NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As we count down to the Tony Awards, we’re shining the light on five women nominated as featured actresses.
Amber Gray is “Persephone” in the new musical “Hadestown.” Based on Greek mythology, the new show is nominated for 14 Tonys, and Gray is basking in its glow as a first-time nominee.
“I love doing new shows, that’s always sort of been my artistic turn on and my bread and butter in the last few years,” she told CBS2. “It’s so fun working on new characters… It’s very healing to do every day.”
“Tootsie” is one of several new shows this season based on a popular movie. Santino Fontana plays the actor who can’t get a job until he pretends to be a woman.
The show has 11 nominations, including a nod for Lilli Cooper as a featured actress in the musical comedy.
“That’s I think the heart of the show is it’s so funny, but it’s also just about these people that we can relate to, especially as actors,” she said. “It’s really meta being actors playing actors and having a show within a show. It’s just so fun.”
Cooper’s co-star Sarah Stiles is also nominated in the same category.
“I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to do anything else after this show, because the amount of love that we get every night is crazy,” she said. “I’ve never experienced audience reactions like that so consistently.”
There’s no stopping Ali Stroker, who’s nominated in the musical revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “OKLAHOMA!” Stroker was paralyzed from the chest down when she was in a car accident as a child. This is her second Broadway show and she’s paving her own path to success.
“You never stop learning, you never stop growing, you never stop looking up to people,” she said. “To be nominated alongside Mary Testa – she’s a Broadway legend, she’s someone who I’ve looked up to for years.”
Testa, who plays “Aunt Eller,” says this “OKLAHOMA!” offers Broadway fans a different view of the beloved musical.
“Well, nothing has changed, the script is exactly the same. So it is eye-opening because the themes, the flawed themes of human beings are in this script very deeply,” she said.
“OKLAHOMA!” is nominated for eight Tonys. So what’s it like getting acclaim for hard work?
“It’s always wonderful and it’s always very deeply gratifying to be recognized,” said Testa.
“I had so many people to call. It was very surreal,” Cooper said.
“It feels awesome,” said Gray.
“We’re just swimming in gold right now. It feels great,” Stiles said.
“I thought maybe this would only just ever be a dream, and now it’s a reality,” said Stroker.