This Year's Tony Nominees Can't Wait to Meet Helen Mirren
An American in Paris actress Leanne Cope (at center, photo below) may have a starring role in one of this season's most buzzed-about Broadway shows, but, like many of her fresh-faced theater colleagues, she still fan-girls out over seasoned vets. "I get starstruck very easily," she told InStyle at last night's Tony Honors Cocktail Party at the Diamond Horseshoe at the Paramount Hotel in N.Y.C., where this year's crop of nominees gathered to toast the show's annual special award recipients. "I'm probably going to spend the majority of my evening nudging the person next to me and going, 'Is that Helen Mirren?'"
Cope was far from the only one to go wild over the Dame. "She's such a queen," says Emily Skeggs, who was doing a drive-by at the party before taking the stage later that night as title character Alison Bechdel in Fun Home. "I have to try and sneak in and meet her before I leave!" Once the Mirren fandom died down (ultimately, people realized she was, unfortunately, not in attendance), guests including Geneva Carr, Lydia Leonard, and Sarah Stiles (pictured above) mingled with each other over champagne and mango-infused cosmopolitans, trading stage stories and posing for selfies with their co-stars and loved ones (pictured below, On the Twentieth Century star Andy Karl and his wife, Orfeh).
The boisterous crowd simmered down as soon as the evening's announcements began. Scenic artist Arnold Abramson, publicist Adrian Bryan-Brown, and technician Gene O'Donovan each received a Tony Honor for Excellence in Theater, while three other honorees received special awards, including composer Stephen Schwartz, Cleveland Play House, and actors Tommy Tune and John Cameron Mitchell, who each garnered a resounding applause from the room. "It makes my heart beat faster and my feet tap," Tune said of his win. Mitchell, meanwhile, took his in stride. "Now I can kick back 'til Sunday, because I already won!" he joked.
The Tony Awards air Sunday, June 7 at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.