"A Beautiful Tony Sunday": Broadway Actor Douglas Lyons Blogs About His First Tony Awards

By Douglas Lyons
10 Jun 2014

Lyons with Tony-winning castmate Jessie Mueller

Our lovely producers set up a television in our theatre's lobby so we could watch the telecast before we performed. Hugh Jackman's opening was so clever! He really showed Broadway that he's a song-and-dance man this year. And, After Midnight… I mean Fantasia, Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight — enough said. For the next hour and a half we all repeated the steps to get ready, loaded onto the bus and, at 9:35 PM, we were off.

This time, once we arrived at Radio City, we sat on our bus for a little while before being brought backstage into a stairwell to wait. Moments later we were "on deck" awaiting our turn while Wicked was performing (cue tears). Before the commercial break there was a TV shot with Hugh Jackman and Jessie near the piano. I really had no idea what the shot was, but we were told to act, and so I did my best "back-ting" (back-acting) that I could.

Now, Stage Right we got to watch Hugh Jackman perform with LL Cool J and T.I. My mouth was agape because I had somehow missed this part in dress rehearsal. I kept looking at the TV screen then to my left at the stage to see if my mind was playing tricks on me, but it wasn't. THIS WAS REAL! LL Cool J and T.I. exited on Stage Right and gave us all hellos and high fives.

Carole King appeared again, introducing us, and before I knew it I was on the lip of the Radio City stage, in front of 6,000 people, shaking my booty with the "Earth moving under my feet." We could feel the electricity from the audience; it's something I will never forget.

We all rushed back to the bus in an effort to get back to our lobby telecast to see Jessie's category be announced. We made it back to the theatre with a commercial break to spare and gathered around the TV. When she won, the entire cast erupted in tears, cheers and champagne.

Lyons and Lillias

I got dressed and headed to the after party where I met my date, Tony Award winner Lillias White. Lillias and I have become very close this year because my writing partner, Ethan Pakchar, and I are developing a new musical for her as the star.

The party was pure joy. A round of thunderous applause came when Jessie Mueller entered the room. The whole cast was rooting for her, so it was incredible to see her come out on top.

By 2:30 AM I was still reeling and full of food and happy. The night ended with a hug and a kiss from Lillias and a cab ride home to take it all in. It was a full night of Broadway, and I honestly will never get enough of it. Congrats to all the winners and nominees of 2014 and to my family at Beautiful.

The next time I appear at the Tony Awards, I want to be nominated for Best Score with Lyons & Pakchar. Yesterday proved that my dreams aren't "So Far Away."

(Douglas Lyons has also performed in The Book of Mormon and writes alongside Ethan Pakchar. Follow Douglas and Lyons & Pakchar on Twitter at @DouglasSings and @LyonsandPakchar.)