2012 Tony Awards – Media Room

Hope was the theme of the night as the winners come into the Tony Awards media room after accepting their trophies at the 2012 Tony Awards. Michael McGrath, who won Best Featured Actor in a Musical, said he would tell aspiring actors to persevere, no matter what. “It’s a struggle to find what makes you great,” he told the reporters.

McGrath, who has been recognized by the Outer Critics Circle and the Drama Desk for his performance as Cookie in Nice Work If You Can Get It, credited the role to its comic strength, saying, “It’s great to see a good comic role these days.”

Christopher Gattelli, who won Best Choreography for Newsies, said the win is symbolic for the cast, twelve of whom are making their Broadway debuts, saying, “Those boys, as themselves, are showing the world what they can do and that they’re ready to step up to the table as performers and artists.”

Paloma Young, who won Best Costume Design for Peter and the Starcatcher, said, “We really took it up a notch with the mustard container bra, which is a new personal favorite,” of the makeshift mermaid costumes featured in the second act of the play. “When I put the steamers on Christian’s bra, I showed them to him right before I put them on and said, ‘Sorry to throw this at you. Maybe you can do something with these in the song, because they open and close,’ and Christian found the perfect place to feature them in the song. True collaboration.”

Young said her advice to newcomers in the industry is, “Say yes to everything!”

Alan Menkin and Jeff Calhoun, who won Best Original Score for Newsies, were proud of their work, which was unsuccessful twenty years ago, and is now a hit on Broadway.

“I’m a New Yorker. I grew up on theater. It doesn’t get any better than this,” Menkin said. “When you get honored like this, it’s like something about the entire work has touched people.”

The two had high praise for their collaborator Harvey Fierstein, saying, “Everyone knows the outrageous show biz side of Harvey, but Harvey is a really smart guy. He’s a mensch and he’s a pro. That’s all that mattered to us.”

Menkin, who has eight Oscars, 11 Grammys, a Drama Desk, seven Golden Globes, and now a Tony Award, said, “I’m in training for an Emmy.”

Bob Crowley, who won for Best Scenic Design in a Musical for Once, said of the scaled-down set, “We’re living in tricky times and spending a lot of money isn’t cool and the bling era has gone, and we’re the better for that.” He referenced the heart of the show, saying, “This is a story about people who don’t have much but they have great souls and they have great songs and great talent.”

The great talent was appreciated in Christian Borle, who won Best Featured Actor in a Play as Black Stashe in Peter and the Starcatcher. Borle spoke of his stage debut, saying, “When I was 15, years old I was 4 feet, 11 inches, and my friend dragged me to Oklahoma! I got Will Parker. My first girlfriend was Ado Annie, so that helped seal the deal as well.”

Borle, who also stars on the television show Smash, said his advice to aspiring actors would be, “You could drive yourself less crazy if you adhere to the dictum that other people’s success is not your failure.”

The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess won Best Revival of a Musical, and director Diane Paulus said of the show’s controversy, including the New York Times article by composer Stephen Sondheim, “Stephen Sondheim wrote from a place of passion. He believes in the artistry of this piece. I hope someday he will come and see The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess bceause I feel it is the Porgy and Bess of our time.”

Hugh Jackman was honored with the Special Tony Award for his contributions to the community. Jackman spoke warmly of his experiences with the theater, saying, “It’s where I began, where I learned my craft, its where I fell in love with acting. I always go after places are called and stand at the curtain and listen to the buzz of the audience. It’s what I remember the most. Magic can happen there. That’s what I love and I still will be able to keep coming back… as an actor, I definitely my top ten moments all would be on stage. Not to knock film acting but there’s something magical that can happen onstage. ”

Nina Arianda, who won Best Actress in a Play for her performance as Vanda in Venus in Fur, will be concluding her run in the play next week. She said, “It’s very sad and it’s very exhilarating that this journey of 3 years is ending in a week.”

Arianda spoke of Venus in Furs’ journey from the Classic Stage Company to Broadway, saying, “It’s been incredible. The fact that this show which was down at CSC made it way to Broadway is incredible. The fact that David Ives’ words are on Broadway is incredible. It is in every sense of a word a dream come true….Is that a sense of a word of a sense of a sentence?”

When asked if she had any advice for newcomers to the industry, Arianda, who made her Broadway debut last year in Born Yesterday, said, “I feel like a newcomer. I would say, “Stay curious and if you really want it, never ever stop.”

Steve Kazee, who won Best Actor in a Musical for his role as Guy in Once, said, “I’ve sort of jokingly said if you hang out with me or work with me, you will win a Tony. I did Spamalot with Christian and Michael McGrath, went to school with Nina, did 110 in the Shade with Audra, Judith Light and I became friends recently…I can’t explain to you what it’s like to sit there and watch this unfold.”

Kazee, who recently lost his mother to cancer, said of the vulnerability he expresses during the show and in his personal life, “My mother raised me the right way. She taught me to speak from my heart always. Speeches are boring. If you get up there and read from a piece of paper, it’s boring.”

Audra McDonald, who won Best Actress in a Musical, shared her favorite kind of pizza with the media room, saying, “For me, the best pizza is pizza that comes to me. It’s going to be Dominoes thin crust with pepperoni, black olives and sausage. I’m really happy to do these interviews but I know they close at midnight. I’ve been dieting all week but I cannot wait to eat some freaking pizza!”

James Cordon won Best Leading Actor for One Man, Two Guv’nors and also offered encouragement to aspiring actors. Cordon, who received the Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Award for the role, said of his success, “There are lot of people who will tell you’re too small, too big, or too funny looking – the very fact that I’m holding this should tell you that none of that matters. If you don’t give up, you can’t fail.”


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