What’s so special about the world of Broadway, anyway? As Hamilton’s Leslie Odom, Jr. simply put it, a musical or play’s live display of in-your-face drama, spiraling plot lines, and raw, unedited talent is something “you can’t get anywhere else.” There’s also the sensational feeling that comes with stepping foot inside a decades-old Theatre District venue, just moments after scoring big-time inside the beloved TKTS discount booths of New York’s Times Square.
That sense of excitement, plus a passion for singing, acting, writing, and directing, is exactly what moved this year’s diverse batch of Tony Award nominees to hop aboard the performance train. Interestingly enough, there are actors, including Danielle Brooks, who currently star in the latest production of the first show they ever watched live. “That really did inspire me to say, ‘I want to take this seriously,’ and ended up going to conservatory for school and everything,” Brooks, who’s nominated for her role in The Color Purple, told InStyle of seeing the show a decade ago.
VIDEO: Stars Walk The red Carpet at The Tonys
To capture the inspired mood of this year’s top nominees and past Tony winners, photographer Maurizio Bavutti snapped individual and group portraits of the stars. The result is a stunning portfolio of funny and dramatic images that shine, complemented with equally funny and dramatic stories of many of the stars’ first memories of Broadway.
Click through to see all of the standout shots and find out what the stars will never forget.