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Tony Nominee Tom Hanks: I'm The 'Luckiest Man On The Planet'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Actor Tom Hanks really is feeling lucky, as the two-time Oscar winner is now a Tony nominee after his Broadway debut in the play, "Lucky Guy."

Hanks sat down on Wednesday with CBS 2's Dana Tyler to talk about his honor.

In the play, Hanks goes face-to-face with a gritty New York era and a legend. He plays Mike McAlary, the renowned reporter and columnist for Newsday and later the Daily News.

The play is nominated for six Tony Awards, including Best New Play, and Best Lead Actor for Hanks.

While Hanks has been in 44 films – from "Big" and "Forrest Gump" to "Philadelphia" and "The Green Mile" – this is his first time on Broadway, and he said doing eight shows a week is hard work.

"I've never done the rigors of this. This is sort of like, I feel like I've played good American Legion baseball, and now, suddenly, I'm playing left field for the Yankees," Hanks said.

Hanks' Tony nomination is bittersweet, as the play was the last by writer and close friend Nora Ephron. The playwright, who directed Hanks' 1993 blockbuster "Sleepless in Seattle," died in June.

"Even though all we hear is her words -- but we know exactly which ones are hers -- I can hear her voice over and over again, and I can hear her sensibility over the two hours of the course of the show," Hanks said. "So look, I miss her horribly. I wish she was here."

The ensemble cast of "Lucky Guy" portrays real-life New York news reporters and editors. The play spans the time period from 1985 to 1998, when, according to a notice for the play, "the city had become polarized between rich and poor, black and white, criminals and cops" and the environment was perfect for an aggressive and tough reporter looking to strike it big.

The man Hanks plays – McAlary -- won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing that Haitian immigrant Abner Louima had been sodomized by police officers while in custody the year before. McAlary died in 1998.

"To play a guy like Mike McAlary, who came with this, just, crushing, crushing, crushing, desire in order to find the stories, to get the stories, and live the life that goes along with that -- I was surprised it had as many emotions that I recognized, much like being an actor," Hanks said.

Hanks said while he has won a couple of Academy Awards, he characterized that time as "long ago, so long ago, before high def -- I'm being seen with such clarity now."

And now, Hanks is part of the Broadway community – what he calls his family at the Broadhurst Theatre on West 44th Street.

So does he feel like a lucky guy?

"That's an apt way of putting things," Hanks said. "My Lord, yeah – luckiest man on the planet."

Hanks said he enjoys live theatre. He said he can be sitting on the stage, and as the play is moving on, he can see the audience members moving their heads.

The actors follow the dialogue as Ephron intended, as if they are reading a juicy tabloid story.

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