Theater News

2020 Tony Nominees React and Tell Us to Vote, Donate, and Wear a Mask

Hear what this year’s crop of nominees have to say after finding out the good news.

The big day is here! We have the list of 2020 Tony nominees, and we're chatting with the members of the illustrious short list to hear their first reactions to the big news. You'll find some of their responses here, and keep checking as more pour in.

For the complete list of Tony nominees, click here.

Elizabeth Stanley and the cast of Jagged Little Pill
Elizabeth Stanley and the cast of Jagged Little Pill
(© Matthew Murphy)

From Jagged Little Pill:

"When I began the lab of Jagged Little Pill three years ago – almost to the day – I couldn't have even dreamt that it would lead to this morning. Cue me today…finally getting cell service at the end of an off the grid hike squealing into the Colorado wilderness with joy for the acknowledgment that our show has received (the wildlife was terrified). Thank you, thank you, American Theatre Wing, I am honored.

Bringing the role of Mary Jane to life has absolutely been the highlight of my career. The entire experience has taken me to the depths of my soul and taught me so much. I am continually in awe of our generous creative team, and I have been humbled each night by my incredible cast mates—every one of whom poured their beautiful hearts in to creating each track with vulnerability and integrity. I am humbled to be telling the messy story of a fierce mother, a fighter, a survivor, and an addict. I'm thrilled that our show has been recognized, and I feel very proud to be a part of a production that is doing what I think art does best: helping us see ourselves and encouraging us to heal—which feels more necessary than ever. Immense gratitude to the many, many people who have shared your personal stories with me as I studied to play this role with respectful accuracy and tenderness." — Elizabeth Stanley, Best Actress in a Musical

"I am so proud of our Jagged Little Pill family today and so deeply honored to be included in this group of Tony Nominees. This show has taught me so much about what it means to speak up for what's right and to speak your truth so to get this nod of celebration amidst such uncertainty is an immense honor and just the inspiration needed to keep working towards a better future for America. See you at the polls!" —  Kathryn Gallagher, Best Featured Actress in a Musical

"I am incredibly grateful for this Tony nomination, which is made so much more special for me because I share it with my entire Jagged Little Pill family. I am deeply proud of our show and everything that it stands for. I can't wait until we are all able to return safely to our theatres to share the brilliant work of the shows that opened, and the shows that were not able to open because of the coronavirus pandemic. As a country and as an artistic community, we are going through deeply difficult times, and I hope that this moment of reflection and celebration can fuel and inspire us to return to Broadway stronger, and with true equity and justice for our entire community." — Lauren Patten, Best Featured Actress in a Musical

"This is a huge honor. I share this with my entire Jagged Little Pill family, especially the brilliant Alanis Morissette, and all of the wonderful collaborators who inspired my work. I also want to acknowledge all of the shows that were not able to open, so today I'm thinking of all of the great artists who were supposed to be a part of the '19-'20 season, and I can't wait to see all of their beautiful work when Broadway returns." — Tom Kitt, Best Orchestrations

Danny Burstein in Moulin Rouge!
Danny Burstein in Moulin Rouge!
(© Matthew Murphy)

From Moulin Rouge!:

"I'm humbled and honored by this nomination. I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge every member of the Moulin Rouge family; the producers, artistic staff, stagehands, dressers and, of course, the company. I know this nomination is because of them. I'd also like to say that my heart is with every person suffering in any way because of this pandemic. It's been a hell of a year. Please vote." — Danny Burstein, Best Featured Actor in a Musical

"The two things I've kept repeating this afternoon: "This isn't real. Is this real life?" When I saw my name appear on the screen, I burst into the most horrific ugly cry and roared like a dying lion. My husband and son latched onto me and we cried. Hard. I am so unbelievably honored to have received this recognition from The Broadway League and American Theatre Wing. I truly was not expecting this at all. I will cherish this day for the rest of my life, and I cannot wait to get back on that beautiful stage at the Hirschfeld and welcome everybody back into our gorgeous underworld, The Moulin Rouge." — Robyn Hurder, Best Featured Actress in a Musical

