Seven Questions About Tony Nominations, Gabey & Dance with On the Town Nominee Tony Yazbeck
May 6th, 2015
by Tony Yazbeck
Like Carol Channing & Dolly Levi and Yul Brynner & The King, Tony Yazbeck is Gabey in On the Town. He’s starred in John Rando’s production since its inception at Encores!, he won raves at Barrington Stage Company, he earned a 2015 Tony nomination for his performance in the Broadway revival, and he’s leading the musical’s upcoming national tour. Below, BroadwayBox chats with the first-time Tony nominee about the whirlwind awards process, how he sustains the physically-intense run, and the hashtag to sum up this wild year.
1. What’s been the most surprising part of the Tony nominee process so far?
Well… I never thought I’d be having a conversation with Bradley Cooper at 10 A.M. in the middle of a photo shoot.
Photo by Scott Feinberg/THR
2. Who was your first call?
3. What Tony Awards on-air performance is your ultimate #1?
The late, great Michael Jeter and the magnificent Brent Barrett in Grand Hotel, backed by a fantastic ensemble. The choreography—by director-choreographer and this year’s Tony Honoree Tommy Tune—was seemingly simple variations on The Charleston. But the number and dance steps build to an exhilarating climax of celebration that just makes you want to jump through the TV, up on the stage and join them. I think Michael Jeter’s sheer, unabashed joy could lift anybody’s soul.
4. What do you admire most about Gabey and what’s a piece of wisdom do you wish you could impart on him?
I admire Gabey’s naïve sense of wonder about the world and the people in it. He wears his heart on his sleeve, and isn’t afraid to express how he truly feels at any moment of the day. I love that. The advice I wish I could give him is this: when you feel a love so true, don’t doubt your instinct for a minute because every moment of doubt is just wasted time.
5. This show is so physically intense for you; how do you maintain and sustain? What rules do you have for yourself?
Physical therapy, massage therapy, chiropractor. No gluten. No dairy. I drink two full glasses of water every morning before speaking. At the theater, I’m continuously rolling out my muscles on my exercise roller. I’ve recently discovered Fire Cider. (Which is spruced up Apple Cider Vinegar). I take a shot of that every day after breakfast to boost my immune system. Every intermission, I take a supplement called Endura by MetaGenix, which is basically magnesium with other vitamins and minerals that reboot my muscles and get me fully charged for the demanding ballet ahead. After the show, I ice my knees, my ankles, my feet... and whatever else needs it. I use my theracane to press out knots. And I try to sleep as much as possible.
6. You and director John Rando have been in this together since Encores! What’s it been like to share this nominee experience with him? What did you guys say to each other on nomination day?
I was really excited when John’s name was called! His superb direction is the reason our show is so vibrant, alive, and fun. I thanked him over the phone that day for first giving me the chance to play Gabey at Encores! And to then grow and deepen the character at both Barrington and in its present Broadway incarnation. It's really great to have him and Josh by my side through all this!
7. If you had to describe your year from opening to Tony season in a hashtag, what would it be?
See Tony Yazbeck’s Tony-nominated performance as Gabey in ‘On the Town’ at Broadway’s Lyric Theatre.