Tony Award Winners Share Their Reactions and More
After accepting the coveted trophies onstage during the broadcast, Tony winners headed backstage on their adrenaline-highs to chat with the press. Here’s some of our favorite moments from the Tony Awards media room.
Celia Keenan-Bolger (Best Featured Actress in a Play, “To Kill A Mockingbird”)
“When the play was announced I remember thinking ‘what lucky 8 year old girl is gonna get to play that part?’ And I was like ‘I’m gonna steal the part from that 8 year old girl!’ […] I told my therapist I just want to enjoy myself. She said that’s a lot to ask… you just have to be present. If I just showed up and went to work, the fruits of my labor would be rewarded. In this moment I feel enormously lucky.”
Bob Mackie, Best Costume Design in a Musical, “The Cher Show”)
“When I was 10 years old, my Uncle Cary asked me, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up Bobby?’ I said a costume designer on Broadway. He just rolled his eyes and walked away. But here I am 70 years later, and I just got my first Tony.”
Bertie Carvel, Best Featured Actor in a Play, “Ink”)
“The truth is, it’s a great relief to have it just out of the way. It’s so exhausting and full-throated. It’s not like back home where people pretend to be demure and like it doesn’t matter. Here, it’s exhausting. My adrenaline ended about 20 minutes ago.”
Rachel Chavkin, Best Director of a Musical, “Hadestown”
“Inclusion has long been a particular passion of mine. […] We have to pay attention to our own backyard. I think we’re seeing this incredible renaissance of voices working downtown, off-Broadway and regionally. It’s not a call for altruism. It’s a call for hiring good people. That previous work on Broadway is not a prerequisite for working on Broadway.”
Anaïs Mitchell, Best Original Score, “Hadestown”)
“Right now it feels like the doors are wide open and I’m excited to be a part of a generation of musical theater writers that are coming from all different backgrounds.”
Ali Stroker, Best Featured Actress in a Musical, “Oklahoma!”)
“Because of social media you’re able to connect to a lot of young people, and I’ve heard from a lot of aspiring actors and musicians with disabilities how exciting it is to see someone in a chair working on Broadway, and how that inspires them to keep going. It makes me feel amazing to be able to be that for them, because I did not have that as an 11 year old girl pursuing this dream. I was looking to see who was working, who has made it, who has a disability and is in a wheelchair, and there was nobody.”
“Unfortunately the music cut off the end of my speech, and I was thanking my partner David who has believed in me in every step of my career and encourages me every day to let my light shine. And I really want to make that part known, because I could not have done this without my partner.”
Andre de Shields, Best Featured Actor in a Musical, “Hadestown”
“Now that I have received my first Tony Award, which you know is the golden ring, the best that Broadway can offer. Now, I realize that the greater work that I want to achieve is ahead of me. I made a promise to my colleagues in Baltimore, specifically to my parents who had dreams of being a performers. My mother was a dancer and my father was a singer. When you see me dancing I’m using my mother’s feet. When you see me singing, I’m using my father’s voice. […} Now I can go about my next 73 years doing what satisfies.”
“I felt successful. I felt a kind of completion because I wasn’t going to leave Broadway until they gave me what I thought I deserve. But there’s so many other adventures that I want to have. And so many other mountains that I want to climb. Because at the end of this, the top of one mountain is the bottom of another. You have to keep climbing. I stare at the stars because they stare down me. I’m a capricorn. I’m a mountain climber. I’m looking for my next peak.”
Brian Cranston, Best Actor in a Musical, “The Network”
Two for two [Tony Awards] means retirement. No, I love it [theatre.] It really is the most fun an actor can have is to be on stage. But it drains the hell out you, because I seem to be attracted to really damaged characters. I keep thinking of comedies where an actor is just sitting around sipping tea, like wouldn’t that be nice? But I’m attracted to the damaged. But I have to go recuperate then come back.
[…] But it just depends on the show. It depends on the story, not even the character. If the story of “Network” and the supported text wasn’t really great, it doesn’t matter what the character is. The story has to move me and then the character jumps off the page.
Stephanie J. Block, Best Lead Actress in a Musical, “The Cher Show”)
“You don’t work for the award, but it is always that hope, wish, goal, dream. That journal paper I carried was from 1984, so to stand up there 30 years later to know that this actually happened really brings me to my knees.”