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Exclusive: Tony Awards toast this year's creative arts nominees

 Executive Director of The American Theatre Wing, Heather Hitchens (C) attends The Broadway League & The American Theatre Wing host 'Designed To Celebrate: A Toast To This Year's Creative Arts Nominees' at The Skylark on May 21, 2014 in New York City
Executive Director of The American Theatre Wing, Heather Hitchens (C) attends The Broadway League & The American Theatre Wing host 'Designed To Celebrate: A Toast To This Year's Creative Arts Nominees' at The Skylark on May 21, 2014 in New York City
Photo by Cindy Ord

With the 2014 Tony Awards television presentation just around the corner, it was time for a pre-celebration honoring the ones off the stage. Thirty stories above New York City’s Garment District in Midtown, the Skylark hosted a nice little party on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 for the newly-minted 2014 Creative Arts Nominees. A steady flow of cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, some light music playing in the background, and a room filled of playwrights, producers, composers, and designers of sorts reciprocated congratulatory remarks on another fantastic Broadway season.

Up against a dreary forecast, it was a delight to be among such innovators. And although shy to the stage, these talented men and women definitely weren't coy to answer our questions. The characters on stage could never live up to their inventors. “From the lights that create an environment on stage, to the sound given life by our talented performers, the sets that transport us around the world, and the costumes that frequently become another character to themselves in the show,” Chairman of the American Theatre Wing and nominee for Best Costume Design of a Musical, William Ivey Long toasted to his fellow cohorts for a job well done. After his win last year in the same category with "Cinderella," he explains his reinvention process with poise, “The only answer that I have is research, get up earlier than anybody else, work with the best people on the block, and the rest is a lot of luck. In order to top yourself and keep it fresh, it’s all about the material. Make sure you are working with people at the top of their game, because they in turn inspire you.”

Nominated for Best Direction of a Musical and Best Choreography of the play "After Midnight," which features a rotating cast of leading ladies like Gladys Knight, Toni Braxton, Patti LaBelle, Warren Carlyle was profound when describing the difficulties or lack thereof with having to deal with an ever changing group. "It's actually really fun having to go back and revisit the music. I was just on the phone with Gladys Knight figuring out what was going to work best for her, and what was going to make her comfortable. I do the same thing for KD Lang, the same thing for Toni Braxton. I love it. It's good to mix it up." He also made mention of his latest project in the works, another musical about the life of Mozart, the Rock-Opera will kick off in Chicago before hitting the Broadway stage.

Hosted by Hugh Jackman this year, the Tony’s will air in a live three hour ceremony on Sunday, June 8 on CBS. William, Warren and the lot of others like Leigh Silverman, Sue Wagner, Mike Bosner and more are all deserving of a win for their amazing work in the creation of bringing life to the theatrical drama of the Broadway stage.

Sade Graham contributed reporting.