Whether your shelves are already groaning with prizes or you’re up for your first big honor, it feels good to be nominated for a Tony Award. Here are edited excerpts from conversations with nominees on Tuesday.
The husband-and-wife duo are longtime collaborators (Tina Fey writes, Jeff Richmond composes music) and had previously worked together on projects with musical components. But “Mean Girls” represents their first attempt at a full-length musical — and Ms. Fey’s Broadway debut. It was nominated for 12 awards, including for Ms. Fey’s book and for the score, by Mr. Richmond and his collaborator Nell Benjamin. REGGIE UGWU
How does it feel to be sharing this moment?
TINA FEY It’s incredibly thrilling. I am just ecstatic that these nominations are coming to every department — they’re so well deserved. And I cannot lie: I cried a little bit in the middle of Equinox this morning, and not because my workout was too hard — I do not push myself at the gym.
JEFF RICHMOND I’m just happy for my wife because she so seldom gets any attention or recognition for things she does, so this is just great [laughter].
Tina, what is it about this nomination that’s affected you in a different way?
FEY Well, one, it takes five years to get a show up. And so you’re really, really invested in it, and it feels very personal. And two, it’s such a childhood dream. You go back to when you were a kid and going to see shows — getting a Playbill, dreaming of being in a Playbill some day.
The show went through some adjustments before you arrived at the version that was nominated. What was the breakthrough?
FEY I think it was the two months between our out-of-town tryout at the National Theater in Washington and rehearsal. All four of us got in a room and just were really bold about cutting and moving things around. We replaced five songs and added all of these book elements and tried to hone the story better.
I think the main thing we learned was that we weren’t feeling for our heroine as much. Even though she’s singing from front to back, we needed to adjust some scene work and lyrics and some songs to really get into her heart more.
Tina, this is your first experience on Broadway. On a scale of 1-10, how interested are you in returning right now?
FEY Oh, 10. I can’t wait to start something now that opens when I’m 57.