Christine Ebersole in Grey Gardens
Christine Ebersole
in Grey Gardens
Tonight, TheaterMania will bring you the winners' comments as they arrive in the Media Room on the 64th Floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

Christine Ebersole, winner of Best Actress in a Musical for Grey Gardens, arrives in a magnificent red dress specially made for her by costume designer William Ivey Long. Did she feel pressure being the front-runner? "It was fraught with expectation," she admits, adding that for the past few weeks she's also been preoccupied raising two new kittens she found under her house about five weeks ago. "We named one Jackie Kennedy and the other one Whiskers, which is also from the movie. They've been a great reality check."

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"I can't feel anything yet, including my arms, but it's an honor and thrill," says John Gallagher, Jr. Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Spring Awakening. "This time last year, we were searching for a better everything -- lighting, songs, costumes -- and we just wanted to get through the invited dress. Our big dream was getting a two-week extension at the Atlantic."

As for being at Radio City, he notes: "The last time I was in Radio City, it was to see the band Wilco perform. So now I'm a little scared that I have to go back on the stage and perform. I had forgotten about that." Gallagher added that he plans to stay with the musical at least through November, "but the sky is the limit."

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Duncan Sheik, winner for Best Score and Orchestrations for Spring Awakening, says: "We got lucky timing-wise. People were ready to listen to something that dealt with real issues." His co-author Steven Sater, who also won for Best Book of a Musical, adds about the show's success: "Everyone watching the show remembers what it's like to be young again; I think we captured the idea of adolescence."

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Says Mary Louise Wilson, Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Grey Gardens: "I'm relieved. I didn't want to lose. I am thrilled for my friends and my family and for my show." She points out that in choosing her roles, "as an actor, it's always better to play a woman of power than the cook." Speaking of her relationship with co-star Christine Ebersole, she says: "It's complete trust. It's the most ideal relationship I've ever had with another actor."

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Says Bill T. Jones, winner of Best Choreography for Spring Awakening: "There's a feeling on Broadway that people are looking for something new; now we just have to find the right properties." He adds that the choreography for the show -- for both the men and the women -- started out as "female choreography." Asked of what he learned from this experience and how it will translate to modern dance, his primary field, he says: "I think we've learned not to be afraid of entertainment. I'm hoping we can learn to make classy entertainments."

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Jennifer Ehle, winner of Best Featured Actress in a Play for Coast of Utopia, says, "I haven't been sad the way I thought since we closed. I haven't been devastated. We email among ourselves incessantly." Asked about competing against her co-star Martha Plimpton, and about having bested her mother, Rosemary Harris, for her first Tony Award for The Real Thing, she says: "This form of competition is not natural among actors. If I am blessed to be nominated again, I hope it's not against my mother."

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Billy Crudup, Best Featured Actor in a Play for Coast of Utopia, says: "It's a very strange experience to win this award, since I have a complete aversion to these kind of awards from a creative point of view. But I grew up with two brothers, so I'm also very competitive by nature and always want to win. Creatively, I think it's very difficult to ascribe any single performance as Best, except when I win. And the fact is we compete for roles, for reviews, for audiences -- so it's weird to compete for applauding each other."

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Michael Mayer, Best Director of a Musical for Spring Awakening, says: "We kept working on the show when we were still at the Atlantic. I thought we might move to a church somewhere that producer Ira Pittleman would buy for us, so we could run forever; but I never thought we'd move to Broadway." Speaking of working with singer-songwriters like Duncan Sheik and Patty Griffin (on his current project, 10 Million Miles), he says: "I hope it's a trend. I've been talking with Colin from The Decemberists on a possible collaboration. But I'm also working with Henry Kreiger and Susan Birkenhead on a musical version of The Flamingo Kid, and that will be more traditional."

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Sir Tom Stoppard, author of Best Play winner Coast of Utopia, says the play is going to open in Russia sometime in the future, but right now "two of the Bakunin sisters are pregnant." He adds that there is interest in a French production. Stoppard also says he believes theaters could just do one play of the trilogy, and has encouraged some to do so, starting with Voyage, the first show in the trilogy. He is also hoping to write another play sometime this summer and is looking forward to the American premiere of Rock 'n' Roll on Broadway this fall.

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Julie White, winner of Best Actress in a Play for The Little Dog Laughed, says that when she heard her name, she thought "uh-uh. They didn't. I didn't even go to acting school. But I've been working in the theater for 25 years, you learn by doing -- even by making dreadful mistakes. I made my New York debut in the musical Lucky Stiff and I guess I've been a New York theater girl ever since." Would she return to musical theater? "I hear Tommy Tune asked the other day if I could sing. Do I sing anymore? I grew up singing Baptist hymns, so you can imagine why I wanted to give that up." White praised the work of all the other celebrated women in her category, which included Angela Lansbury, Vanessa Redgrave, Eve Best, and Swoosie Kurtz. "I felt like gum at the bottom of their shoes. Now it's like I've been asked to sit at the head of the table."

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Fantasia Barrino, the new star of The Color Purple, was the ceremony's special guest performer. She admits that she did read her reviews -- which were almost uniformly excellent and which she called "a blessing." She calls her first Broadway experience "good, but very tough, I wasn't used to that kind of schedule. But I now have a new kind of family. I try to do my best for everyone in the show." As for performing live at the Tony Awards, she says, "It was amazing and an honor."

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David Hyde Pierce, winner of Best Actor in a Musical for Curtains, says he was completely surprised by his win. "I also expected to be more together than I was on stage; it meant more to me than I realized, I guess because it's theater. I've been an emotional mess all week. But the thing that takes the pressure out of an award like this is that it simply isn't an acting award; it's a writing award, a music award, a choreography award. In my acceptance speech, I forgot to mention our choreographer Rob Ashford and his assistant, and they're two of the most important people in me getting this award."