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2009 Tony Award Nominees React to the News!

The 2008-2009 Tony Award nominations were announced this morning May 5th by Tony Award winning actress Cynthia Nixon and Tony Award winning actor Lin-Manuel Miranda at the New York Public Library for Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, Bruno Walter Auditorium, 111 Amsterdam Avenue (betw 64th & 65th Street). spent the following hours checking in with the nominees to get the scoop on how they heard about the happy news and to hear their reactions!

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical 

David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, and Kiril Kulish - Billy Elliot, The Musical

Kiril: It's amazing, we are in shock! We are at CBS on The Early Show and we got the news right on the set. David: All of our friends are texting us! Kiril: When we heard we were nominated, it was just overwhelming. Trent: It's my Broadway debut - all of ours, so its so exciting, everyone is crying!

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Brian d'Arcy James - Shrek, the Musical

I was up, my wife was heading out to work, and I walked my daughters to school and I came back I sat on the couch and turned them on, had my little moment to take it in, and it was wonderful to see and hear the news, to see everyone from the show nominated. We've worked on the show to bring this well known story, these characters to life, so it's just wonderful to be recognized for that. It's such a collaboration, and having the show be honored with Best Musical, to be able to share that with everyone, it's just such a gift, you know. And we do, you know, pardon the pun, try to bring the heart to it, you don't plan on what may come with awards and all, but it's a great feeling, and pulls you along, there is a feeling of pride. I'm so proud for the show.


Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Gavin Creel, Hair

I watched, I turned on the tv on at 8:30am, to get the information, and you know deal with it accordingly, I'm glad it was a happy surprise. The show is just incredible, the great thing is I feel we win every night. One of our cast members, Allison Case who plays "Chrissy", she says "We Won-We Win" when something great happens, it is truly like we win, and we feel it everyday. No one expected the show to do as well as it has, you know, nobody expected the audience to flip out the way they do, and none of us is taking it for granted. It is such a great group of people, everybody, the cast, the crew, the amazing band, we are all just very grateful.


Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Josefina Scaglione, West Side Story

It's awesome, its great, my best friend from Argentina is here, so she heard the news and she woke me up with 'WOWOWAHHH, you got nominated! So, I felt great about that. We are doing the show, and working, so the nomination, were such a great thing. We enjoyed it, the hard work brings these kind of things, we do our best, it's so exciting.



Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Christopher Sieber, Shrek The Musical

I was driving from my house in NJ on my way to the city. So, my agent called me at 8:40 AM and said you've been nominated for a Tony. And it's raining, it's cats and dogs , . I had to pull over, because I needed to take a break, a couple deep breaths and then I pulled back into traffic, because that all I needed, you know the headline, Christopher Sieber Nominated for Tony, Dies in Firey Car Crash! I had to get in early, so I had no choice but to drive in, but it's a beatuful day, really. I'm just so happy that I'm sharing it with everyone, I love it. I'm happy that we are nominated for best musical, Sutton and I have been with it from the very start, when it was a just a little act one, ya know. So to have helped create this thing, and to see it be nominated for best musical means a lot. I'm just thrilled for my friends who are nominated too, it's just so, it's a beautifl morning, a beautiful morning!


Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Karen Olivo, West Side Story

Lin-Manuel (Miranda) read the announcements, so I told him to text me when he knew (haha). I actually got my managers text before Lin's, so I got it by text message! I think everybody knew that i might be asleep, I'm so happy.


Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Haydn Gwynne, Billy Elliot, The Musical 

I managed to be on the wrong channel! So infuriating (laughs), because I was up, getting my boys off to school, otherwise I would of slept throught it and then woke to see if anyone called (laughs), but I actually blew it completely. My lovely publicist called me with the wonderful news, and I've not been online yet for all the details, but I gather we've got a record tieing number of nominations, so that's pretty exciting!


Best Leading Actress in a Musical
Allison Janney, 9 to 5

I was walking the dog, in the rain, and it was early because I couldn't sleep, and I was walking in Riverside park and my friend called me and told me that I got the nomination and I let out a screaming in the park. No one looked at me like it was odd, ‘there's a girl with her dog and screaming in the park (laughs). Doing the show is just so wonderful. Everyone is so supportive of each other, there is just such a huge exuberance that comes from doing the shows that just comes out to the audience. We just all feel so connected to each other, which is I think part of the secret of why people are embracing the show. And being able to go there every night and do the show, that is a thrill, and a real celebration.


Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play 

Geoffrey Rush, Exit the King

I watched it on tv, there was no way I wasn't going to not watch it, you know, staying in New York, bringing in a play from Australia, a production, a creative things go, we've been so embraced by the Broadway community. I wanted to witness it, good news or not good news, I wanted to see it. I wanted it to be a kind of a festivity. I love this community, I think it really hit me a six or seven weeks ago when we were in rehearsals on West 42nd st, in those beautiful studios, because in Australia you might be rehearsing in a church or whatever (laughs), but here is quite wonderful with these big spaces, in a nine story building with three rehearsal studios, and I'd get in the elevator every morning with the cast of Rock of Ages. I think it's remarkable, our neighbors in the theatre district, I love this neightborhood. I'm new to the Broadway neighborhood, and I'm loving all my neighbors, they happen to be Beckett, Ayckbourn, it's just wonderful and very special.


Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Sutton Foster, Shrek The Musical

I actually missed the nominations! I was out walking my dog, and a friend texted me and said 'Congratulations! Yay!' So I thought, oh my gosh, and then I talked to my agent and he told me that the show got nominated, because I had missed half the announcements. And then when I went to try and find a list of all the nominations online and the first site that had them up was BroadwayWorld! I'm just so proud, I just feel so proud today, and especially proud for the show. I just love the show so much, and I just love the score and book, it's a pleasure to play Fiona, it's a pleasure to act alongside the entire cast. I've been a part of this production, in the development of this for the last three years so I just feel so passionate about it.


Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
John Glover, Waiting for Godot

Todd Haimes called me and said "congratulations". It's so exciting, and there is so much good stuff out there, so many good plays. Good productions of good plays, my word. We just opened Thursday, and we got through all that, and we had a great weekend and I'm told the reviews were quite wonderful and Todd and the producers came in on Friday and said the Roundabout had the best day at the box office for a straight play that any of their plays have ever had, so they were elated. And also, I'm told we extended an extra week becuase the ticket sales were so good. It's very special. 


Harvey Weinstein has a deep passion for theater, and the shows he's involved with had a great morning. Combined, they received 42 noms - BILLY ELLIOT, HAIR, GOD OF CARNAGE, EXIT THE KING, 9 TO 5, WEST SIDE STORY, YOU'RE WELCOME AMERICA: A FINAL NIGHT WITH GEORGE BUSH

"I want to congratulate all of the nominees – it’s a great year for theater and I think that the quality of show’s and performances are really remarkable. In these economic times, it’s great to see that Broadway is booming. I think that this is a harbinger of good things to come for the rest of the country."


Best Special Theatrical Event 

Will Ferrell, You're Welcome America. A Final Night with George W. Bush

"To say I'm thrilled about the nomination is an understatement. In fact, when I heard, I plotzed. And then, I double-plotzed."


Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Stockard Channing, Pal Joey

"I'm traveling, I'm actually in Paris, so I really just found out, 5 o'clock Paris time. I was on the train from London and once my phone was turned on there was a message waiting saying I got the nomination. It's thrilling. I couldn't be happier." 




Best Book of a Musical
[Title of Show] Hunter Bell 

(We caught Hunter as he was stepping on a plane on his way back to New York from LA) I know it sounds very showbiz, I told someone I had no reason to be out here, but I wanted to be here just for the nominations just to seem important and I could be known as bi-coastal. We were actually out here, Jeff [Bowen] and I, working on a project. We got up at the crack of dawn to hear whats what and we are flying back to New York City today. I'm so glad to be able to represent team [tos]! The cast, of course Jeff is here and gave me a big hug, and the girls called, and Michael too, I'm a lucky guy to have such sweet collaborators and amazing friends with my [tos] family.


Best Direction of a Musical
Diane Paulus, Hair

You know, I have two little daughters, so I'm up at seven am every morning anyway. I made my daughters breakfast oatmeal, and we sat in front of the television, so it was special treat while we watched it being announced on NY1. They're only four and a half and two, but they know all about Hair, they've seen it and we listen to it at home all the time, so they were cheering every time they heard the word Hair mentioned. It was a great and exciting moment in front of the television this morning. And Hair I think just shows the power of theatre, there is something so basically, so fundmentally human about people wanting to come together and sit in a theatre and experience this beautiful live art form we are part of, and in a really pure way, For everyone coming to see all these wonderful shows, I'm just thrilled, and for Hair to be able to continue to brings its messages to audiences, I'm just so excited. 

