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8 Stars Share What It’s Like to Find Out You’re a Tony Nominee

05.04.18

Tony Shalhoub, Ethan Slater, and Ari’el Stachel at the 2018 Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Junket. Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions.

BY: LIZ DURAND STREISAND

It’s not every day that you get nominated for theater’s highest honor. Broadway Spin caught up with 8 of this year’s Tony nominees to find out where they were and what they did when they learned the news. Also, Ethan Slater really likes his fiancée and Ben Platt is a crazy-fast texter.

Anthony Boyle attends the 2018 Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Junket. Photo by Jenny Anderson/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions.

Anthony Boyle, Scorpius Malfoy in Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

“I was just lying in bed and I got a myriad of texts through my phone. I just started screaming, ‘F***!’ And then I just jumped up and down and danced about my apartment. And then I Facetimed my brother, my mum, brother and father and we just sort of celebrated. It was lovely.”

Ariana DeBose attends the 2018 Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Junket. Photo: by Jenny Anderson/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions.

Ariana DeBose, Disco Donna in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

“I was sitting on my couch with my cat watching the livestream and I was shocked. I’m fortunate to have so many friends included in this season, but I didn’t expect to see my face pop up on the screen. And of course, I burst into tears and I immediately called my mother. She’s my best friend.

My mom is a public educator so I was going to leave her a message and she actually answered the phone. Her kids were all screaming. It was cool, she teaches Social Studies so she loves that I was in Hamilton. She is so proud of that and she uses it as a teaching tool, and I am also very proud of that. It was a really lovely moment for me.”

Lauren Ambrose and Harry Hadden-Paton attend the 2018 Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Junket. Photo: Jenny Anderson/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions.

Harry Hadden, Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady

“I was in my underwear in my bedroom and I just had a shower. My wife was doing the school run. I knew my phone was buzzing. But I didn’t look at it until she came in. And then we both went ‘AHHHHHHHH!’”

Ethan Slater at the 2018 Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Junket. Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions.

Ethan Slater, SpongeBob in SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical

“I was up at 5:30 in the morning because I couldn’t sleep. I was nervous and I tried to be really cool and just ate breakfast. I made an omelet and I just casually put the Facebook Live Stream in the background on my computer. I was thinking that I would be able to just soak it in. And then I stopped everything, burned all my food, and watched the nominations be announced.

It was really wild. I was with my fiancée and we had a little mini celebration where we just hugged. And then two seconds later I looked at my phone and had 40 text messages all from my family. It’s been a long road with the show. I have been working on it for six years and she and I have been together for just over six years – so she’s been with me every step of the way and so she knows how much I had put into it and how we’ve gotten to take the little victories. And this, this was a pretty big little victory.”

Hailey Kilgore attends the 2018 Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Junket. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions.

Hailey Kilgore, Ti Moune in Once On this Island

“I was outside meditating. Rodney Hicks, a good mentor and family friend, always taught me about the importance of being centered and having a very grounded energy. And I looked down at my phone and I received a text from Ben Platt. And all of the grounded, any mentality of being calm, went out the window. It was pretty cool. Ben wrote, YOU ARE A TONY NOMINEE!!!  in all caps with exclamation points. It was amazing. He beat my parents, he was that quick. My parents were like, two seconds later.”

Tony Shalhoub, Katrina Lenk, and Ari’el Stachel attend the 2018 Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Junket. Photo: Jenny Anderson/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions.

Ari’el Stachel, The Band’s Visit

“Our company was performing on the Today show. Our performance started at 8:50 am and we all had to swear to leave our phones in the greenroom because they didn’t want us to be distracted.  I was nauseous. We finished around 9 am. And Orin Wolf, our lead producer, came to me and gave me a hug. He said, “Congratulations, it’s so awesome that we were nominated.”

I started to weep. It was a very surreal moment. For many many, many years, I was ashamed of Middle Eastern background and pretended to be other identities. To be recognized in a role that celebrates that identity is a seismic shift for me personally.”

Jessie Mueller attends the 2018 Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Junket. Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions.

Jessie Mueller, Julie Jordan in Carousel

“My publicist Chelsea called. And then I started getting a bunch of texts from people and so it was just kind of a lovely morning full of wonderful messages and people getting in touch — some people I talk to all the time and some people I haven’t talked to in a long time. It was lovely to get back in touch with people. I feel like we’re still up the high of opening so and the relief of coming off of six weeks of previews. This just feels like it’s such a wonderful topper for this whole trajectory we have been on.”

Norbert Leo Butz attends the 2018 Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Junket. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions.

Norbert Leo Butz, Alfred P. Doolittle in My Fair Lady.

“I was dead asleep. I got woken up by the phone and I actually told myself this year I was going to try to watch, but my seven-year-old woke up in the middle of the night with fever and a sore throat and was up all night, so I was just exhausted. I totally forgot about the nominations. We were up from 3 am until around 7 am. She was really sick with strep throat. I was just totally out of my mind. Anyway, so my manager called and told me.”