was very very special. I couldn’t imagine doing it with any other people.

This is your first nomination.
It’s my first ever stage performance. Something about it felt inevitable. It felt like something I had to do, and I was very lucky on all fronts. It was just brilliant. I’m just really grateful for the nod alone. It was a real surprise and I feel really proud. It’s a little bit of confirmation that people were seeing the work you were doing up there. You can’t do any of it without your teammates without your company.

Fionnula Flanagan, Best Featured Actress in a Play, “The Ferryman”

How did you find out about your nomination?
I found out by going online because when I got up, channel 1 was halfway through the announcements and I thought I better go online and see who else got nominated. I’m thrilled and then I got two calls from overseas. They were paying a lot more attention to nominations.

“The Ferryman” just got a lot of new cast members. What has it been like doing the show with a new group of people?
I’m enjoying it every single night. It’s a terrific epic to be a part of. They’re terrific. They’re absolutely wonderful. I thought, “Oh will they ever be able to do the north of Ireland accents?” And they’re wonderful. I couldn’t’ be happier. It’ll probably be a bit scary tonight going onstage because now I have a lot to live up to.

How are you going to celebrate today?
I already have two lunch invitations so there you go.

Laura Donnelly in “The Ferryman” on Broadway. (Photographed by Joan Marcus)

Laura Donnelly, Best Actress in a Play, “The Ferryman”
I’m so thrilled and honored to be nominated in the company of such talented women. Bringing “The Ferryman” to Broadway has been an incredible journey. The play means so much to me on a personal level and for it to have been recognized in this way brings me immense pride and joy. The Tony nomination is the icing on top of a very special cake.

Ephraim Sykes, Jeremy Pope, Jawan M. Jackson, James Harkness, and Derrick Baskin in “Ain’t Too Proud” on Broadway. (Photographed by Matthew Murphy)

Sergio Trujillo, Best Choreography, “Ain’t Too Proud”

How does it feel to be nominated?
For the entire show to get the recognition that it got, I’m very proud of the work that was done by my entire creative team. It’s just incredibly fulfilling to be able to celebrate with our entire company in the way that we were acknowledged

Are you going to do anything to celebrate today?
My day is full of real-life stuff. The next couple of hours, I had daddy duty so I’m going to celebrate with my son. Tonight I’ll take a moment to celebrate. I’m gonna go to theater and spend time with my cast and the actors and my team. And make some calls during the day.

What does this moment mean to you?
I think it’s a good moment to look back. I’ve been at this for 15 years with my first outing being “Jersey Boys.” To stay present, to stay relevant, to continue to do important work, to continue to do work that has integrity and to always push myself to be better to take this moment is to take a moment to celebrate is an important moment in one’s journey.

Des McAnuff, Best Director of a Musical, “Ain’t Too Proud”

How did you find out about your nomination?
I actually got a call and a text simultaneously so I was getting it from two directions. I think they were rolling in at first so I didn’t realize right away that we had 12. I feel like the three actors that got recognized — Derrick and Ephraim and Jeremy — they represent a whole ensemble and they would be the first to say that. It’s great that they’re each received a spotlight.

You had pretty good luck at the Tonys with “Jersey Boys.” How does it feel this time around?
I’ve had really good luck with this genre. The peculiar thing is I’ve actually only done three [jukebox musicals]. Since “Jersey Boys,” I’ve done 27 plays and some of them more than once. If I was gambler, I think I would be dragging this genre to the casino with me. The thing that I think separates “Ain’t Too Proud” is that it’s been a very rich and long gestation period. We started working on this more than four years.

People are definitely going wild for it and that’s the most satisfying thing of all — standing in the back of the theater and watching people who are truly moved by this story. This is a history on one level but it’s very much about what’s going on in America right now and I think people really feel that in the audience.

Jeremy Pope, center, in “Choir Boy” on Broadway. (Photographed by Matthew Murphy)

Camille A Brown, Best Choreography, “Choir Boy”

How did you find out about your nomination?
Two of my best friends called me and they were screaming, “You got nominated for a Tony!” That’s how I found out. I didn’t watch so I didn’t know why they were calling so this was an amazing surprise. That was my alarm clock. I think I was speechless for about four minutes.

How are you going to celebrate today?
I think this is also connected to how I feel, in terms of feeling seen and feeling heard and being acknowledged ,that is connected to the African-American social dance experience. It’s become greater than me, if that makes sense. It lifts up a people and culture and that feels good to be able to celebrate that and to be able to say thank you to [Director] Tripp Cullman and [playwright] Tarell Alvin McCraney and my associates. I think any time you have an opportunity to say thank you to people, it’s a good day.

