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2005 Tony Awards Q&A: Erin Dilly

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Nominee for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Erin Dilly's previous Broadway credits include Cinderella in Into the Woods, Lucianna in The Boys From Syracuse and Young Phyllis in Follies. Elsewhere in New York, she's appeared in Encores!: Babes in Arms, Leading Ladies, and Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight. National tours include South Pacific, Beauty and the Beast and Cameron Mackintosh's Martin Guerre (for which she received a Hayes Award nomination for best actress).

You've had a bigger smile on your face than most of the people that have walked by this table today… How great are you feeling right now?

Everything's been kind of surreal, but fantastic. I'm a first time nominee, so mostly I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude. I've got a little bit of crazy optimistic glee, and there's not a jaded bone in my body. I'm really happy to jump into the melee and to have fun with it.

How did you hear the news of your nomination?

I was actually up at 5 in the morning with a sick dog. My puppy starting barfing at 4:30, so it wasn't a very glamorous beginning! After dealing with that, my husband and I just had some coffee, and watched the nominations announcement online. When we heard my name, we both just screamed our guts out!

Who was the first person you called when you finished screaming?

My mom was first, and after I called her I called my dad. He's teaching courses right now at school, and I had them patch the phone call to the classroom. I told him, and with me still on the phone, he told his students, and they all cheered.

What do they think of the show?

They both came to opening night, and were thrilled with it. They both had such a good time.

What has the Chitty experience been like for you so far?

Working on the show has been really, really good. It's the most guileless, screwy, fun story. There nothing cynical, or dark about anything in it, it's really heartfelt, and it tells a really heartfelt story so I'm having a great time.

I've always been in love with the movie, and the archetypes in there. I think that's it's such an honor and also a bit of a burden to play Truly Scrumptious. Trust me, we don't always feel truly scrumptious!

It's not just you that have been nominated from Chitty, but also two of your co-stars, Marc Kudisch and Jan Maxwell. What's appearing with them 8 times a week been like?

Marc has been's a dear friend of mine for over ten years, so I couldn't be happier for him, and Jan is a genius. She is such a genius, such a comic genius, she's just like "the bomb." It's been really fun to watch her, and to listen to her incredible timing. Every time I watch her, I feel like I'm learning from her and picking up tricks.

Were you surprised that there wasn't also a nomination for Raul Esparza?

I'm very disappointed that Raul wasn't nominated, and I think the only reason is because of how crowded the category was. He's just giving a remarkable performance, and is just beautiful to work with. I think that he's surprising people with how talented he is throughout the whole show.

How have audiences been reacting to this iconic piece?

The reaction of the audiences has been like being at a rock show, with huge cheering and standing ovations, and joy. Just joy is what you feel coming from the audiences and the children and adults all seem to be having a great time.

When I saw the show, children were reacting even louder than adults to the piece, most probably seeing their first show...

It's important to have a show like this for kids, but also one that adults can enjoy as well. I think that's it's the kind of a show that can be enjoyed by a few generations all at once, as well as being a perfect first show for kids to go to. This whole experience couldn't be more perfect!

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From This Author Robert Diamond

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