There was an extra spring in the step of Tony Award attendees this year, thanks to the past season’s record box office and because of the risk-taking on display in this year’s nominees.
“Hand to God” writer Robert Askins noted that the success of his play is a big victory for shows that start from humble beginnings way off of the Main Stem.
“This is validation for a lot of people who struggle without reward or recognition,” Askins said. A win for best play “would be good and healing and healthy for all of our souls.”
The carpet outside Radio City Music Hall had plenty of finery and star power. The number of actors who juggled stage roles this past season with TV and film work was notable. Annaleigh Ashford, nommed for musical “You Can’t Take it with You,” said she couldn’t believe her good fortune in being able to play a stage character who was such a polar opposite than the one she plays on Showtime’s “Masters of Sex.”
“I’m lucky to be working right now when we have so much to do in different mediums,” she said.
Ben Miles, nommed for lead actor in a play for “Wolf Hall,” said he was ready for a vacation in Europe soon after giving his all to the extra-long play. But for sure, “Wolf Hall Part 3” is on the horizon in a year or so, he said.
“It’s more like a sport than an art, this job,” Miles said of the acting profession.
The booming job market isn’t just limited to actors. Bob Crowley, scenic designer and costume designer, grabbed four Tony noms across three shows: “An American in Paris,” “Skylight” and “The Audience.” “I love dressing actors,” he explained. Next up for him is an opera, “Great Scott,” in Dallas written by Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally. Never a dull moment.
One of the biggest charmers working the carpet was 11-year-old Sydney Lucas, nommed for the musical “Fun Home.” She still can’t believe she scored a nom just weeks after her Broadway debut in the much-praised musical about a woman coming to grips with her father. At a time when most kids her age are firmly focused on goofing off during summer vacation, Lucas couldn’t predict what was next for her. “I’m just taking it day by day,” she said, after a deep breath.
Business is good even for those who didn’t make it into the Tony circle this year. Kelsey Grammer, star of “Finding Neverland,” admitted that the snub from Tony voters “hurt a lot of people” who work on the show, success is surely its own best reward.
“This show will be filling seats for 30 years,” he said.