What Is It Like Winning a Tony Award?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Larry and Melissa Hirschhorn

Updated June 9, 2014, at 9:25 a.m.

Earning a Tony Award nomination never gets old -- even for a veteran producer like Larry Hirschhorn '80, Parent '16, who scored a sixth nomination as a co-producer of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.

So how did he react when he heard the news?

"I screamed, like I usually do," Larry said. "[I was] watching it on TV with my wife . . . I kept getting texts from people that I ignored, because I was trying to count how many nominations we were getting. I lost track after seven or eight, and found out afterwards it was ten! Amazing."

Indeed, the musical comedy was up for more awards than any other production at this year's ceremony, held June 8 at New York's Radio City Music Hall. It won the Tonys for best musical, best book of a musical (Robert L. Freedman), best direction (Darko Tresnjak), and best costume design (Linda Cho). It was also nominated for best original score, best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical (twice!), best performance by an actresss in a featured role in a musical, best orchestrations, and best scenic design .

Larry Hirschhorn (seen here on a recent trip to Alaska with his wife, Melissa, Parent '16) is no stranger to the Tony Awards. He was the lead producer of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which took home the 2013 Tony for best play and was nominated in every major acting category, as well as for best director. He also previously won a Tony as a co-producer of the revival of Hair in 2009.

Having earned a B.F.A. in acting at Ithaca College in 1980, Larry says that producing was not something he even "vaguely considered" as an undergraduate -- yet IC taught him skills that still serve him today as a leader in the Broadway business world. "Ithaca helped me by teaching me to take charge of my own destiny -- not sit around waiting for things to happen," he said.

Larry helped return the favor by serving as co-chair of the campaign for Ithaca College's Dillingham Center, which ended in 2010 having raised over $837,000 from alumni, parents, and friends to help fund major renovations to the building. Improvements included two new acting studios, a new costume shop, and a completely refurbished lobby.

"Those four years were four of the best in my life," he said about his undergraduate days. "It was like working for a wonderful repertory theatre (without getting paid) . . . and now I'm thrilled that my daughter, Jessie, is a sophomore acting major and experiencing the same joy I did when I was there."

IC Alumni in Tony-Nominated Productions

So many IC theatre arts alumni work on Broadway, it's almost inevitable that they will be involved in productions that are nominated for Tony Awards each year.

This year, the following alumni are part of these nominated productions:

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
Larry Hirschhorn '80, producer [see above]
Rachel Zack '03, stage management

After Midnight
Doug Gaeta '02, assistant company manager

Aladdin
Adam Kaokept '02, performer

If/Then
Joe Aaron Reid '05, performer

Rocky
McBrien Dunbar '00, automation technician

Violet
Carly DiFulvio Adams '07, company manager

In addition, the Tony Awards Nominating Committee for the 2014-2015 season includes lighting designer Paul Gallo '74 as a member.

Are we missing your name? Please send an email to cpollock@ithaca.edu with your full name, graduation year, and details of the production you're affiliated with.