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BWW's 'Brush Up On Your TONY Nominees' Guide: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role - Musical

Leading up to Broadway's biggest night, the 2015 TONY AWARDS, BWW brings you our 'Brush Up On Your TONY Nominees' Guide to this year's nominees in the top categories. Next up, the nominees for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical!

Don't forget to tune in to BroadwayWorld for Broadway's biggest night, the 69th Annual Tony Awards on CBS, hosted by Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming. The stars will align at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015 and we'll be bringing you exclusive, live photos, videos and blogs of everything that's happening from the red carpet to the winners' room; the pre-show ceremony to the after parties. We'll be there for it all, and there's no better place for comprehensive coverage this Sunday than BroadwayWorld!

Click here for the full list of nominees!

Click here to brush up on the nominees for Best Revival of a Musical

Click here to brush up on the nominees for Best Revival of a Play

Click here to brush up on the nominees for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Click here to brush up on the nominees for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Click here to brush up on the nominees for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Click here to brush up on the nominees for Best Play

Click here to brush up on the nominees for Best Musical


NOMINEES FOR BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL:

Michael Cerveris: 'Bruce' in FUN HOME

On the journey he has taken with FUN HOME: "It took a long time to figure out what it was and what it wanted to be and how we would turn this comic [Alison Bechdel's 2006 graphic memoir of the same title] into a stage thing. And everybody just sort of kept at it until it arrived at what it seemed to want to be. There's a kind of inevitability now, but along the way there was anything but that." [THR]

Previous awards and nominations for the role: Drama League Distinguished Performance Award

Michael originated the role of Bruce Bechdel in Fun Home at the Public Theater, winning the 2014 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Actor. He received the Tony Award for his portrayal of John Wilkes Booth in Assassins, and Tony nominations for his roles in Evita, LoveMusik, Sweeney Todd, and The Who's Tommy.

Other Broadway appearances include In The Next Room (Or The Vibrator Play), Hedda Gabler,Cymbeline, and Titanic. Known for his versatility as an actor, Cerveris also performed in Off-Broadway productions of King Lear, Macbeth, Nikolai and the Others, and Sondheim's Road Show, among others, and brought his performance as Hedwig from Off Broadway to LA and London's West End. Cerveris has also appeared in many films and television series, including roles on the "The Good Wife," "Treme," and "Fringe."

He has sung with the NY City Opera and the NY Philharmonic, and at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Lincoln Center to New Orleans' JazzFest and a tour playing guitar for Bob Mould. Cerveris has recorded two solo albums, Dog Eared and the upcoming Piety. His country band Loose Cattle recently released their live debut record, North of Houston.

Click here to watch Cerveris in FUN HOME

Brian d'Arcy James: 'Nick Bottom' in SOMETHING ROTTEN!

On the joy of being a part of the show: "Our show is a big, high-energy kind of romp - we're all running around dancing and singing, and it's a delight to do... because it's just kind of pure joy and intoxication, in terms of what we're doing and the fun we're having and also what's coming back at us from the audience." [THR]

Previous awards and nominations for the role: Drama Desk Award nomination - Outstanding Actor in a Musical; Outer Critic Circle Award nomination - Outstanding Actor in a Musical; Drama League Distinguished Performance Award

d'Arcy James recently finished shooting Tom McCarthy's upcoming feature film Spotlight, alongside Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams as the four member Boston Globe "Spotlight" team, who won the Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the Boston Archdiocese Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. He will also be seen in the upcoming Tina Fey and Amy Poehler comedy Sisters. Brian is a two time Tony Award® nominee for his title role performance in Shrek the Musical (Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Award winner) and as Sidney Falco in Sweet Smell of Success. He will next appear as King George in the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical Hamilton at the Public Theater. Brian also starred in The Public Theater's Giant.

At Lincoln Center, he appeared as Banquo in Macbeth directed by Jack O'Brien alongside Ethan Hawke. He earned rave reviews on Broadway in the play Time Stands Still opposite Laura Linney, Christina Ricci and Eric Bogosian and originated the role of Dan Goodman in the Pulitzer Prize winning musical Next to Normal Off Broadway before reprising his role on Broadway. He is also an OBIE Award winner for his appearance in Conor McPherson's The Good Thief.

Other Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include The Wild Party,Port Authority (Lucille Lortel Award), The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Apple Tree, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Titanic,Carousel and Blood Brothers.

Film work includes Time Out of Mind, Admission, Bird in a Box, Fitzgerald Family Christmas,Game Change, Friends with Kids and Ghost Town.