"I'm so excited and honored to be nominated alongside such incredible directors I admire and for Moulin Rouge, a show I love so much. There's obviously great sadness right now, and the fact that we're in a period without plays and musicals in New York can feel like an incomparably small part of that. But Moulin Rouge itself is a musical about "show people" and their resilience in times of struggle and I take inspiration from it every day and the knowledge that Broadway will be back – and that we'll all be reunited with our own "show families." It's wonderful that the American Theater Wing and Broadway League have made the choice to celebrate the theater industry and a season that we all felt very lucky to be a part of." — Alex Timbers, Best Director of a Musical

"I am overjoyed to be recognized in this way! I hope that my nomination serves to inspire young artists for whom the idea of working in an elite sector of this field seems so far away. It is definitely hard work, and the tireless efforts of thousands of theater practitioners all over this industry are seldom recognized in such a big way. But these types of awards would never be given out were it not for the daily passion and craftsmanship that so many of our colleagues come to work with every day. We thus inspire each other to do our best work again and again. Until we all meet again to conjure magic in dark theaters and bright rehearsal halls all over this planet, please VOTE!" — Sahr Ngaujah, Best Featured Actor in a Musical

"Moulin Rouge! The Musical is so grateful to The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing for providing the chance to come together as theater lovers and theater creators in this history-making moment. This year's Tony Award nominees share the most unusual of bonds. At such a difficult time for so many people, including the thousands who make up the industry behind the scenes, we welcome this opportunity to take a moment to celebrate the remarkable achievements of our finest artists. We are humbled by these nominations and honored every day to stand with the Broadway community. We look forward to joining all the nominees to acknowledge our industry's work and everything Broadway is rebuilding itself to be in the future." — Carmen Pavlovic, Best Musical

"I'm thrilled to be nominated alongside my Moulin Rouge comrades. The show really was a labor of love for us — and until the theater makes its long awaited and desperately needed return, I'm heartened by all the memories of Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love." — John Logan, Best Book

"Moulin Rouge! The Musical is made up of one of the hardest working teams I've ever been a part of, both on stage and off. It is a show where the craft of dance is celebrated and honored. Our beloved ensemble fires off an electricity that echoes, and I'm so grateful to them. As an Arab-American queer choreographer, it has been an honor to work on a show that celebrates otherness and a freedom for all humanity. Even though unpredictability abounds for the arts in this uncertain time, I am proud to celebrate this year with my fellow nominees. This moment serves as a giant reminder that we're still here and of just how vital the arts are – as the heartbeat of New York City, and beyond." — Sonya Tayeh, Best Choreography

"I am so honored and grateful for to be recognized for these two shows Moulin Rouge and Soldier's Play, both of which have meant so much to me. In the midst of an enormously difficult and painful year, this is a great moment of joy!" — Derek McLane, Best Scenic Design of a Musical and Best Scenic Design of a Play

"I'm so proud and grateful for my team and the many music makers who helped bring this score to life. I hope this time off we've been granted/forced to take is used to make our industry a more just, equitable and inclusive place to create. We as artists and performers can do a lot within our own circles to achieve this and I am committed to being part of the change so many of us wish to see." — Justin Levine, Best Orchestrations

"It has been an honor and a joy to work on Moulin Rouge and to be a part of this brilliant music team led by my dear friend Justin Levine. I'm thrilled to be nominated and thrilled that the Tony Awards will go on this year so all of us who work in the theater have something fun to look forward to this year!" — Matt Tine, Best Orchestrations

"I'm so very grateful for the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the work of my colleagues and the life force that is Broadway. Collaboration and unity is at the heart of what we do, and I'm so moved to know we will have this moment to come together during such tumultuous times. I hope this year's Tonys shines a light on our industry, that has been so devastated by this pandemic, and reminds us all that the arts are essential to New York City and the world." — Katie Kresek, Best Orchestrations

Adrienne Warren in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
Adrienne Warren in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
(© Manuel Harlan)

From Tina: The Tina Turner Musical:

