Michael Arden was standing underneath an awning on 40th Avenue and 3rd Street this morning as it rained in New York City.
It was there he found out he’d been nominated for his first Tony Award for directing the musical Spring Awakening.
‘it’s been a wild day,’ he tells Gay Star News.
‘I was trying to watch the livestream (of the nominations announcement) and the phone died just as the musical revival category came on. It died right then. I got it going again and just before best director, it stopped again. But then I started getting texts so I was told by friends and loved ones and cast members what happened.’
What happened was Spring Awakening, which ran on Broadway from September 2015 through late January, was nominated for Best Revival of a Musical and Arden nominated for best direction of a musical.
Also nominated was Ben Stanton for best lighting design.
‘I was just over the moon,’ Arden says.
‘It’s so rare that a show is nominated after it’s closed. I think there was a secret part of me hoping we’d be remembered but it’s not the freshest in people’s minds. But the show was nominated and Ben for lighting design and it is really, really exciting. It’s a testament to the work everyone did.’
The show had very humble beginnings in a 99-seat theater in downtown Los Angeles with Arden using some of his won furniture for the set.
It then transferred to the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills then went on to Broadway. It begins a national tour this fall.
The musical about lost innocence and the struggles of youth is performed simultaneously in American Sign Language and spoken English by a cast of 27.
‘I’m just so proud of this company who against all odds made this piece of theater that made a lasting impact on people. I could not be more proud,’ Arden says.
The director and actor is engaged to Broadway and television performer Andy Mientus and has been to the Tonys before – but never as a nominee.
‘My first time I was Lea Michele’s date when Spring Awakening won the first time. This time I won’t be a plus one.’
So what was Arden doing underneath an awning this morning anyway?
‘I was waiting for the Jitney (bus to Hamptons) to check out the wing space at Baystreet Theatre for a show (My Fair Lady) I’m directing there this summer.’
Always on the the next project but he does promise to celebrate later.