A Magical Night at the Tonys

What is the biggest night on Broadway? The Tony Awards of course! Usually on Tony Awards night I’m snuggled up on my couch with a bowl of popcorn watching the event on TV, but this year I got to see it live in person! Camp Broadway took me and some other thespians to Radio City to experience the magical Tony Awards. It was an experience I will never forget! Before the awards we went to Sardi’s, an infamous restaurant in the theatre community, where we got caricatures made of ourselves. We also had the privilege of eating dinner with the three Charlie’s in Broadway’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! I was able to ask each of them a few questions and get their view on the life of a Broadway performer.

After Sardi’s we made the walk to Radio City for the Tony Awards! As we walked into Radio City, glamorous people flooded the building in gorgeous gowns. Then it hit me. Wow, I am actually at the Tony Awards! I could not believe it; I thought I was dreaming so I had to pinch myself to make sure it was actually happening! I made my way to the first mezzanine to find my seat and the extravagant scenery flooded my senses. It was a magical sight to see the Radio City stage decorated for this special night. I just took it all in.

The perks of going to the Tony Awards broadcast are that you are able to see everything that isn’t put on the air. Before the show aired at eight o’clock, they gave out numerous awards that were not aired on television. It was also cool to see the camera work and finessing they do behind the scenes that you are not able to see at home. It is really fascinating. Finally it was time, 7:59, 60 seconds until the Tony Awards are aired and the magic really begins. The energy in Radio City was a feeling I will never forget. 60 seconds had passed and the awards had gone live! It was incredible. The entire night was like a dream. The show was fantastic and the performances took my breath away.

All of the performances were fantastic, but a few stood out to me. To start, the opening number with the host, Kevin Spacey, was hilarious and was a great kick-off to the night. Next, the Miss Saigon performance was surely a showstopper. Eva Noblezada‘s powerful and moving vocals left the audience speechless and amazed. Also, the entire ensemble of Miss Saigon really amazed me. This performance brought me to tears because it was so incredible. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to see Miss Saigon and interview a member of the cast, Minami Yusui. Look for a future blog post about this experience!

Another wonderful performance was Dear Evan Hansen. Ben Platt is really something special and when he’s onstage your eyes are drawn to him. Another showstopping number was when the Rockettes performed to the iconic Frank Sinatra song, “New York, New York”. Their costumes sparkled and the backdrop had “ROCKETTES” written in gold sparkles. Suddenly, just as you thought this performance couldn’t get any better, Cynthia Erivo and Leslie Odom Jr. came out and sang the epic ending of the song. I was starstruck. It was one of the greatest things I have ever witnessed. Definitely one of the top performances of the night! The cast of The Great Comet’s performance was also very spectacular! With Josh Groban‘s voice, the incredible dancers in the ensemble, and the extraordinary set, it was an amazing sight to see. Out of all of the performances of the night, my top two favorites were the Miss Saigon performance and the Rockettes with Cynthia and Leslie. Overall, the whole show was incredible!

The theme for this years Tony Awards is “Theatre Inspires”, which can be followed at #theatreinspires. In between noshing at Sardis and getting our caricature’s done… I was able to sit down with the three young men who play Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway to chat about their life as a Broadway performer. Thank you to Ryan Sell, Jake Ryan Flynn and Ryan Foust for chatting with me. Hope you are inspired by what they had to share!

When did you begin doing theatre?

(RS) Three years ago I did a high school production of Shrek, I played Young Shrek and that’s how I got started. I was also in Mame. I played young Patrick and I got to perform with Leslie Uggams.

(JRF) I did theatre when I was five years old, community theatre. Then I did North Shore Music Theatre; I did a lot of shows there.

(RF) I began doing theatre six years ago when I was in first grade.

What is your favorite part about being on Broadway?

(RS) It’s a very small community and we all have fun and it’s a great experience to be a part of this great cast and crew. It’s an honor to work with Christian Borle, John Rubinstein, Jackie Hoffman, and Emily Padgett. It’s a great experience and I am enjoying every bit of it.

(JRF) You get a lot of Legos! I like to perform because I’ve always wanted to be on Broadway, so its just great!

(RF) My favorite part about being on Broadway is getting to work with Christian Borle, and all those amazing people you hear about and living the dream everybody loves if they have something to do with theatre, they’d love to be on Broadway. Before I went on everyone asked how do you feel and I was like my dream is just about to come true! My very first line is “what is this place?” and I can act that out like crazy!

What’s your favorite candy?

(JRF) Charleston Chew
(RF) Airheads Sugar Belts
(RS) Airheads Sour Strips

What are your dreams for when you grow up?

(JRF) I really want to be the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera!

(RF) My dreams are to be an actor of course, and I’d like to be a director, music writer or film writer.

What was it like performing on a Broadway stage for the first time?

(JRF) I was freaking out! I was so nervous, so nervous. But it was fun though, because I got into it; really fun!

Along with insight from the three Charlie’s, the Camp Broadway kids also shared how theatre inspires them. After all, they are Broadway’s future! May we find inspiration in their answers!

Theatre inspires me because…. 

Anything can happen! – Rachel

I can’t imagine doing anything else!!! – Luke

It allows me to express myself in ways I can’t in real life. I also get to do my favorite activities like singing and dancing while performing. – Scott

It is socially acceptable to spontaneously break into song 🙂 – Jessica

It makes the impossible, possible! – Dorothy

One could argue about the theatre’s power to effect change. However, that is not unique to the art form itself. What give theatre a greater power is that no other art form has as intimate a connection between artist and audience, and cultivated intimacy evokes stronger, more powerful emotions than anything else I have ever experienced. – Katie

It opens up new possibilities for everyone. – Shannon

It inspires me to tell my story. – Lindsay

I get to do what I love and bring joy to people’s lives! – Amber

In the Ancient Greek era plays were extremely important and impactful, so impactful that prisoners were able to go free after seeing a show. I want to be able to impact people through stories and find emotions through experience, and spread my experience to others. – Gigi

It has no labels!!! – Claire

Of all the different stories played both on and off the stage they teach me I can do anything. The stories are so important, and it’s incredible that, as actors, we have the ability to affect others in such a positive way. – Olivia

It’s one of the few places everyone is free to be and express themselves. – Cate

It inspires me because of all the work that is put into every show, whether it is Broadway or a school production. It always gives me goose bumps after an amazing performance. – Julia

It helps me explore different emotions and it helps me find my true self. – Jack

It lets me express myself in a special way. – Lexi

You can be who you want to be while being someone else. – Bo

It transports and transforms people. – Luke

Since the beginning of its history, Broadway has been a platform to give a voice to the voiceless. – Katie

It will change the world! – Lauren

It brings people together and brings them hope and a break from life’s troubles. – Abby

It gives me opportunities to express myself doing what I love! – Carter

It gives us a glimpse into the lives of others while sharing a little bit of ourselves. Theatre unites us, and that’s really special. – Mae

I don’t get bullied for being my true self. – Mya

Theatre let’s me explore my more creative side. Even though I spend my time on a catwalk in pitch dark with a spotlight, theatre let’s me explore less STEM based aspects of my life. – Wiley

… and a few shout outs to inspirational artists…

Ben Platt is incredible! – Olivia

Jeremy Jordan is amazing! – Emily

What an inspirational night! From Sardi’s, the caricatures, meeting the three Charlie’s, and going to the Tony Awards!!! What a truly magical night!

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