Theatre Talk: Which Tony nominee are you cheering for?

There are only a few days until the Tony Awards and with many speculating who will walk away victorious, the Stage Door Dish staff did the impossible and tried to choose their top nominees who we will be cheering for on Sunday evening.

Santino Fontana and Laura Osnes in 'Cinderella.'

Santino Fontana and Laura Osnes in ‘Cinderella.’

Sam, founder and editor-in-chief
When I think about this year’s Tony nominees, my mind drifts to the Meet the Nominees press junket on May 1. Just one day after we learned who was nominated for their performances, I was in the same room as many of them – indulging in brief chats, watching their smiles stretch from ear to ear at the mere mention of being recognized for their work and toeing the line of experiencing the day as a fan and as a professional. Watching Benj Pasek jump up and down on the red carpet after he confessed to me that he was “freaking out”, nearly breaking down into tears with Keala Settle, stepping back and watching a room full of people shouting Santino Fontana’s name, grasping Stephanie J. Block’s hand and telling her how beautiful she looked. So who am I most cheering for? I won’t pull a blanket answer of “everyone” but there are multiple people. I am pulling for the first-time nominees who are new to the scene (Shalita Grant, Bertie Carvel), those whose recognition is long overdue (Stephanie J. Block, Will Chase, Rob McClure) and the behind-the-scenes talent like Pasek and Paul and Douglas Carter Beane who created pure magic. If I had to narrow it down, which is no small feat, my abridged list would include Santino Fontana, Rob McClure, Pasek and Paul, Laura Osnes, Cicely Tyson, Stephanie J. Block, Will Chase, Shalita Grant, Keith Carradine, Keala Settle, Victoria Clark and Douglas Carter Beane. As for the shows – I could not be cheering any louder for A Christmas Story, Cinderella and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. This year is a year jam-packed with incredible performers finally getting the recognition they rightfully deserve and while my hope that many ties are announced through the evening, the only thing for certain is that I will be shedding some tears of happiness by the end of the night.

Wendi, multimedia reporter & video blogger
I am definitely Team Cinderella come Tonys night. Not only am I a huge fan of the extremely-talented Laura Osnes, the story is timeless. What little girl doesn’t want to grow up to be a princess? Cinderella finally being live on the stage gives all of us the chance to relive our childhoods and escape into a fairy tale for just a few hours while listening to the beautiful and timeless music of Rogers and Hammerstein. Whether you know the music from Julie Andrews, Lesley Ann Warren or Brandy, the songs undoubtedly leave you humming. And any musical that inspires belief in just a little bit of magic, encourages true love, and possesses so much talent on one stage deserves the Tony Award, hands down.

Stephanie J. Block with her dog and co-star Macaco.

Stephanie J. Block with her dog and ‘Drood’ co-star Macaco.

Rachel, writer
I have absolutely adored Stephanie J. Block since I was in third grade. I still remember discovering The Boy From Oz and although I was eight-years old and didn’t fully understand the plot of the musical, I remember being captivated by Block and everything about her performance. Since then, she’s been one of my constant favorite musical theatre actresses. It feels so right for her to finally have “Tony Nominee” in front of her name! I wish The Mystery of Edwin Drood was still open so more people could have seen her brilliant take on a classic role but it’s certain that this lovely lady will have even more exciting things to come her way very soon! I am also rooting for Patina Miller (even though they’re in the same category) because I love Pippin and wanted her to win for Sister Act two years ago. This is such a tough category. Maybe there will be a five-way tie?

Josh, columnist
I am definitely rooting for Matilda. Roald Dahl blasted my imagination wide open when I was a kid and I know he would be honored and thrilled to see his work take to the stage and be recognized for its greatness. I would also really love to see Judith Ivey win for The Heiress and Kristine Nielsen surprise everyone and take home an award for her performance in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Her impression of Maggie Smith practically made me roar with laughter and after meeting her and seeing how warm and kind she is, I’m rooting for her!

Rob McClure as Charlie Chaplin in 'Chaplin.'

Rob McClure as Charlie Chaplin in ‘Chaplin.’

Hayleyassistant and contributing writer
I’m cheering for Rob McClure who is nominated for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. He’s the underdog for his category and the only nomination for his show Chaplin. I thought his performance as Charlie Chaplin was phenomenal and I’d love to see him get recognized for it. Plus, he spent almost three years playing the role and went under extensive training for it. (Rob learned to play the violin, walk on a tightrope, and roller skate backwards to play Chaplin.) I also think that the show deserved a lot more love than it got from the Tony nominating committee. If Rob wins, it’ll be like the Tony voters is at least acknowledging that great work was done on Chaplin, even if it only ran for a short time.

Amelia, writer
I am rooting for Pasek and Paul. They are such a wonderfully talented team and extremely nice and genuine gentlemen. They appreciate all their fans have given them and keep introducing new, interesting stories to the Broadway community. They also have such a great “work hard and do what you love and you’ll get there” story. They’re like the underdogs of the Broadway community and have a very relatable air about them so I hope they get some solid proof of the importance of their contribution to Broadway!

Now that you know who we’re rooting for, tell us who you’ll be crossing your fingers for on Sunday evening!

About Samantha S.

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

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