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Tony Awards: Powerhouse performers dominate nominees for Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Powerhouse performances dominate Tony nominations for Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Powerhouse performances dominate Tony nominations for Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Play 04:04

NEW YORK - Six powerhouse performers are vying for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play at the Tony Awards

Several of them you will likely recognize from their successes on television. CBS2's Dave Carlin sat down with the nominees who talk about the thrill of being on Broadway.

"Clydes" by Lynn Nottage is set in a sandwich shop where characters re-work the menu and reimagine their difficult lives. Cooking up the comedy and drama are two Tony nominees for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play Uzo Aduba and Kara Young. 

Aduba is the Emmy Award-winning star of TVs "Orange is the New Black." 

In the play, her character owns Clyde's.

"To me, she is someone who has had a life and dreams that she's felt herself crushed. And I think really what she's offering is tough love to everybody who comes in there," Aduba said. 

"Do you have any words of advice or just perspective for the next generation coming up?" Carlin asked.

"To keep going and to stay you. Stay yourself," Aduba said.

For Young, "Clyde's" is her first Broadway show, playing a character energetically bouncing back from a rocky past. 

"This world in which they're in, and then meeting at Clyde's sandwich shop. It's like the whole world. They are really trying not to fail, yet everything is failing them," Young said. 

Another show with a pair of nominees in this category is "POTUS" by Selina Fillinger, with an ensemble cast of very funny women. Nominated are Julie White, who won the 2007 Best Actress Tony for her role in "The Little Dog Laughed," and Rachel Dratch, who spent seven seasons on "Saturday Night Live" and is making her Broadway debut. 

White plays a White House chief of staff who hilariously goes overboard trying to protect the president. 

"I feel like my arms are linked with each woman in this company. They're so fantastic. And we're really, we really have a blast," White said. 

Dratch has a physical role playing a secretary who gets into all kinds of trouble. 

"Is 'POTUS' as much fun to do as it is for us to experience it?" Carlin asked

"It is," Dratch said. "My part is so fun, because I kind of get to do, like, everything I can ever imagine doing on stage." 

"The physicality is actually really, really fun," Dratch added. "So it's, I think people watching the show, women especially maybe, like, there's sort of, you know, group therapy aspect to the show, but while you're laughing the whole time. But I think it's kind of cathartic too."

Catharsis and joy also drive the kaleidoscopic Revival of Ntozake Shange's "for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf." 

Kenita R. Miller is nominated for her portrayal of the choreopoem's heartbroken and resilient Lady in Red. 

"I think what I found is not weighing in so much on the tragedy of it, but the healing of it, and knowing where I get to go at the end," Miller said. 

"Anything else you'd like to add about being nominated? You're a Tony nominee," Carlin asked. 

"I know. I think I'm still absorbing all of it," Miller said. "I've wanted this for so long... I want to absorb this to the max. So that's what I'm trying to push, challenge myself to do."

In Dominique Morisseau's "Skeleton Crew," Phylicia Rashad plays Faye, a longtime worker at a Detroit auto plant where layoffs put livelihoods on the line. A star of screen and stage, she won the Leading Actress Tony in 2004 for her triumph in that season's revival of "A Raisin in The Sun."

So many familiar and beloved stars in this one category, and all eyes will be on this race as we get closer to the big night. 


CBS2 is celebrating the 75th Annual Tony Awards with a streaming special!. 

Join Dana Tyler and Dave Carlin for a fun and informative conversation with some of this year's nominees ahead of the awards ceremony.  

"Broadway and Beyond: At the Tonys" streams Monday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m. on CBS News New York.  


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