First Time at the Tonys? 11 Expert Awards Show Tips From Chita Rivera, Andrew Rannells, Jessica Lange

5:00 AM 6/9/2016

by Ashley Lee

THR gets advice from the accolade masters on wardrobes, workouts and when to fangirl the ceremony's biggest guests.

Chita Rivera 2015 Tonys Getty H 2016
Getty Images

Chita Rivera 2015 Tonys Getty H 2016

  • Jessie Mueller

    "Try to get a lot of sleep the night before. If you’re in a musical, you get up at the buttcrack of dawn, do the Tonys rehearsal, go to your Sunday matinee, get dolled up for the red carpet, go backstage and get into your costume to perform, then you get back into your red carpet outfit for the rest of the show. It’s a wonderful day, but a big day."

  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson

    "I always find that exercising in the early part of the day is a good idea. A SoulCycle class or a jog at 10 a.m. or something. Then, eat before the show. Sometimes, before the Emmys, we order pizza — at that point, a slice isn’t going to affect how you fit into your tuxedo."

  • Jessica Lange

    "It’ll be my first time at the Tony Awards as well! But from other awards shows, I’ve learned to wear something comfortable, because you’re gonna be sitting for a long time."

  • Jane Krakowski

    "This one is for the nominees: bring a good friend that you enjoy seeing after your category, whether you’ve won or lost. You gotta think about after that award too!"

  • Laura Benanti

    "Eat beforehand and bring snacks — it's a long show!"

  • Judith Light

    "Give yourself time to talk to the press. They’re your friend! Walk the red carpet, answer questions and be part of it. The media is as much part of the Tonys as you are, and they’re getting your message out for you."

  • Danny Burstein

    "Don’t go to the bar during the show, for fear that if you did and you win, you’ll be plastered. It’s the Tony Awards after all, not the Golden Globes."

  • Andrew Rannells

    "There’s no need to be nervous about your performance. Yes, it’s live TV, but the nice thing about performing is it’s your show, something you already do eight times a week."

  • Andrea Martin

    "Whenever you’re backstage, take a moment to say hi to your fellow actors and performers. What makes this awards show so different is it really is a small community, so it just feels like a friendly, intimate gathering. It’s strangely non-competitive."

  • Christopher Fitzgerald

    "It’s very bright and exciting when you walk inside, and then there are these weird moments when everything just stops and it’s a commercial break. That’s the most fun part: go talk to your friends and walk up to people you’ve always wanted to meet. You have permission."

  • Chita Rivera

    "Remember to be present and enjoy it. Be very happy and grateful to be there. Don’t forget those moments. Store those great feelings away."