Interview with 2-time Tony nominee Andrew Rannells
We caught up with two-time Tony Award nominee Andrew Rannells at the Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards, picking up his trophy for "Favorite Featured Actor In A Musical" for his most recent Broadway role of Whizzer in the acclaimed revival of James Lapine & William Finn's Falsettos. The Tony-nominated production ended its limited engagement at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre on January 8, 2017.
Andrew earned Tony nominations in 2011 for originating the role of Elder Price in The Book of Mormon and is currently nominated for Falsettos. His other Broadway credits include Hamilton, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Jersey Boys and his Broadway debut in Hairspray.
He is also known to TV audiences for his role as Elijah Krantz on Girls, whilst other notable screen credits include The Intern, The New Normal and Bachelorette. He has also worked extensively in the world of animation, providing voice work for such franchises as Pokémon, Chaotic and Street Sharks.
Thomas Hayden Millward: Congratulations on your Audience Choice win, Andrew, and on your Tony nomination, of course! Is it surreal to be one of the people going through Awards Season right now and not having to do eight shows a week at the same time? Or is that quite a nice treat?
Andrew Rannells: It’s a nice treat, yes. ‘Surreal’ is not the word. The only time I’ve been through this [Awards] season before was doing ‘The Book of Mormon’ and I was going through eight shows a week, whilst doing this exciting process. But there’s a lot of running around and extra activity on top of eight shows a week. So, not doing Falsettos, as much as I miss the show, it’s nice to not have to worry about singing that score eight times a week.
THM: Now, in my predictions for the Tony Awards, I just went with my heart and picked both your good self and Stephanie J. Block to win in your respective categories…
AR: Ahhh, thanks so much man!
THM: …How do you fare your own chances?
AR: I don’t know. These awards are sort of anyone’s guess. I don’t think there’s ever a science or a lot of reason behind it sometimes. I think the nomination part of it is the thing that I’m most excited about – to be included and remembered since closing the show in January. I’m very proud and happy about that.
THM: When will we get to see you on Broadway next? And is there any particular dream roles you’d like to do?
AR: I mean there’s a long list of shows I would love to do! But everything takes forever. It’s not like they can ask: “Hey, what are you doing next year?” Theatres for next year are already gone. “What you doing in 2020? You wanna do a musical?” You have to plan that far out. I suppose I’ve got to get on that!
THM: There seem to be more and more live musicals broadcast on television these days. Would that be something you would be interested in?
AR: Only if it was actually live. I don’t think anybody has really cracked that code yet because there’s not really an audience and you don’t have the same energy of it being a live performance. You have a sort of studio performance that doesn’t have the reaction of the audience. I would love to see one done with an audience. Film it in a proscenium and do it with a live crowd. I feel that’s the missing element to those so far. Live theatre – the reason it’s exciting is because you are doing everything in front of a crowd. It adds so much energy and excitement to it. I would love to see them crack that!
THM: Well, you certainly cracked the role of Whizzer in Falsettos, Andrew. Your performance honestly moved me to tears when I saw it. How emotionally draining was it to play Whizzer?
AR: It was a lot! It was a very emotional show to do. It was quite a story that we got to tell every night. But I have to say that once it started and all of the pieces started to fall into place, there was never any trouble finding emotion because the show is so well-written and so well-crafted that we just had to get it started and go along for the ride. All the other work sort of fell into place afterwards.
THM: We wipe the tears away and tomorrow’s another day!