Jude LawThe 2010 Tony Awards will celebrate Broadway’s finest on June 13. This year is unique in the fact that Broadway’s best are also some of film and television’s most entertaining. With stars ranging from Denzel Washington to Kelsey Grammer and Christopher Walken, the evening promises to be intriguing for fans of entertainment.

TheImproper caught up with some of the event’s biggest nominees.

Jude Law, Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Play (Hamlet)

“It’s really, really thrilling to be nominated. I thought Hamlet was on the wrong side of January, to be honest. Basically, to survive the run it became a very personal and physical journey. We were thrilled to do well in London, and then thrilled to do well in Denmark, and really thrilled to succeed here, but we were done and dusted, and sort of put the thing to bed in December. So now all these months later to be recognized is really, really good.”

On one of many great actors who have played Hamlet: “I don’t know, I never really thought of it like that. I suppose there are an awful lot of awful actors as well probably who have played Hamlet, too, aren’t there?” (laughs)

On the personality that he gave to the role: “You have to be Hamlet. Hamlet isn’t a role, he becomes you. I think that’s why each version is ultimately very different, because he kind of demands of you that you open yourself up to him. I think what I liked about him was ultimately his complexity between loving life and hating it all at the same time.”

On the challenges of playing Hamlet: “For me personally it was always physical. Eating the right things, sleeping the right amount, and being able to just get through eight shows per week for six months.”

On leaving the character at the end of the day: “It’s like a purge, you go to work and kind of get everything out, and then at the end of the day you’ve actually got nothing else left to give. What you miss when you finish doing the run is that purge. You suddenly realize you’ve got all this stuff in your head that you’ve got to carry around with you, and you’ve got no outlet for it.”

On his family’s reaction to his nomination: “I called my dad, and he kept asking ‘Tony? Tony who?’”

Sheryl-KallerSheryl Kaller, Best Direction of a Musical (Next Fall)

[Playwrite] Jeff [Nauffts’] play is just the greatest honor and joy to work on. And to be able to show my daughters that you can be a mom and do this at the same time. Sometimes I’m not so great on either end, but when you can get to this point it’s an honor.”

“I think to be acknowledged as Best Director for the ensemble cast for this beautiful play is the best part. I think that Geoffrey wrote a great American play. It’s about faith and it’s about relationships, and it’s about family. When I was a kid I would watch the Tonys with my mother, and I can’t believe I’m going to be in Radio City Musical Hall, so all that is surreal and wonderful and an honor. We’re the little engine that could. I can’t believe I’m sitting here really.”

Geoffrey Nauffts, Best Play (author, Next Fall)

On the move from Off-Broadway to Broadway: “Next Fall sort of lives free as if this is an opportunity to go back and explore and really hit the moments that maybe never necessarily landed completely. It was a really invaluable experience, and a luxury to go back in there having it already in our bones. The actors already had it in their bones, but the play just resonates on a deeper level.”

Jessica Hecht, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play (A View From the Bridge)

On how she learned of her nomination: “I was walking with my daughter to this synagogue with her fifth grade class to do an immigration study, so I thought, ‘I’m slightly rude for not watching the 28 ten year olds.’ I was so elated. I thought, ‘I’m supposed to be very Zen and not care about anything.’ But I’m human, right? I feel so happy to be part of a community that I always aspire to be part of. You spend your whole career thinking, ‘If I only could do something with those people, if I could only work with those people.’ And then you get to, or you get acknowledged in the same breath, it just makes you feel really good.”

Valerie_harperValerie Harper, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play (Looped)

On whether or not she’s Improper: “I can be! Tallulah [Bankhead] was big time. Ooooh boy, was she improper. And she was totally elegant and a lady at the same time. She was this bawdy broad, terrible toilet mouth, unbelievable bad language, and yet elegant. She was at home with Prince Philip , or anybody else. There was an amazing dichotomy in that human being.”

On similarities between herself and Ms. Bankhead: “We’re both actresses. I love the theater, she adored the theater. That’s our biggest similarity. We don’t have any of the same quirks. She was a heavy smoker, I don’t smoke. I never drank. She loved bourbon. I don’t do drugs, she did cocaine, she took codeine, and other pharmaceuticals, lots of pills, a lot of mood-altering. She was an addict, and I am not, except for brownies and pizza, and any crusty bread. We have a similar enough structure. That helped me a lot because her eyes went down, and her mouth went down.”

“We were devastated that Looped closed. And now, it’s Phoenix out of the ashes. This nomination is acknowledging it. We’re doing it in Toronto for ten weeks. It may come back to New York, you never know. I don’t know that New York has had enough of Tallulah.”

“If I could talk to Tallulah today I would say, ‘Thank you for living this extraordinary, outrageous life that I could then get the privilege of playing on Broadway.’ And I’d also say, ‘Don’t be guilty, you didn’t cause Mom’s death, you were just an infant.’ And she did, she felt guilt about that. She said, ‘I have nothing to be guilty of.’ But who would say that? What person would say, ‘I didn’t feel guilty about my mother dying in childbirth?’ But, she did. I want to hold her hand and say, ‘Taloo, let it go. It wasn’t your fault.’”

Kelsey Grammer, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (La Cage aux Folles)

On whether or not he is Improper in La Cage aux Folles: “I’m definitely improper at times, both on and offstage!” (laughs)

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