A few words with Broadway’s best on the Tony Awards red carpet

Stephanie J. Block, nominated for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, with her husband Sebastian Arcelus.

Stephanie J. Block, nominated for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, with her husband Sebastian Arcelus.

SDD: Finish this sentence: Win or lose, I will…

Douglas Carter Beane (Nominated for Best Book of a Musical, Cinderella): Still have a career in show business.

Keala Settle (Nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Hands on a Hardbody): Go to Disneyland.

Jerry Mitchell (Best Choreography, Kinky Boots): I will drink a bottle of champagne.

Valisia LeKae (Nominated for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, Motown the Musical): Have the time of my life.

Lauren Ward (Nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Matilda): Go home and go to bed.

Carrie Coon (Nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Play, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf): Keep acting.

Will Chase (Nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, The Mystery of Edwin Drood): Cry.

Charl Brown (Nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Motown the Musical): Be doing fine on cloud nine.

Gabriel Ebert (Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Matilda): Be a happy man.

Amanda Green (Nominated for Best Original Score, Hands on a Hardbody): Win or lose I will…I was going to say ‘take my panties off at the end of the evening.’ No, win or lose, I will be thrilled that I was invited to the party.

Benj Pasek (Nominated for Best Original Score, A Christmas Story): Celebrate and party. We had the same answer! We are in it to win it but not in the literal term. I mean, we would love to win a Tony but we already feel like we’re winning by being here and it’s my birthday and it’s Christmas.

Justin Paul (Nominated for Best Original Score, A Christmas Story): We’ll still speak to each other. I’m not going to blame him, he’s not going to blame me…it’s tempting, but we aren’t going to.

Benj Pasek: Oh, and win or lose, we’re going to stalk everyone that’s just come on this red carpet like Tom Hanks, Sigourney Weaver…who else? Some big, heavy hitters.

Justin Paul: We’ve already made the rounds.

Benj Pasek: Oh my god, I’m like pretending, I was like ‘Cuba, good to see you!’

Santino Fontana (Nominated for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, Cinderella): Win or lose, I will be drinking.

SDD: What are you drinking?

Santino Fontana: Whatever I can get to the fastest. Not in a bad way, in a good way, in a celebratory way.

Rob McClure (Nominated for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, Chaplin): Celebrate.

SDD: How?

Rob McClure: By surrounding myself with family and friends and the people who are responsible for me being here in the first place.

Santino Fontana, nominated for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, with his girlfriend Jessica Hershberg.

Santino Fontana, nominated for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, with his girlfriend Jessica Hershberg.

SDD: If you could have played any nominated role this season, which one would you have chosen?

Carrie Coon (Nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Play, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf): I think Laurie Metcalf’s role in The Other Place is really cool.

Keala Settle (Nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Hands on a Hardbody): Lola in Kinky Boots.

Rob McClure (Nominated for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, Chaplin): In my category? That’s tough. I’d love to give the Lucky Guy revival a stab in a couple of years because that was fun.

Will Chase (Nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, The Mystery of Edwin Drood): Oh, I don’t know, I haven’t seen newcomer Tom Hanks, but…no I’m kidding. Probably something like in Golden Boy, like Danny Burstein’s role. Something like in a Clifford Odets just so there’s something already out there for me, a template, do you know what I mean?

Ben Fankhauser (Newsies): If could’ve played any nominated role?  Miss Trunchbull in Matilda.

Charl Brown: The Leading Player in Pippin, for sure.

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Rob McClure and Maggie Lakis.

SDD: This question is Chaplin related. What does it mean to have the show on your shoulders, basically, being the one nominee from this amazing production?

Rob McClure (Nominated for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, Chaplin): I think tonight is an opportunity for me to represent all of those people and all of that work because lord knows anything I was doing up there that anyone thought was special was given to me by Warren Carlyle, Chris Curtis, Tom Meehan, Bryan Perri, you know these incredible artists who helped shape that performance. So, I share it with all of them and my cast and my crew. Everyone in the Barrymore Theatre, we were just so in love with each other that whole run, so tonight I remember and celebrate them.

SDD: With him being a first-time nominee, what’s it like for you to see him succeed and be here tonight?

Maggie Lakis (wife of Rob McClure): I’m just so proud. I’m going to cry! I’m just so proud of him. I saw all the work he did from when he was auditioning for La Jolla to the run there and then for it to come to Broadway, the Chaplin boot camp that he went through and every single night, what was it 168 performances on Broadway, that he didn’t miss a show and he gave every inch of his heart and soul in every performance.

Rob McClure (Nominated for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, Chaplin): What’s funny is that everyone in the audience gets to see me do a hat trick correctly. She’s the one who saw me drop the hat 5,000 times in the living room to be able to get it right on Broadway.

Maggie Lakis: He beat himself up about it, so I’m just proud and I want him to have fun and know that everyone is rooting for him and loves him. No matter what happens, we’re still proud.

Asher Fogle Paul (wife of Best Score nominee Justin Paul): You know, I mean like I couldn’t be more proud, obviously, but also, I watched the three years as they’ve reworked the show and reworked the show and all the work they put in and the hours and the nervousness and the hope and the love into this show. It’s really exciting, just as someone who loves him, just to see it come to fruition and for other people to recognize that.

Members of the 'Bring It On' cast.

Members of the ‘Bring It On’ cast.

 SDD: What was your favorite part of working on Bring It On?

Jason Gotay (Bring It On): Oh my gosh, it would probably be getting to work with the amazing creative team of Andy Blankenbuehler, Tom Kitt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Amanda Green, Alex Lacamoire…hope I’m not leaving anyone out, but they are just amazing talents and the warmest, kindest people I’ve ever met. Amazing, yeah.

SDD: How does being a presenter and performer at the Tonys differ from being part of a nominated show?

Ben Fankhauser (Newsies): I cannot tell you how enjoyable it is. It’s so much pressure and stress when you have a performance, you know, to do after you’ve had a matinee that day and you have all the awards to look forward to. This year, I get to come back and it’s like I just get to sit back and enjoy it and have fun and watch all my friends in the other shows participate in the awards and root for them and cheer them on and not have to worry about any pressure about winning awards or performing, although we are performing, but not on the same scale as we did last year. So it’s just so much fun to not have any pressure.

About Samantha S.

"I found the theatre and I found my home.” ― Audra McDonald

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