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The 2012 Tony Award Winners Speak Their Minds

Christian Borle, Hugh Jackman, Steve Kazee, Audra McDonald and more share their thoughts. logo
Audra McDonald
(© Tristan Fuge)
The 2012 Tony Awards were held on Sunday, June 10 at the Beacon Theater and TheaterMania got to speak with the winners shortly after they picked up their statuettes. These are some of the thoughts they had to share with us.

Audra McDonald (Best Actress in a Musical, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess)
"I don't think the fact that this is my fifth Tony Award will ever hit me. But acting is really the only thing I can do. It's the only thing I'm good at I -- I can't cook, just ask my kids -- and it's the only thing that fulfills me. Theater is where I found who I was. Until I started acting at age 9, I was this really awkward child. I was lucky, because even though everyone makes fun of Fresno, growing up there set me up beautifully. We had a performing arts high school that I went to; we had a dinner theater to work it, and even if it wasn't as hoity-toity as New York, I was surrounded by the arts. I knew most of the musical theater canon by age 18 and I felt ready for Broadway. In fact, I wrote in my senior caption that 'Broadway is where I want to be.'"

Hugh Jackman (Special Tony Award)
"It's great to be here and be able to watch this show, because it's Broadway's' greatest hits. I've been away for the past few months filming Les Miserables, so it's been letting me catch up on shows. We have another week of filming, and then I'm coming back to do a read through of the first act of Houdini in two weeks. That ball is definitely rolling. Theater is what I love best; all of my top 10 moments in my professional life would be on stage."

Bruce Norris (Best Play, Clybourne Park)
"I never thought the play would be successful even at Playwrights Horizons two years ago. It's my nature to always anticipate failure. So I am still shocked at winning this, and I've been very happy at the consistent responses from audiences all around the country to this play."

Suzan Lori-Parks (Best Revival of a Musical, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess)
"The challenges were the same as with everything I've written - to stay focused on the truth. We really stuck to our guns, and there were times when it was hard to focus on what we all believed in and I am very proud of all of us that we did that."

Nina Arianda
(© Tristan Fuge)
James Corden (Best Actor in a Play, One Man, Two Guvnors)
"I didn't think I was going to win. When you're on the same list with Philip Seymour Hoffman, James Earl Jones, Frank Langella, and John Lithgow, it would be very arrogant to think I could win over four of the finest actors in the world. The fact I did just goes to show there is no such thing as best.

Steve Kazee (Best Actor in a Musical, Once)
"As we were doing our matinee today, all I kept thinking is that I've been with this ensemble since February 2011, and I remembered what our director, John Tiffany, said early on: that no matter what reviews we get, or how many Tonys we win or don't win, we have created the show we wanted to create and we were true to ourselves first."

Judy Kaye(Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Nice Work If You Can Get It)
"My dad just passed away recently, but I don't remember a time when my dad and I didn't sing songs together. Even when he had a stroke and he couldn't talk or understand anything else, he could still sing with me. I am of the generation that the Great American Songbook was what we had growing up, and I am very grateful for that."

Michael McGrath (Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Nice Work If You Can Get It)
"I was surprised when my name was called, because the other nominees in my category are so great. I think maybe I won because of the energy and the comedy in the part. The voters seem to enjoy a good comic role."

Nina Arianda (Best Actress in a Play, Venus In Fur)
"There is something I was told when I was at NYU: Assume that you're brilliant." And that mentality has allowed me to walk into an audition or stand here in front of all of you."

Judith Light (Best Featured Actress in a Play, Other Desert Cities)
"When I was starting out doing regional theater, I never thought this moment would really happen. I dreamed about it, of course. What's so important to me about working in the theater is we get to be in this moment of time with the audience, sharing an experience, and nothing is more important than that moment. I find it very spiritual."

Christian Borle (Best Featured Actor in a Play, Peter and the Starcatcher)
"I guess it's easy now to look back at our first production at the La Jolla Playhouse and see it as some sort of magical time, but it truly felt like the best collaboration I've ever had. I really felt everything clicked into place. Now, I have about a month left with the show before I go back to filming Smash. I am looking forward to working with Debra Messing again, fighting with Jack Davenport, and to see more real theater drama in the show. I have no idea what my character is going to do next season - maybe we'll write another musical."

Christopher Gattelli (Best Choreography, Newsies)
"I paused before coming into this room so I could see our show's performance, because that was the most important moment of the day for me. Newsies is all about the next generation of performers coming to the table and those boys showing everyone what they can do. Working on this show has completely reinvigorated me as a choreographer."

John Tiffany (Best Director of a Musical, Once)
"My dad used to play in a brass band in London, and he would take me to these concerts in pubs, and I saw how working class people can communicate in music in a way they can't in words, and that's what spoke to me about this show. It's also why I wanted the bar on stage, and it took a lot of pushing to get that in a Broadway show -- to have liquor on stage and the audience on stage. Personally, I would love it to be an open bar, but you'd have to ask the producers how they feel about that."

Donyale Werle (Best Set Design of a Play, Peter and the Starcatcher)
"I was totally surprised to win! My husband works on Clybourne Park and he told me how amazing that changeover was, so I thought Daniel Ostling would win."

Alan Menken (Best Score, Newsies)
"The Tony means something different to me than the Oscars. I can't say it means more, but it means a helluva lot. I was born in Manhattan and grew up in New York. And when you get honored for something like this, it means the entire score touches people, not just one song."

Bob Crowley (Best Set Design of a Musical, Once)
"I've done big shows and spent lots of other people's money on big sets, so to win for this simple set means maybe something in the zeitgeist is saying less is more. Of course, it would be silly for me to predict the demise of the megamusical, but maybe the bling era is gone for a while."

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