30 Seconds With… Tom Hanks and Other Tony Nominees

In this weekly featureWCBS culture critic Jim Taylor shares 30 seconds with the theatre stars and upstarts of NYC. From Broadway to Off-off, Jim tracks down the talent and gets them to spill just enough for our collectively shortened attention spans.

As we’re just days away from the Tony Awards, in the New York theatre community it’s one party after another. At a recent gathering we had the opportunity to chat up a few nominees, including Judith Light, Tom Hanks, and Rob McClure, who gave one of the most well-crafted performances of the year as Charlie Chaplin. He’s enjoying all the pre-Tony buzz and hype.

Rob McClure: It’s been a crazy couple of weeks! Doing [Chaplin: The Musical] meant a lot to a lot of people. It’s been a special time in my life to get to do that show and that role. There were hundreds of people I met in tears, profoundly moved by the show. And it was an honor and pleasure to bring it to them.

Jim Taylor: You spent years developing this role. Will Charlie Chaplin always be part of you?

RM: I don’t know that it will ever go away. I spent three years immersed in that aesthetic. It now means so much to me, I don’t know [that] I will ever lose it. It shaped a lot of who I am now. His legacy is something that I hope will live through me for a long time.

JT: Tom Hanks, who proves he can walk the boards in Lucky Guy. Nice moustache, Mr. Hanks.

Tom Hanks: Oh well, you know…

JT: Your wife has said you’re a force of nature… on stage.

TH: I’m glad she added “on stage” ’cause when it comes from the wife, I don’t know what “force of nature” could mean.

JT: You’re enjoying the Broadway experience?

TH: It’s fabulous, yeah. It’s a full-bore sensory experience, 24 hours a day.

JT: Judith Light, you were lovely in The Assembled Parties.

Judith Light: Oh thank you, I am so happy to be in it. I so love playwright Richard Greenberg and this play. And it is quite extraordinary — we have just been extended through July 6th. The audiences are really loving it. The play is so beautiful.

JT: Jerry Mitchell, producer of the monster hit Kinky Boots. Thirteen nominations!

Jerry Mitchell: How about that? Thirteen nominations in the year 2013… I think it’s meant to be. I knew that if we could land the heart of this story, it would roll, and it seems to be rolling across New York, and people are digging it.

The Tony Awards air this Sunday night at 8pm EST on CBS, with one of our favorite hosts, Neil Patrick Harris.