Kelli O’Hara, who won for lead actress in a musical — it was her first win after six nominations — walked backstage to loud cheers., “I’ve never been to one of these,” she said of the Tony press room.
Alex Sharp, who won the best actor award for Curious Incident with Tony in hand in the press room, said “it feels extraordinary to be holding this.” When his name was called “my mind went absolutely blank,” he said. “It’s one of the highest adrenaline moments of my life.”
Simon Stephens, playwright of best play, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, said many people have related stories about their experiences with autism, or an experience that a family member or friend has had. (The lead character has Asperger’s syndrome). “It’s one of the most remarkable experiences,” he said. “It’s profoundly moving.”
Helen Mirren walked into the press room with a vodka gimlet following her win for best leading actress in a play for The Audience. Putting it down to answer questions, she said her best advice to someone who is starting out in the business is “Don’t worry too much. Let go of your self-consciousness and let go of your insecurities. Believe in your instincts and believe in your intellect.” She said the best advice she was given was by a nun who was the headmistress of her convent school when she was about 11 years old. “She said `Fear is destructive. Don’t be afraid. Overcome fear'”. “It’s the wisest thing anyone has said, apart from my husband telling me I should do this play on Broadway.” As she walked out with drink in hand, she said “I get to drink early in the evening.”
On her role as Queen Elizabeth II, she said she’s not planning on a repeat. “I don’t think I’ll do it (that role) again,” she said. “I’m sure her Majesty is sick to the teeth with me. It was a tough call to do that play, because the film itself was a success, and as an actress you really don’t want to repeat yourself. But it really is a clever play,” she said. “It was a wonderful acting challenge,” because she plays the Queen at various ages in quick changes during the show. “I’ve been on Broadway three times, and every time I’ve absolutely loved it,” she said. “The audiences are so giving and they want to have a good time.” When the shows are over on Broadway on any given night, the streets are packed with people “and there’s the Naked Cowboy and it’s so much fun.”
Ruthie Ann Miles, who won for featured actress in a musical for The King And I said she would advise her younger self: “Don’t be a dentist. I was studying to be a dentist.” Speaking her of role as Lady Thiang, “I could not image two roles like this back-to-back,” she said, referring to playing Imelda Marcos in Here Lies Love, and now The King And I. She said she gave much credit to her mother, a single mom who worked three jobs. “She pushed me and she sacrificed her life so I could go to college,” she said, tearing up.
Christian Borle, who won for featured actor in a musical for Something Rotten in which he plays a vain William Shakespeare, said that Roger Rees, his director for a previous play, Peter And The Starcatcher, told him ‘you don’t have to chase every mouse.’ “It was about restraint, which I wasn’t good at doing at the time,” he said. “He was saying you don’t have to chase after every mouse that runs across the stage.”
Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron won for best score for Fun Home (Tesori for music, Kron for lyrics, as well as for the book). It’s the first time an all-woman team won for book and score. “It’s time. It’s a huge deal,” said Jeanine Tesori. “People take chances on men based on their potential, and they take chances on women based on their accomplishments,” Lisa Kron said. “I hope this award will make them look at women based on their accomplishments.”
Sam Gold, who won for best director of a musical for Fun Home, said he started working with the actress Sydney Lucas when she was 9; she’s now 11 and one of the nominees tonight. He said he was nervous at first dealing with a child actor but then discovered she was a “very intuitive, very smart actor and didn’t need to be treated like a kid.”
Natasha Katz, winner for lighting design of a musical for An American In Paris, when asked what advice she would give to her 15-year-old self, she responded “live in the moment, work in the moment. Don’t think about the future. Take in what you can learn from others.”
Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement winner John Cameron Mitchell, who originated Hedwig in Hedwig And The Angry Inch off-Broadway in the 1990s, said the musical will get a London production. “We’re definitely coming to the West End,” he said, adding that details on casting are still being worked out. He said he always gives advice to the different actors who have played Hedwig (he reprised the role this year as well and Neil Patrick Harris won a Tony for the role last year). He said he tells them to “keep the undercurrent of emotion throughout, of someone who has been damaged and triumphs in the end. It’s a coming of age story. Everybody is Hedwig now. Anyone can play Hedwig.”