The Best Actress in a Musical category is filled with powerhouse performances by some of the greatest Broadway legends and newcomers. Before the Tony Award winner is announced on June 11th, get to know these phenomenal ladies!
Best Actress in a Musical
Meet Denée Benton
Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
Hometown: Winter Park, Florida
Training: Carnegie Mellon University
Big Break: Having to skip her Carnegie Mellon BFA Senior Showcase, she played Nabulungi in the West End and US Tour of “The Book of Mormon” (2014). She also played Ruby Carter in “UnREAL” (2016). This is her Broadway debut.
Fun Fact: Attending a highly academic high school, it wasn’t until the summer before her senior year that she decided that she wanted to go to college to study acting. She made a PowerPoint presentation with a full cost/benefit analysis to convince her parents that it was a good idea.
Meet Christine Ebersole
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Training: MacMurray College, AADA
Big Break: A long history on Broadway, she made her Broadway debut in 1975 in "Angel Street." Some other memorable Broadway credits include "On the Twentieth Century" (1978), "Okahoma!" (1979), "Camelot" (1980), and "Steel Magnolias" (2005). She won Tony Awards for her work in "42nd Street" (2001) and "Grey Gardens" (2006). You also may recognize her from classic films like "Tootsie" (1982), "Amadeus" (1984), and "My Favorite Martian" (1999) or the TV show "Royal Pains."
Fun Fact: She was a cast member on SNL from 1981-1982.
Meet Patti LuPone
Hometown: Northport, New York
Training: The Juilliard School
Big Break: A living MT legend, she has been a leading lady on Broadway for over 40 years. Making her Broadway debut in "The Three Sisters" in 1973, she received her first Tony Award nomination for "The Robber Bridegroom" in 1975 and won her first Tony Award in 1979 for her career-defining Eva Peron in "Evita." Some of her Broadway highlights include "Anything Goes" (1987; Tony nomination), "Sweeney Todd" (2005; Tony nomination),"Gypsy" (2nd Tony Award; 2008), and "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" (Tony nomination; 2010). On television, she starred in "Life Goes On" (1989-1993), "American Horror Story: Coven" (2013), and "Penny Dreadful" (2014-2016).
Fun Fact: She only lives in Manhattan on nights before matinees; she has a driver who drives her two hours home to Litchfield County, Connecticut after most performances.
Meet Bette Midler
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
Training: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Big Break: Making her Broadway debut as Tzeitel in “Fiddler on the Roof” in 1966, she released her first album in 1972,“The Divine Miss M,” which earned her a Grammy and launched her singing career and international popularity. Her major film credits include “The Rose” (1979), “Beaches,” (1988), “Hocus Pocus” (1993), and “The Stepford Wives” (2004). She won a Tony Award in 1974 for “Adding Lustre to the Broadway Season.” This is her first Best Actress Tony nomination.
Fun Fact: Growing up in an extremely poor family, she learned about ballet, theater, and opera by reading books at the public library!
Meet Eva Noblezada
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Training: Northwest School of the ArtsCharlotte, North Carolina
Big Break: A finalist at The Jimmy Awards, her solo caught the eye of Tara Rubin who called her in for "Miss Saigon." After three auditions, the rest is history. This is her Broadway debut.
Fun Fact: The first time she left America was to star in "Miss Saigon" in London. Also, her aunt was one of the Kim's on Broadway with Lea Salonga.
What an unbelievable group of ladies! Who is your favorite?
Let me know in the comments below!
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Meet the 2017 Tony Award Nominees:
Best 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.
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