The 68th annual Tony Awards were presented on June 8, 2014, at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Top nominee "A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder" won four Tonys, including best musical, out of the 10 nominations that it received. “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” went into the ceremony with eight nominations and won five Tonys, including Best Revival of a Musical. The awards were more evenly spread out in the categories for plays, since one play did not dominate in winning most of the categories. Multiple winners included “A Raisin in the Sun” (which won three Tonys, including Best Revival of a Play), “All the Way” and “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” which won two awards each. (A complete list of winners can be found at the official Tony Awards website.) After the Tony winners give their acceptance speeches, they usually stop by the press room to pose for photos and do interviews. Here is what this celebrity Tony winner said in the press room.
JESSIE MUELLER (with CAROLE KING)
Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Musical
Is “Beautiful” going to the West End in London? And if so, will Jessie Mueller star in it?
Mueller: Definitely, the producer will look into it, but I can’t confirm anything. I don’t know if they’d like me to do it. I’d glad hop over the pond for a while. Yeah, why not?
What would Don Kirshner think of “Beautiful”?
King: Don Kirshner passed away in 2011, but I’m sure he’s watching and is very pleased.
Mueller: And his son who produced [“Beautiful”] is here.
What is it about theater that creates these lasting, strong relationships among actors?
Mueller: You have to meet someone on the first day. And depending on the role, you have to be their wife or husband or fall in love with them or be their best friend. The theater is like other jobs: You have to form connections with people.
You have to do very intimate things, depending on the story. You have to go really fast. You experience something that’s really special, and then you have to leave the show. Because it’s so intense, I think that’s why these relationships last.
Carole, did you discover anything new about your songs, having seen them performed on stage in “Beautiful”?
King: I didn’t learn anything new about my songs, but I learned a lot of new things about myself and in Jessie portraying me. To see, at that age, I had no idea who I was and what was good about me and what was not good about me. I was learning that over the years. To see it with such clarity.
We [Jessie Mueller and I] didn’t talk about stuff a lot. We met a few times in rehearsal, but Jessie did this all on her own. What she portrays is so true and so true for me. We were saying to each other that this is a gift. It’s such a gift to see myself as the woman I was then — and I actually like myself!
Jessie, what makes Carole King a great songwriter?
Mueller: It’s the honesty. [She says to King] You had to say what was important. To me, it’s always your thoughts, your emotions, your love, your joy.
King: And that’s why I love her [Jessie Mueller]. That’s what I felt.
[King then leaves to let Mueller answer the rest of the questions.]
Did you rehearse your acceptance speech?
Mueller: I wrote something down because I would have been chastised if I hadn’t written anything down. I had fears of going up on stage and “going up,” as they say, so I wrote some things down. I hope I got all of it said. I missed a few. My piece of paper was quite tiny.
How are you going to celebrate your Tony win?
Mueller: We have a “Beautiful” party at Bobby Vans. And then our press firm has another party somewhere. Someone will tell me where to go and when to get there. They may even put me in a car and get me there.
What did it feel like to dance with Hugh Jackman at the Tony Awards?
Mueller: When Hugh Jackman pulls you up and does the Running Man in front of you, what choice do you have? One must do the Running Man with him.
For more info: Tony Awards website
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