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Tony Awards 2019: Rising Star Jeremy Pope Talks Rare Double Nomination

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- One of this year's Tony nominees is a rising star.

Jeremy Pope made a double Broadway debut this season, and now he's a double Tony nominee.

CBS2's Dave Carlin spoke to Pope on Monday about his rare honor.

He's 26 and a breakout star. Pope is nominated for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a play for his work in "Choir Boy," playing Pharus, a head-strong high school choir leader. He left that role on a Sunday and Monday was in tech rehearsals for "Ain't Too Proud -- The Life and Times of the Temptations."

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Jeremy Pope
Jeremy Pope (Photo: CBS2)

He also earned a rare second Tony nomination in the same season -- best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical for his portrayal of Eddie Kendricks, the Temptations' falsetto-voiced founding member.

This two-fer is so unusual, it's only happened at the Tonys five times before.

"They gave me two pins today and was I said, 'Really? Are you joking?' It's just incredible," Pope told Carlin.

Pope said it was a high school production of "Cats" in his native Orlando, Florida that changed his life.

"Freshman year, I had to choose between running track and the school musical, which was Cats. My dad, we had tights, neon orange, which he helped me spray paint," Pope said. "And then I got the theater bug."

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Arriving in New York City right after high school, his first professional audition here was Choir Boy. It was 2013. He was in it off Broadway and then it transferred.

"Choir Boy changed my life," Pope said.

And it led him to "Ain't Too Proud," and the exhausting work of preparing for the next role while still in the other.

"This season feels like the college showcase I never got. I'll do a little bit of scene work in Choir Boy and watch me dance and sing in Ain't Too Proud," Pope said.

Ain't Too Proud's director, Des McAnuff, is a big fan.

"I think Jeremy is going to have a really eclectic career," McAnuff said.

Carlin also spoke to Ain't Too Proud's book writer Dominique Morisseau.

"He's a photographer. He's a model. He's a marketer. He's a creative thinker outside of being an incredible performer," Morisseau said of Pope.

Pope said his artistic passion projects keep him balanced and fulfilled, no matter where his career goes. As for his two nominations, here's how he hopes people react to them:

"They're for the young artist out there, the young black kid out there, who needed to feel, needed to see that it's tangible," Pope said.

Pope's advice is to reach for the stars.

James Corden hosts this year's Tony Awards. You can watch it live on Sunday, June 9 on CBS2.

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