On television he is perhaps most well known for co-starring in the NBC series "Smash" as Frank Houston opposite Debra Messing. He most recently appeared on "Law & Order: SVU." Other credits include the F/X pilot "Hoke" starring Paul Giamatti, "Ironside," CBS's "The Good Wife," recurring on Showtime's "The Big C" starring Laura Linney, "Person of Interest," "Rescue Me" and "Cashmere Mafia."

Below, watch 'darcy James and the cast of SOMETHING ROTTEN's recent performance on 'The Tonight Show'


Ken Watanabe: 'The King' in THE KING AND I

On how THE KING AND I still speaks to a contemporary audience: "We still grapple with issues of racism and sexism... Although it was written in the 1950s, it raises questions-traditional versus modern, progress versus custom-that are relevant today. Our job is to shed light on material written in the 1950s about the 19th century from a 21st-century perspective." [Backstage.com]

This role marks Watanabe's LCT and American stage debut. His Japanese theatre credits include Hamlet, The Lion in Winter, Dialogue with Horowitz, The Royal Hunt of the Sun. Film: The Last Samurai(Oscar, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild nominations), Letters From Iwo Jima, Inception, Batman Begins, Memoirs of a Geisha, Memories of Tomorrow, Godzilla,Tampopo.

The actor will soon be seen in Gus Van Sant's Sea of Trees.

Check out Watanabe's performance in THE KING AND I below:



Tony Yazbeck: 'Gabey' in ON THE TOWN

On the return of the movie musical genre: "My hope is that, perhaps, the movie musical is coming back. I mean, we've been seeing this trend lately where people are flocking to the theater to see people sing and dance again, and that just makes me crazy excited because that's what I watched as a kid." [THR]

Previous awards and nominations for the role: Outer Critic Circle Award nomination - Outstanding Actor in a Musical; Drama League Distinguished Performance Award; Astaire Award Winner - Best Male Dancer (tie with Robert Fairchild)

Yazbeck's other Broadway credits include Chicago (Billy Flynn), Irving Berlin's White Christmas (Phil Davis), Gypsy w/ Patti LuPone (Tulsa, Outer Critics Circle nom.), A Chorus Line (Al), Oklahoma!, Never Gonna Dance, Gypsy w/ Tyne Daly. Off-Broadway: Fanny Hill (at the York). For City Center Encores!: Little Me, On the Town, Gypsy, The Apple Tree, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Pardon My English.

Regional credits include Alliance, Barrington, Williamstown, Hartford Stage, Goodman, St. Louis MUNY, Goodspeed (Connecticut Critics Circle Award), Signature (Helen Hayes Award), Trinity Rep., Paper Mill, Old Globe. Starred in Kiss Me Kate at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

In TV and film he has appeared in NBC's "Smash," the feature documentary Every Little Step. Tony also stars in his own song and dance show, The Floor Above Me.

Watch Yazbeck and the cast of ON THE TOWN perform on 'Today'


Robert Fairchild: 'Jerry' in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS

On the influence of Gene Kelly on his career: ""Without Gene Kelly, I wouldn't be dancing. In Singin' in the Rain-my God, he's incredible. I saw An American in Paris later on, and it's the same magic." [Vulture]

Previous awards and nominations for the role: Drama Desk Award WINNER - Outstanding Actor in a Musical; Outer Critic Circle Award WINNER -Outstanding Actor in a Musical; Drama League Distinguished Performance Award; Astaire Award - Best Male Dancer (Tie with Tony Yazbeck)

This role marks Fairchild's Broadway debut. He is a member of NYCB, where he has been enjoying his status a s principal dancer for the past 5 years. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, he began his dance training at age four. Formal ballet training began with The Ballet West Conservatory.

Once Fairchild became an apprentice with NYCB the following year he joined the Company as a member of the Corps de Ballet. He was quickly promoted to soloist with NYCB soon after promoted to principal in 2009.

Fairchild originated the role of Romeo in Peter Martins' Romeo and Juliet featured in the PBS LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER television broadcast. Last season Fairchild played the role of Carousel Boy in the NY Philharmonic's Emmy nominated production of Carousel directed by John Rando and choreographed by Warren Carlyle.

He is a Recipient of the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise at The School of American Ballet. Fairchild is newly married to Principal Dancer Tiler Peck, also of NYCB.

Watch Fairchild's performance in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS below:

Photo: Walter McBride


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From This Author Caryn Robbins