Tarell Alvin McCraney, Best Play, “Choir Boy”
“Choir Boy” inspired me motivated me watching that amazing cast led by Jeremy Pope, and that incredible production directed by Trip Cullman everyday I knew we had to do everything we could to tell stories yet untold. I’m honored by this nomination … all of them. I’m so excited to see so much of our production recognized; especially alongside folks like Taylor Mac. It’s humbling. I hope we’ve made MTC proud. #ForDrew

Michael Urie and Mercedes Ruehl in “Torch Song” on Broadway. (Photographed by Matthew Murphy)

Richie Jackson, Best Revival of a Play, “Torch Song”

How did you find out?
I was taking our baby on our daily morning bicycle ride, and my husband Jordan Roth texted me the good news. I am overwhelmed and deeply moved. I was working at the Haagen Daz in Merrick, Long Island in 1983 when the original “Torch Song” won and my mother called me to share the exciting news. So 36 years later, to have this full circle moment is a celebration of my friendship and collaboration with Harvey [Fierstein]. It’s an incredible gift.

Santino Fontana in “Tootsie” on Broadway. (Photographed by Matthew Murphy)

Scott Ellis, Best Director of a Musical, “Tootsie”

How did you find out about your nomination?
My husband took the kids to school;  he was very sweet about that. I didn’t know how to turn on the television. It’s a new television. My husband came back and he turned it on so we were able to watch it. It was really cool because “Kiss Me Kate” had a live performance on “The Today Show.” I flipped over to watch them.

How are you going to celebrate today?
I have meetings for a new show that I’m starting work on. I’ll pick up my son to go to the doctor’s, so there’s the balance there. I will go each of the shows. “Tootsie” has a 7:30 show so I’ll go to the theater to say hi and then I’ll go to “Kiss Me Kate.” It’s a nice reminder to have both of those shows nominated.

You’ve been nominated before. What makes this time feel different?
I remember my first Tony nomination as if it was yesterday. I remember everything about it. I think I could tell you where I was for most of them. It definitely doesn’t get old. You’re aware as long as you’re in this business that you have to celebrate and be grateful when you have things that you’ve worked on that people seem to like because that’s not always the case. And that’s okay; that’s just what this business is. Enjoy it. If you’re as lucky as I am you’ll be able to enjoy it more than once.

What would you say to yourself at the beginning of your career?
I do not want to get maudlin about this. My mom passed away on the day I started previews of “Kiss Me Kate,” and she loved theater and she was a real reason I had a love for theater. I know she’s someplace overseeing and smiling and I sense that and it makes it a little more special because that.

Michael Benjamin Washington, Robin de Jesús, and Charlie Carver (Photographed by Robert Trachtenberg)

Robin de Jesus, Best Featured Actor in a Play, “The Boys in the Band”

How does it feel to be recognized so long after your show closed?
I hoped that they still remembered the show, and I’m so happy that they did. It was such an amazing experience for all of us in that group. I’m happy that we got that revival nomination. It’s such a blessing. I’ve been saying that I feel very seen in a way that it feels like a community hug. I never understood when people discuss accolades and they always use the phrase, “I feel so humbled.” I always thought it was crap, but now I get it.

How are you going to celebrate today?
I’m gonna meet a friend and we’re gonna eat some good food and maybe have some drinks. My family has been on the phone with me all day too. The cast of the show, we have a group thread, so the group thread is just blowing up and yeah it’s nothing but love

What would you say to your younger self in this moment?
I would say thank you to myself for having developed and nurtured the friendships and the relationships in my family that I have because the group of people that I have around me is so wonderful and I feel so fortunate. Because these relationships are so nourished ,when we celebrate each other it is so beautiful.

Nathan Lane in “Gary.”

Taylor Mac, Best Play, “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus”
I’m feeling so so proud of ‘Gary’ and all involved.  Our play asks the question, ‘How can one cope when chaos permeates?’ And the answer is, at least on this Tuesday morning:  put on a play that grapples with the horror of the world and put it on with a bunch of exceptional humans.  Thank you to everybody who championed this new play and all the other work this season.

Jonny Lee Miller and Bertie Carvel in “Ink” on Broadway. (Photographed by Joan Marcus)

Bertie Carvel, Best Actor in a Play, “Ink”

How did you find out about your nomination?
I rolled over in bed and looked at my phone I’ve got a new policy of not having my phone in the bedroom, but I broke my own rule last night and there was the phone overflowing with well wishes with friends and family. And then the battery ran out.

I couldn’t be more pleased. I feel very proud. It’s particularly moving to be here halfway across the world and to be welcomed in this way. I’m really struck by the way people say, “Welcome to New York.” Everybody says it here. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say, “Welcome to London,” which isn’t to say Londoners aren’t welcoming. But everybody says it here, and this feel like an extension of that. I feel genuinely proud. It feels like a validation. I feel proud about it. I’m very grateful.

