Oh, the Drama: Breaking Down the 2018 Tony Awards
Broadway’s biggest night drew everyone from Bruce Springsteen to a goat named Sparky.
BY KRISTEN TAUER AND LEIGH NORDSTROM
The most unexpected guest making an appearance on the Tonys red carpet?
You guessed right, it was Sparky. The goat — @goatsonthisisland — was out supporting his "Once on This Island" castmates who were nominated along with the likes of Denzel Washington, Bruce Springsteen, Amy Schumer, Glenda Jackson, Andrew Garfield and more, who gathered at Radio City Music Hall for the 72nd annual Tony Awards.
Producer Jordan Roth had plenty to cheer for this year. There with nominated shows “Angels in America," "Frozen," "Mean Girls" and "Springsteen," he was also celebrating his 15th anniversary with husband Richie Jackson.
“This is our anniversary party, welcome!” said Roth said, standing next to Jackson.
“No, no, no, no, no,” Jackson said. “Yes, yes, yes, yes!” Roth said. “So the discrepancy is the following…”
“It's literally the only thing we disagree on," Jackson added.
“The date of the Tony Awards we met was June 8, 2003,” Roth said. “He celebrates June 8 as our anniversary, and I celebrate Tony Sunday. I'm right clearly.”
“Either way we get to celebrate twice,” Jackson said.
Ari'el Stachel, who later picked up the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for “The Band's Visit,” made a last-minute outfit change to sneakers for his big night.
“I was very nervous about it — this was a big thing today. It felt risky…and I literally chose the shoes today at, like 1 p.m.,” he said, standing next to his mother. “I was going to wear dress shoes and I was like, ‘I gotta do something different.'”
Andrew Rannells was getting into formation with his "Boys in the Band" castmates for a photo op; they were all dressed in complementary color tuxedos in shades of green, blue and burgundy.
"Taste the rainbow," exclaimed Rannells. "Everyone's wearing Paul Smith."
Any nerves the scheduled performers might be having were spared from Cynthia Erivo, the big winner for “The Color Purple” two years ago.
"I don't know that I get stage fright. And I like the pre-show tingles, because I feel like it reminds me that I care,” she said. “They sort of dissipate throughout the show, and I'm OK with that. It's a reminder that I'm alive, that I'm breathing, and this is real and you care.”
“I just pretend that I'm somebody, I'm not me,” was how Lauren Ridloff, a nominee for “Children of a Lesser God,” copes with stage nerves. “That's not me on the stage, so whatever I'm doing onstage, I can blame her, not me,” she said, through an interpreter. “And so that's easy.”
Shortly after the ceremony wrapped at 11 p.m., the crowd moseyed — mostly via a fleet of chartered buses — a few blocks uptown to the Plaza Hotel for the night's annual official after party. The winners had their trophies on proud display, including a glowing Lindsay Mendez and Stachel. Laurie Metcalf, winner of best featured actress for "Three Tall Women," darted in covering her face from cameras, not long before winner Nathan Lane pulled a similar camera-shy move upon arrival. Nearby, an elderly man was using his cane to hold up the draping palm branches for the ladies passing underneath.
Win or lose, the crowd was equally celebratory. Downstairs at the food court, Ridloff intercepted fellow actress nominee Ashley Park with a hug as she moved through the crowd.
The first-timers on the Tonys after-party circuit were still rather dazzled by the whole experience.
"I think probably getting to share the stage with Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban for a minute," said "SpongeBob SquarePants" actor Ethan Slater, of the night's highlight. "It was pretty special looking out and seeing my fiancé in the audience, and then looking up and seeing the rest of Radio City was pretty awesome."
The actor was nominated for best lead actor in a musical but sadly went home empty-handed — though that seemed to have little effect on his mood.
"It was a really wild night," he continued. "I got to be at the Tonys and celebrate the awesome Broadway season, and now we're at the fanciest party I've ever been to of my whole life, so I'm trying to soak it all in."
Luckily, soaking it all in is what his spongey character does best.
Christine Baranski Ari’el Stachel and Cynthia Erivo
Miles McMillan, Zachary Quinto and