Judy Kuhn’s performance in the Broadway production of Fun Home has been one of the most talked-about of the current theatrical season. To hear Kuhn tell it, however, the only thing people are really chattering about are the upcoming 69th annual Tony Awards.
“It seems like that’s all anyone’s ever talking about,” the four-time nominee says with a laugh. And despite her full-time job at Fun Home, she admits to being a bit caught up in the rumpus herself.
“It’s definitely keeping me busy,” she says. “This is the first day in a while I haven’t had something related to the show or award season to do—until right now!”
Here, Kuhn—who this year is up for the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical—explains how she’s preparing for the big day, and beyond.
Fun Home is in its second life now with a Broadway run. How are you enjoying that?
Oh, God, so much. More than I could’ve possibly imagined. And I already imagined that I would love it. But it just feels so at home at Circle in the Square, and I think all of us feel that way and I don’t think any of us could’ve really imagined that we’d feel more at home there. It’s been really special.
Do you have to do a lot of getting ready to do for the Tonys? Are you out there looking for a dress, picking out a hair color and getting a spray tan?
A spray tan? That hadn’t occurred to me, but I am getting help with the dress. That’s always a huge pressure off, when someone’s helping you with that.
It’s a big thing this year, the Tonys are supposed to be upping their glam game.
The theater is trying to be a little bit more like Hollywood, for better or for worse. I think anything that brings more attention to the shows that are running in New York is a good thing in the long run, but people can get kind of crazy about it all. I’m trying to keep my equilibrium.
Have you figured out the snacks you’re going to pack in your purse?
I haven’t really thought about it so much yet. But I am thinking about packing some kind of a snack, because I know that the telecast lasts until about 11 PM and I don’t know how long between meals it’ll be. I also want to make that sure whatever shoes I wear, I can stand in for a while, because you have to do a lot of standing up.
Do you test everything out first to make sure it doesn’t just look good but also works for a long night of festivities?
When I was trying dresses, anytime I’d put on one that I’d like, they’d say, ‘OK, do the sit-down test,’ which hadn’t occurred to me. But, of course, you’d have to comfortably sit in your dress, because you also sit for a long time. But the most important things that I’m bringing to the Tonys are my husband and my daughter.
On top of all of this, you’ve got a new album— Rodgers, Rodgers & Guettel—out in early June. How do you have time for all this?
The recording is music drawn from a concert I did in February at Lincoln Center, celebrating the music of Richard Rogers, his daughter Mary Rodgers and her son Adam Guettel, so it’s a century of American song that came from one family, which is kind of extraordinary. We went in the studio to record it with the same band and everything, and we did that a couple of days before the rehearsals for Fun Home started. It was very fun and easy for the most part. As easy as it can be.
Now, if you do take home the Tony, where will you be keeping it?
I don’t think about stuff like that! Maybe on a shelf in my office.