"Being nominated this year is a bittersweet honor. The intermission our industry is experiencing is unprecedented and its impact will undoubtedly be felt for years. But the curtain being down has allowed many to lift the veil on the pervasive and stubborn roots of racism that still infect our nation. In this dark moment, we are plagued by the virus of COVID-19 and the virus of racism. But both Goliaths can be slain. I feel so blessed to have laid my hands on a musical about a woman who slayed—who conquered the Goliaths of domestic abuse and industry-wide sexism and racism. The story of Tina Turner is truly an inspiration for these dark and turbulent times, and I'm so proud of our team for bringing Tina: The Tina Turner Musical to the world." — Katori Hall, Best Book of a Musical and Best Musical

"During this time, I wasn't sure how to feel about today…then my heart is exploded with pride for our entire show and everyone involved. Thank you to the nominating committee for this recognition! I am truly honored and grateful." — Adrienne Warren, Best Actress in a Musical

"I'd like to express my profound thanks to the Broadway League, The tony Awards, and my entire Tina family. We have so many reasons to be thankful and to celebrate our industry and our show through these awards. Seven months after the lights went down on Broadway, however, we need the public's support more than ever. Hundreds of thousands of actors, musicians, creatives, stage hands, ushers and more have been furloughed without an indication of when we might return to our beloved jobs. Thousands of small businesses in New York City and across the country that rely on Broadway, touring and regional theater to bring patrons to their doors have been severely affected or have shut their doors forever. The arts aren't a "luxury" — we're a cultural necessity that allow creators to inform, entertain, and act as a social barometer in our society. Broadway will be back, for sure — but for now, please reach out to your representatives and let them know you care about the arts and that they should, too. AND VOTE!!" — Ethan Popp, Best Orchestrations

From Grand Horizons:

"It thrills me that Bess Wohl's beautiful play was nominated and that I have been recognized for my role in it. This has been an extraordinarily tough time for theater artists so any chance to celebrate is wonderful. Theater will never die as long as we have a stage and an audience to watch. Hold tight dear company of players, you'll be back! Love, Jane" — Jane Alexander, Best Featured Actress in a Play

"I am incredibly honored that my work and that of our entire company and crew was recognized, and am deeply grateful to Williamstown Theatre Festival and to Second Stage for producing Grand Horizons. At the same time, my heart is with the countless arts workers who are currently unemployed or have been otherwise devastated by the pandemic. Wear a mask. Vote. And I look forward to when we can all gather together again on Broadway." — Bess Wohl, Best Play

A scene from Slave Play, the most nominated play in history.
A scene from Slave Play, the most nominated play in history.
(© Matthew Murphy)

From Slave Play:

"I'm honored to be nominated especially for leading a team helmed by black and brown artists. BIPOC voices are vital to the theater, but also to the ballot box. Please take this opportunity to vote and make sure your voice is heard." — Robert O'Hara, Best Director of a Play

"Thank you very much for this nomination. I am so proud to be a part of this production with amazing and passionate artists. While we are celebrating, the arts community is in desperate need of support in this dark time. If you are able, please donate to The Actors Fund. And if you are someone working in the industry in need of support, please visit" — Jiyoun Chang, Best Lighting Design of a Play

"Thank you so much for these nominations, it is truly a dream come true. Throughout my life, I have received so much from the theatre community: love, support, values, empathy, and so much more. Although I could never begin to repay what I have received, I can only ask that everyone who believes in the arts to please reach out to their elected representatives and urge them to immediately pass COVID support measures (such as #SaveOurStagesAct) so that our theatres can continue to thrive and support the artists of the future." — Lindsay Jones, Best Score and Best Sound Design of a Play

"Thank you to the American Theatre Wing for this honor alongside such an amazing group of Artists, whom I have long admired. With this nomination I would be remised if I didn't speak about the support that is so desperately needed for our arts community. So many people lost their livelihoods and I encourage anyone who can to donate to the Actors Fund as well as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. This news lifted my spirits and I hope that we all can lift each other up during this difficult time." — Joaquina Kalukango, Best Actress in a Play

