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Exclusive interview with 'If/Then' 2014 Tony nominees Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey

Composers Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey attend the 68th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 8, 2014 in New York City
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris

Yesterday on June 8, 2014, was on the red carpet for the 68th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York, hosted by Hugh Jackman. The Tony for Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre went to Jason Robert Brown for "The Bridges of Madison County." "Aladdin," "A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder," and "If/Then" were also nominated in this category.

We spoke with Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey who worked on the music and lyrics respectively for the show "If/Then." Tom received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as two Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Orchestrations for "Next to Normal." Yorkey's next project is "The Last Ship," with Sting and John Logan, coming to Broadway in the fall of 2014.

Tell me about the inspiration for the music for this show.

It really comes from the story and it comes from the setting. It’s about characters making decisions in their lives who are searching for things. So I wanted the music to be guiding them, I wanted it to celebrate living in a urban environment, and I wanted it to feel like it was the music of people’s hearts.

What was the collaborative process like?

Oh it was just hell it was really impossible. No, we have been working together for quite a while now so we have sort of a shorthand. So even when the material is challenging, our process is always a joy.

Tell me about working with Idina Menzel?

She is the most remarkable performer and is not only fearless, but capable of anything. So the great thing as a writer writing for Idina is you can throw anything at her and she won’t blink, she’ll go at it and quickly learn the stuff that really soars.

Idina Menzel stars in "If/Then" and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical. On June 2, we also attended Tony Awards Cocktail Ceremony. Celebrities lined out of black SUVs with New Yorkers gazing through the gates. The Diamond Horseshoe, located in the hotel’s basement, was lofty and refined from the golden-lit spotlights to the stage that seemed so grand it was as if it could envelope the whole ballroom. As for the menu, it was simple but refined; attendees helped themselves to tasteful cocktails, tender steaks, and an assortment of charcuterie and cheeses. The event was attended by various celebrities such as Idina Menzel, Neil Patrick Harris, Kelli O’Hara, and Anika Noni Rose. Among the honor recipients were Charlotte Wilcox, Joan Marcus, and Joe Benincasa. Each gave short but sentimental speeches that left the room in a silent awe followed by a resounding applause. The event concluded with nominees and attendees socializing in the center area of the Diamond Horseshoe.

Tristen Yang contributed reporting.

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