It's Tony Awards season! With so many beautiful and powerful performances, I thought it would be fun to learn a little bit more about the nominees in each category and their journey leading up to the big night on June 11th.
1st up: Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Meet Kate Baldwin
Hometown: Evanston, Illinois
Training: Northwestern University
Big Break: A career filled with both Broadway and regional theatre credits, Kate made her Broadway debut in "The Full Monty" (2000), followed by "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (2002), "Wonderful Town" (2003),"Finian's Rainbow" (2009; Tony nomination), and "Big Fish" (2013).
Fun Fact: Kate has had a life-long love of Bette Midler. At 13, she performed “The Rose” at her middle school talent show. At Northwestern, one of her musical theatre technique class assignments was to choose a song and lip-sing to it. She chose “The Glory of Love.” When she was asked to audition for “Rent,” she went to her go-to diva’s songbook for an audition song and chose “The Song of Bernadette.”
Meet Stephanie J. Block
Hometown: Brea, California
Training: Orange County High School of the Arts
Big Break: Although she had a long history of playing great roles in Regional Theatre and she was the original Elphaba in "Wicked" (replaced, of course, by Idina Menzel), her Broadway debut came in 2003 in "The Boy from Oz." Some of her Broadway highlights include "The Pirate Queen" (2007), "9 to 5" (2009), "Anything Goes!" (2011/12; Sutton Foster's replacement), and "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"(2012; 1st Tony Nomination) .
Fun Fact: She met her husband, Sebastian Arcelus, on the 1st National Tour of "Wicked." She played Elphaba; he played Fiyero. You can also see them play a married couple on "Madam Secretary."
Meet Jenn Colella
Come From Away
Hometown: Summerville, South Carolina
Training: Columbia College (Speech and Drama), UC Irvine (MFA Acting)
Big Break: Originally starting her career as a stand-up comic, she made her Broadway debut in "Urban Cowboy" (2003) followed by knockout performances in other new musicals like "High Fidelity" (2006), "Chaplin" (2012), and "If/Then" (2014).
Fun Fact: Jenn has the best pre-show ritual! She is a big hugger and tries to connect/check in/give some love to every cast member. What a sweetheart!
Meet Rachel Bay Jones
Dear Evan Hansen
Hometown: Boca Raton, Florida
Big Break: Making her Broadway debut in "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1989), Rachel took 20 years off before coming back to Broadway in "Hair" (2009), "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" (2010), and "Pippin" (2013).
Fun Fact: Her parents are both Shakespearean actors.
Meet Mary Beth Peil
Hometown: Davenport, Iowa
Training: Northwestern University
Big Break: A trained opera singer who sang opera for decades before discovering musical theatre, she made her Broadway debut in “The King and I” (1985; 1st Tony Nomination) and has appeared in countless musicals since. You may recognize her from her memorable television roles as ‘Grams’ in “Dawson’s Creek” (1998-2003) and Jackie Florrick in “The Good Wife” (2009-2016).
Fun Fact: In high school, she was asked to sing a solo for the entire student body. She was terrified and didn’t want to do it. At the last minute, she decided to take off her glasses, so she couldn’t see the audience! The applause after the solo was deafening and she has never stopped performing ever since.
What an incredible group of ladies! Who is your favorite?
Let me know in the comments below!
Check back on Wednesday to
Meet the 2017 Tony Award Nominees:
Best Featured Actor in a Musical
Tom Morin is a NYC-based acting coach, co-founder of Polish Your Passion, and a professional actor/singer. He holds a B.A. in Theatre & Political Science from the College of the Holy Cross and an M.F.A. in Acting from Ohio University and has been teaching for the past 9 years, advising and coaching students through the college audition process and beyond. He loves coffee, Shakespeare, and YouTube.