This is your second Tony nomination. How does it feel this time?
If I’m honest, I think that last time around the block I felt like the thing to do was to be demur and modest and maybe I think that may have come across other than I intended. I learned to enjoy it. You just gotta enjoy it. It’s great to be celebrated. I think I used to feel complicated about these things, a little embarrassed to be singled out. I’m done with all of that. I’m just going to enjoy the fanfare for what it is.

What advice would you give your younger self in this moment?
My mother always told me to believe in myself and that’s really good advice. That’s the advice I would give anyone. You just go to believe in yourself because if you don’t then who will?

James Graham, Best Play, “Ink”
I just feel so honored to see “Ink” feature in the Best Play category, especially alongside such incredible shows and these fellow writers I admire. Writing plays can be a scary thing (especially when they’re about Rupert Murdoch!) and also a lonely thing before you share them with others. So to be on Broadway and among this welcoming community is pretty much a dream come true. I’m so proud to be at MTC in particular, alongside “Choir Boy” in the same category, and to have five other nominations for our show including Rupert for directing and Bertie for his amazing performance as Murdoch. We’ve only just opened and I can’t wait to keep sharing this show with audiences in the weeks and months ahead.

Bryan Cranston in “Network”

Bryan Cranston, Best Actor in a Play, “Network”
It’s hard to stay Mad as Hell when you’re nominated for a Tony! Thank you to the members of the American Theater Wing & the Broadway League for this recognition.

Andre de Shields in “Hadestown” on Broadway. (Photographed by Matthew Murphy)

Andre de Shields, Best Featured Actor in a Musical, “Hadestown”
This morning I am a little bit bewitched, waking up to the roar of love that came spilling into my life because of the Tony Nomination. Was I waking up from a dream? How will I ever respond to the tsunami of texts, voice messages and phone calls? For now, I am content, just sitting enjoying the flood of love.

Celia Keenan-Bolger in “To Kill a Mockingbird” on Broadway. (Photographed by Julieta Cervantes)

Celia Keenan-Bolger, Best Featured Actress in a Play, “To Kill a Mockingbird”
This day started differently than past nominations mornings. Previously, waking up at 8:30 felt extremely early, but this year, my 4 year old came into our room around 6:15am so I’ve been up for a couple of hours. 

I am so enormously proud to be a part of this production and the first person I thought of when these nominations were announced was Harper Lee. I wish she was alive to witness this production and I hope she’d feel so proud of what Aaron Sorkin has made and that something she wrote in 1960 about 1934 is having such a huge impact in 2019. She’s the reason we all get to be here and I am so moved that her contribution lives on through these awards.

I am, of course, so grateful to be nominated, but this production has been a true collaboration from the start. So it is especially meaningful to me that so many people were recognized.

I am so thankful, especially to Gideon and Will, since we are such a trio and so much of my performance hinges on them. I rely on them completely both as actors and humans every single time we perform. I’m over the moon for Gideon.

Gideon Glick, Best Featured Actor in a Play, “To Kill a Mockingbird”

How did you find out about your nomination?
I was trying to sleep in. I thought the nominations were at 9, and I woke up two minutes before the category was announced. And then I got a twitter message so that’s how I found out.

How do you feel?
I’m utterly shocked and just deeply grateful. I feel like I grew up in the community and to be acknowledged by this community feels amazing.

Dill is an incredible character, and I love what he represents within the show and I’m so excited for the play itself that we got the recognition that we got. It’s a collaborative art form. None of these performances or any of it exist without the whole group, and I think it’s such an exceptional group of people. I feel so lucky to be working with everybody and this incredible company and crew.

What would you say to your younger self in this moment?
It’s such a roller coaster of a business and this is kind of a cliché but keep believing in yourself and what makes your different can be your blessing. It’s all about the work. It’s about the craft. It’s about the hard work that you put into it, and it’s not about all the other stuff. It’s about your love for what you do and that has to be nurtured.

Adam Driver in “Burn This” on Broadway. (Photographed by Matthew Murphy)

Adam Driver, Best Actor in a Play, “Burn This”
“It’s hard to articulate the honor it is to be nominated. I’m beyond thrilled to be a part of this play, with this cast and director, and this production team. It’s a meaningful moment in my life that I’m very grateful for.”

The ensemble of “Kiss Me Kate” on Broadway. (Photographed by Joan Marcus)

Warren Carlyle, Best Choreography, “Kiss Me Kate”
What a crazy amazing day. My nomination for Best Choreography for “Kiss Me Kate” was announced whilst I was directing a technical rehearsal for the Hugh Jackman World tour in Wakefield, a small town in the north of England.

