Standing at the Press Line: A first-timer’s take on the Tony Awards red carpet

The morning after the Tony Awards, I asked Claire and Wendi to recap their personal experience of being on the red carpet and what they will remember from their first-time at the Tonys. Here’s what they had to say:

Valisia LeKae

Valisia LeKae

Claire, senior reporter

Experiencing the Tony Awards red carpet firsthand is something I will never forget. I made countless memories and got to witness the Superbowl of Broadway in the making. Stage Door Dish had the chance to chat with several cherished nominees and past winners. We saw beautiful dresses of every color and were even serenaded by the likes of Keala Settle, Pasek & Paul and Will Chase. Hollywood stars like Sally Field and Sigourney Weaver breezed down the red carpet, smiling and waving even as they rushed to get to their seats in time for the awards to start. About a thousand moments stand out in my mind as things I will never forget.

That being said, the most memorable aspect of the night wasn’t a tangible moment, it was the opportunity to witness the incredible warmth that surrounds the New York theatre community. The experience of baring their souls live in front of thousands eight times a week connects Broadway actors in a way few people can understand. That bond extends to the countless others who have given their lives and careers to the theatre in some way besides performing. As each nominee appeared on the red carpet, their peers showed them support rather than jealousy or competition. There was a sense of inclusion, even among the members of the press. It was hard to ignore the feeling that all of us at Radio City  were part of something much greater than ourselves. The widespread respect for the theatre was so humbling, especially when the telecast began. As each winner was announced, there was nothing but grace from fellow nominees. Everyone seemed so genuinely happy for each other and as both a fan and a writer it was impossible not to feel like I was in some small way a part of this vibrant community, alongside everyone else who watched the awards last night. The theatre is my home and I couldn’t be more grateful for that!

Anna Kendrick

Anna Kendrick

Wendi, multimedia reporter

As a reporter, you hope to one day work your way up to the top. This includes paying for dues in internships, covering news and events you may not find particularly interesting, and constantly networking to climb higher, cover what you want, and play in the big leagues. On Sunday, June 9, I played in the big leagues way earlier than I expected to, thanks to StageDoorDish.com. Standing on the red carpet of the 67thAnnual Tony Awards as legitimate press with a site I joined a mere six months ago (and which was merely a few weeks old at the time) was indescribable- yet I’ll try and describe it anyway because, let’s be honest, I went to the Tonys red carpet and want everyone to know about it.

Part of me is a professional reporter. I work hard, take my assignments professionally, and genuinely enjoy standing in front of the camera and bringing news. The other part of me is a fangirl, the type of fangirl that squeals at the thought of Aaron Tveit and gets giddy at the idea of possibly meeting Laura Osnes. On the red carpet, some anxious and excited combination of the two emerged. The professional reporter stood, hands attached to the camera, shooting shots of Tom Hanks, Sally Field, and Alan Cumming like it was her job (well, it was her job…but you get the idea: cool, calm, (professional) and collected). The fangirl squealed, near tears, as Pitch Perfect star Anna Kendrick responded to the calling of her name and posed for a photo a mere two feet away.

At the end of the day the professional reporter completed one of the most memorable assignments and events of her life, giving her experience she can only grow upon. The fangirl also earned one of the most memorable days of her life, but for reasons more along the lines of seeing Laura Osnes up close, wishing Annaleigh Ashford good luck, and catching a shot of Audra McDonald waving at our camera. Stage Door Dish is the one place where it’s completely okay to be a fangirl and a reporter at the same time, and at an event as glamorous and wonderful to a theatre fan as the Tony Awards, being a little bit of both came in handy.

About Samantha S.

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

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