"Thank you very much for the nominations and for honoring all the many shows and peers. May our desire for a more equitable American theatre reflect the immense love we have for it. In addition: #Vote #BlackLivesMatter #BeAnArtsHero #costumeindustrycoalition #savethecostumeindustry" — Clint Ramos, Best Scenic Design of a Play for Slave Play and Best Costume Design of a Play (for The Rose Tattoo)

""My heart is bursting. This is a literal dream come true and I am honored to be nominated. I am incredibly proud of Slave Play and the work we did and CONTINUE to do to confront America's relationship to its violent racial history. It's an exhausting and necessary conversation and as I celebrate this moment, I'm left wondering; How will we keep that conversation moving forward?" — Ato Blankson-Wood, Best Featured Actor in a Play

"I am so beyond honored to be nominated amongst such exquisite artists. To be an actor is the greatest gift and responsibility that I have had the privilege of undertaking. We must keep the theatre and storytelling alive to give a voice to the unheard and shed light to the unseen; the arts are a beacon in the darkest of times to guide us and light the way. Please consider donating to the Actor's Fund to help those storytellers in need until the curtains rise once again. Use your voice and VOTE. Thank you for acknowledging my work. It is my life's duty to be one torchbearer amongst the many and mighty community that makes the American Theatre." —James Cusati-Moyer, Best Featured Actor in a Play

"I am deeply honored to be nominated! It is an uncertain time for the theater world and the world at large, so if you are able, I encourage you first to VOTE and then – if you can – to donate to The Actors Fund. And if you are someone working in the industry in need of support, please visit I miss the incredible work of the theater community and I cannot wait to be back on stage with you all soon!" — Jake Gyllenhaal, Best Actor in a Play for Sea Wall/A Life, Best Play for Sea Wall/A Life, Best Play for Slave Play

"I am so proud to be one of a small handful of great actresses representing the past Broadway season, truncated as it was. Now more than ever, we need to value the power and necessity of the performing arts, especially the theatre, in American Culture. I send my love and thanks to the Tony Committee and everyone involved with My Name is Lucy Barton." — Laura Linney, Best Actress in a Play for My Name Is Lucy Barton

Mary-Louise Parker in The Sound Inside
Mary-Louise Parker in The Sound Inside
(© Jeremy Daniel)

"At this moment Broadway may be dark longer than it ever has, but I'm praying it's just waiting for us and I have my own ghost light on and burning bright until those stage doors open again. I'm longing for my theater family but grateful we have today to connect and that I can celebrate my Sound Inside collaborators as well. Thank you for your faith in us, I can speak for the entire theater community when I say we cannot wait to tread the boards again." — Mary-Louise Parker, Best Actress in a Play for The Sound Inside

"I'm really, really just so excited and happy for the play itself. Coming into that production, because of the success of it in the 1980s, and it having never been on Broadway, we wanted to get it right. We worked hard to do our best. It's gratifying and exciting to see the 7 nominations." — Blair Underwood, Best Actor in a Play for A Soldier's Play

"I'm so surprised and honored by the nominations – it was a huge privilege to be a part of both special productions Sea Wall/A Life and The Sound Inside. We're all mourning the loss of live theater right now, and this is a reminder that our community of artists and workers struggling under the weight of this recession and pandemic. The industry desperately needs support, and I implore us all to elect competent progressive leaders who will fight for working people, a functional government, and a progressive society." — Daniel Kluger, double nominee for Best Sound Design of a Play

"I am delighted about this. A Christmas Carol is a profound contemplation on community, kindness and spirit. With the world as it is at the moment, Dickens's masterpiece is a timely reminder of what everyone should be reaching for. We are looking forward to remounting it on Broadway in 2021 and also a simultaneous American national tour. To have any part of our production of Jack Thorne's fresh adaptation recognized is incredible, and the entire team are all grateful to the Broadway League and American Theatre Wing, not only for the nominations but also for the herculean efforts in making this year's awards possible." —Rob Howell, Best Scenic Design of a Play and Best Costume Design of a Play for A Christmas Carol