As of July 21, Ilana Levine expands her family of podcasts with the new 10-episode series And the Award Goes To... in association with Alan Seales and the Broadway Podcast Network.
In her signature fashion, Levine hosts intimate conversations with beloved Tony winners as they share the behind-the-scenes journeys of what led to their wins and what happened after their lifelong dreams came true. Listen as these artists travel down memory lane and share never-before-heard—and sometimes shocking—details about their winning night.
In the episode Levine learns how LuPone broke her toe the day before the Tonys—which led to the construction of a special shoe just to get her through her pre-Tony performances and the Awards—plus, the Mama Rose chronicles the tumultuous and ultimately successful relationship between her and Gypsy scribe Arthur Laurents.
Subsequent episodes feature Tony winners James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin), Karen Olivo (West Side Story), 2019 Isabelle Stevenson Award recipient and two-time winner Judith Light (The Assembled Parties, Other Desert Cities), Nikki M. James (The Book of Mormon), Norbert Leo Butz (Catch Me If You Can, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Cynthia Nixon (The Little Foxes, Rabbit Hole), BD Wong (M. Butterfly), John Benjamin Hickey (The Normal Heart), and Laura Benanti (Gypsy).
“We start by listening to their acceptance speech and, in most cases, it's not something they've either heard since the night or very rarely since it happened,” Levine tells Playbill. “That has been the greatest launching pad for a conversation.”
The 30-minute episodes then go backwards to how the performer got the role, their work on the project, all the way through winning the trophy and what happens when you wake up the next day officially a Tony winner.
“Every single person, the twists and turns, and how complicated it is for every single person is so wild to hear,” Levine continues. “But they have this moment where the entire community said, ‘We love you.’”
Levine came up with the idea to honor the Tonys and the people who’ve won them when the 2020 Awards were canceled due to the coronavirus shutdown. “[I thought] it would be a wonderful way to celebrate the artists who have created work that has been so meaningful for so many, especially during this unprecedented time,” she says. “It was so humbling for me to get to have these in-depth and eye-opening conversations with people who I treasure and who we all are looking forward to seeing back on stage as soon as it is safe.”
Levine is best known to musical theatre fans for her comedic turn as Lucy Van Pelt in the Broadway revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. She also starred in the Broadway productions of Jake's Women, Wrong Mountain and The Last Night of Ballyhoo and has also performed on the Tony Awards broadcast. In 2016, she started her podcast Little Known Facts With Ilana Levine; in 2019, she became the co-host, along with Sam Maher, of the podcast How To Be More Chill, also from the Broadway Podcast Network.