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Carole Shelley, Billy Elliot, The Musical

Friends of mine in Chicago called to let me know at 8:30 in the morning and it's a thrill. the show is so special, and just doing it is a celebration, you know, but this is just wonderful. And for the show to be honored with so many nominations is even more exciting. It has been an exciting season, a thrilling one, so to be a part of it and in this particular show at this moment, just wonderful!



Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Stage
Next to Normal
Music: Tom Kitt

I was watching it with my wife Rita and my mother Judy Kitt. My mom doesn't have NY1, she came in from Westchester, and then my son Michael joined us...after he woke up! I'm just thrilled for everybody, it has been quite a season and I'm just honored to be part of it.



Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Harriet Walter, Mary Stuart

My day began at about 9:30 with phone ringing, which is a bit early for me. So I cursed at it as I went blinded toward it, and I just missed it! And there was a message from my agent in London saying, "Congratulations, you've been nominated for a Tony Award!" And to be part of this season, it is just packed with variety as well, you've got every possible kind of show and none of them seem to cover the same territory, and if you came to the city now, you'd get such a good choice of shows. I think it is just fantastic. I'm so pleased to be a part of this incredibly talented group!


Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Jennifer Damiano, Next to Normal

I was sleeping and I overslept! I was supposed to wake up at 8:00, but I was up late, you know, I was kind of nervous about everything. But my manager called me at about 8:40 and told me about the nomination and I was totally thrilled. I feel so honored to be a part of this, everybody's performance is so different, it's tough to put them all in one catergory. Everybody is offering such different and amazing stuff regarding performances, in every single theatre, with some of the classic revivals, and with Next To Normal which is completely original. I feel so honored to be involved in such a timeless event, and I feel like everybody else that got a nomination, and every show is just as honored.


Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
Zach Grenier, 33 Variations

I was sleeping and heard a distant ringing which was my cell phone in the study downstairs. So I wandered down there, I was thinking it must be a reminder to pay my car insurance or something like that, so I picked up the message from wonderful agent who was congratulating me on this nomination. When I look at the nomination list I'm just amazed that I'm in this lineup of incredible nominees. There was such great work, the frustration is that a lot of it I can't see because I'm doing the show. But we close on the 21st, so I guess I'm going to be catching up on them all, its like a festival out there. I'm so happy and excited that we got five nominations, you know Beethoven talks about 'new forms" in art and I really think that Moisés [Kaufman] was touched by that kind of genius when he thought this play up, you can see it on the faces of the audience afterwards, they've really been through something wonderful when they have come out of the theatre. I'm so honored to be a part of it.


Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Gregory Jbara, Billy Elliot, The Musical

I'm just so excited for David Bologna, you never know how these come out with the nominations, I'm just so thrilled! I have a cousin who is in town, so I met her and her friend and we went down to the Coffee Shop in Union Square, where I actually watched Obama be sworn in for the presidency, and we had people cheering and everything so it was pretty great!



Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Marc Kudisch, 9 to 5: The Musical

Shannon and I were watching it on television this morning, we planned to watch, but I really didn't expect it, and I feel very flattered. I was surprised that I was nominated, because of the role, you know, I sort of "went there" with him, as I think you had to, you know Franklin Hart, doesn't have much "heart", he is very much like that class you see who are very entitled, just because they believe they should be. It is very easy to judge a character like Franklin, who is the kind of the guy you don't want to get near, I'm always trying to take myself to those places, I'm putting that energy into him - keeping him very real, very, in many ways, very unlikable. But that is what is needed, for the story, to propel these women, the actions of the story. So I am very pleased that the nominators were willing to accept him and give a nod of "good job." But I am being honest when I say I am disheartened, truly, that not all of my co-stars were recognized, because I cannot do what I do without each and every one of them, Steph and Megan, they are giving such wonderful performances, and we can't take our journey without each other. I've been in the business a long time, and I'm not going anywhere, you know, I'm aware of what I've been able to do, the place where I am, because there are so many talented people, just truly talented people who have not gotten that chance, so I'm very happy about being nominated, but I'm also aware, sort of looking at who isn't. But, I'm just thrilled at how many friends are nominated, Sutton, and Christopher, we've all been at it a long time, so it feels good to have them here too.


Check back throughout the day as we add dozens more nominee reactions!



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