Meet the 2016 Tony Awards Nominees: Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

It's Tony Awards season! One of my absolute favorite times of the year in New York City. With so many wonderfully diverse and interesting performers this year on Broadway, I thought it would be fun to learn a little bit more about the nominees in each category before the big night on June 12th!

1st up: Best Performance by an

Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Meet Danielle Brooks

The Color Purple (Sofia)

Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina Training: South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities, The Juilliard School (2011 grad) Big Break: Although she got her start in regional theatre at Shakespeare Theatre Company's The Servant of Two Masters, she won the breakout role of Taystee in Netflix's Orange is the New Black, a year after graduating from Juilliard. Originally, the role was created for 2 episodes, but was soon written into the entire series. This is her Broadway debut! Fun Fact: She is not only an inspiration to so many, but she is one of the hardest working actresses on Broadway. She works on both The Color Purple & Orange is the New Black at the SAME time and spends any "free days" doing press and photoshoots.

Meet Renée Elise Goldsberry

Hamilton (Angelica Schuyler)

Hometown: Houston, Texas & Detroit, Michigan Training: Carnegie Mellon & University of Southern California (Masters Degree in Vocal Jazz Performance)

Big Break: An accomplished TV, Film, and Broadway actress and singer/songwriter, Renée played Nala in The Lion King and originated Nettie in The Color Purple before going on to play the final Mimi in Rent. She also was on Ally McBeal with fellow nominee, Jane Krakowski, and One Life to Live. Fun Fact: Renée is an adjunct professor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Also, in her junior year of high school, she defied traditional casting and snagged the role of Nellie Forbush in South Pacific.