Tony Voters Speak: The Actress

Illustration by Everett Bogue

All week leading up to Sunday’s Tony awards, we’re polling anonymous Tony voters about whom they’ve cast their votes for and why. This time we ask a Broadway actress and Tony voter: Who’s on your ballot?

Best Featured Actor in a Play: Anthony Chisholm, Radio Golf. “And it was a really, really hard decision. I don’t think he’ll win, I think Billy Crudup will win, and I won’t be upset about that. Because I thought The Coast of Utopia was a different play with Billy in it, and when I found out he wasn’t in the third one, I was so upset. I didn’t like the third one nearly as much.”

Best Actor in a Musical: Raúl Esparza, Company. “I went back to see all the guys three times. And I went with Raúl. He’s so brilliant. They all are! That was a very tough category. Ultimately it was between Raúl and the kid from Spring Awakening [Jonathan Groff] for me. But I’m very familiar with Raúl’s career, and he has gained a certain wisdom. And he did something totally different. He’s got so much energy to have to play that kind of character, so noncommittal, and then he breaks your heart. I was sobbing, I never cry, but I was sobbing.”

Best Featured Actress in a Musical: Mary Louise Wilson, Grey Gardens. “I gotta believe that she’s going to win, and that’s why she has no competition. I was furious about this category. I love Karen Ziemba, but that’s a wasted nomination. We’ve seen her do this kind of character before, and we gave her an award for it! Why weren’t Heather Laws or Barbara Walsh [from Company] nominated? I thought Beth Howland and Elaine [Stritch] would own those roles forever, but Heather and Barbara join them as burnt in my memory. We have got to do something about political favors being done by the nominators. And Tony voters — we have to do something to prove that they saw the shows before they vote. There are so few people like me who take it so seriously. The booking agents and the promoters across the country, they all vote. No way, José, did they see everything!”

Tony Voters Speak: The Actress