NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The 71st Annual Tony Awards are Sunday night, and one of the season’s biggest Broadway stars is a familiar face to most.
Say hello, Bette! Superstar Bette Midler returns and she’s looking swell, starring in the revival of “Hello, Dolly!” The beloved musical has 10 nominations, and Midler herself is a lead actress nominee.
“From the first time I saw a theatrical production, which was in the Honolulu Community Theater at Fort Rucker, I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” Midler said on “CBS This Morning.”
Fan favorite David Hyde Pierce is also nominated as lead actor, and there are additional nominations for the production’s creative team.
“This is the most Broadway, Broadway show I have ever been in,” featured actor nominee Gavin Creel said. “The design, Santo Loquasto designed a set and costumes that are unlike anything that I have ever seen on a stage.”
Creel is nominated for his role in “Hello, Dolly!” and describes the feeling when Midler descends that iconic staircase.
“The audience goes nuts, and when she comes down in that iconic red dress people lose their minds,” he said. “It reminds you that design is so important in the telling of the story. I still don’t believe it. I’m like the 20-year-old who is holding his equity card going where am I? Is this my life? Pretty lucky.”
Featured actress nominee Kate Baldwin says audiences give the cast a lift.
“Our audience has been off the charts enthusiastic,” she said. “So to have these nominations feels like an affirmation of sorts of what the audience is telling us every night.”
“Falsettos” is nominated for five Tonys. The musical is set in the 1980’s during the AIDS crisis, where family dynamics are heavily in play.
“I think even though the show was written some time ago, I think it really resonated with people in a different way,” featured actor Andrew Rannels said. “You know, the second act of the show deals directly with the AIDS crisis.”
“It’s about these flawed people with fractured relationships that they end up filling with gold,” featured actress Stephanie J. Block said.
Featured actor nominee Brandon Uranowitz attributes the show’s success to the chemistry between cast members from the start.
“It was a dream come true,” he said. “I have loved the show since I was a freshman in college and it has always been a dream.”
Two-time Tony winner Christian Borle is nominated as lead actor for his role in the revival.
“It’s incredible. So happy to be reunited with my sweet cast members,” he said.
Four cast members from the musical were nominated, in total.
In her first role on Broadway, Eva Noblezada leads the cast in the revival of “Miss Saigon.” She plays Kim, the young woman seeking a better life at the end of the Vietnam War.
“I think Kim’s a fighter,” she said. “I think she is a total, total fighter and she is strong. She’s… so many things about her that people can relate to.”
Noblezada continues, praising her cast.
“The fact that they can be amazing on and off the stage is encouraging and loving,” she said.
“Miss Saigon” is nominated for two Tony Awards.
The ceremony hosted by Kevin Spacey will air live on CBS2 at 8 p.m. Sunday.