It was 1:30 UK time. Hugh and the cast were onstage, and unknown to me, had planned to surprise me if I was lucky enough to be nominated.

Hugh announced from the stage that I had been nominated. The cast surrounded me, and my nomination was announced on the video screens on the set. I was in a warehouse surrounded by 193 crew who all stopped what they were doing and cheered. Needless to say I was moved to tears and have spent and have spent every moment since then feeling ever so grateful.

“Kiss Me Kate” is my 14th Broadway show and has been one of the most fulfilling shows I’ve choreographed. I’m extremely proud of this work and this honor of a Tony nomination.

“The Ferryman”

Sam Mendes, Best Director of a Play, “The Ferryman”
“I’m absolutely thrilled to have been nominated. ‘The Ferryman’ has been one of the best experiences of my professional life, and this really is the cherry on the cake.”  

John Lithgow and Laurie Metcalf in “Hillary and Clinton”

Laurie Metcalf, Best Actress in a Play, “Hillary and Clinton”
It’s such a wonderful honor to get nominated for playing this role.  It’s an honor I share with our brilliant playwright, Lucas Hnath, all three of my incredible scene partners, and the great Joe Mantello.

Will Roland and the cast of “Be More Chill” on Broadway. (Photographed by Maria Baranova)

Joe Iconis, Best Original Score, “Be More Chill”
I am so very honored to represent our entire misfit musical with this beyond-appreciated nomination! I’m proud that our weirdo,  homegrown show about anxiety, depression, and pill-sized supercomputers is getting to play in a sandbox with such esteemed company. The nomination might have my name on it, but it’s really for all the people who have been on the “Be More Chill” journey over the years — the artists who created it and the human beings who love it.

Amber Gray in “Hadestown” on Broadway. (Photographed by Matthew Murphy)

Amber Gray, Best Featured Actress in a Musical, “Hadestown”
Thank you to the Broadway League and The American Theater Wing for the personal honor and all of the “Hadestown” love.  I am so proud to be sharing this work of art, night after night, and am thrilled people are resonating with it.  There are so many fellow artists I adore, some I consider family, nominated this year, and I can’t wait to go on this celebratory ride with them.  Congrats to all.

Andy Grotelueschen in “Tootsie” on Broadway. (Photographed by Matthew Murphy)

Andy Grotelueschen, Best Featured Actor in a Musical, “Tootsie”
What a crazy morning! I couldn’t be prouder of this show, and I’m ecstatic that NYC audiences are enjoying it. And personally, I just called my mom in Iowa and she screamed.

Janet McTeer in “Bernhardt/Hamlet” on Broadway. (Photographed by Joan Marcus)

Janet McTeer, Best Actress in a Play, Bernhardt/Hamlet
I’m so happy ! I woke up in Maine to find an exploding cellphone. I didn’t know they were being announced today and also since we closed in November I had presumed everyone would have forgotten! I’m thrilled for Theresa and Moritz and all the cast the entire production team as it’s a testament to them and congratulations to Toni for her costume nomination!!! and I’m sure the great Sarah Bernhardt is smiling somewhere. I’m going to have a blueberry muffin and go and walk the dog by the ocean to celebrate.What fun!!! So thrilled.

Elaine May in “The Waverly Gallery” on Broadway. (Photographed by Brigitte Lacombe)

Kenneth Lonergan, Best Revival of a Play, “The Waverly Gallery”
Working with Elaine May was one of the great experiences of my life. It’s thrilling to be nominated alongside all these amazing shows. I loved this production and I’m very grateful to Lila Neugebauer and the entire stupendous cast for everything they gave to tell a very difficult story.

Mart Crowley, Best Revival of a Play, “The Boys in the Band”
Never in a million years did I imagine that I would be a Tony nominee at this point in my career. Everything about this production has been an unexpected delight and to be honored with a nomination is beyond my wildest dreams.  I can’t thank Joe Mantello, Ryan Murphy, David Stone and the brilliant company enough. This 83-year old first-time Tony nominee couldn’t be happier this morning!

Rob Howell, Best Scenic Design and Best Costume Design of a Play, “The Ferryman”
I am thrilled about these nominations. It’s enough luck to get to move our show from London to Broadway, so these nine nominations seem embarrassingly greedy. Of course, I am learning very fast how to manage the embarrassment and celebrate today’s news.

David Neumann, Best Choreography, “Hadestown”
I’m thrilled to receive this nomination. I’m deeply grateful to be working alongside such talented and lovely people. We love “Hadestown” and are so grateful for the recognition!!!