Monday, November 5, 2012

Ten Tony Winners Talk About The Importance of Voting

I vote (and you should, too) because I recognize that it is both a privilege and a responsibility to do so.  I want my voice to be heard.  I want to know that I am honoring all who came before me who FOUGHT for me to be able to make my voice and conscience count. I believe in the collective consciousness that we share - but we must use every opportunity to express what comes through us as individuals. And what better way to do that than to say, "I believe in this person to represent me, to guide and govern our town, region, city, state, country forward towards being the best it can be..." My vote speaks volumes; together with others, it makes decisions that define our lifetimes.

Donna Murphy is a two-time Tony Award winner for Broadway's Passion and The King and I, and has received additional Tony nominations for Wonderful Town, LoveMusik, The People in the Picture. An Emmy and Cable Ace Award winner, she currently stars in PBS's Mercy Street, and is soon to appear in Hello, Dolly! on Broadway. @DMurphyOfficial

I vote because I'm not a white, Christian, heterosexual male. 
America is my country and my vote is my voice. 

Actor, playwright and librettist Harvey Fierstein is a four-time Tony Award-winner for Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage aux Folles and Hairspray, and an additional Tony nominee for his work on Kinky Boots and Newsies. He is also an Emmy Award winner whose many TV and film appearances include Torch Song Trilogy, Bullets Over Broadway, Mrs. Doubtfire, Death to Smoochy, Mulan and Independence Day, Nurse Jackie, How I Met Your Mother, The Simpsons and Cheers. @harveyfierstein

When I step into the voting booth, I am filled with emotion. The act of voting is really quite sacred to me. I know that people have fought and died for this privilege, and that it is my responsibility to see that these patriots did not fight and, perhaps, die in vain. I am fulfilling the most basic duty of citizenship, and it makes me proud.

Judy Kaye received Tony Awards for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for both Phantom of the Opera and Nice Work If You Can Get It, and an additional Tony nominee for Mamma Mia! and Souvenir.

I'm voting because I can.  I don't like the feeling that something might have changed, something might have mattered, if only I had done one thing – the one thing I can do in this election is vote, and so I'm going to do it. 

In California, while the presidential election is (like New York) not much in question, there are a number of propositions on the ballot that need the support of liberals and urban dwellers like myself. There are also senators and representatives, not to mention judges, who I am going to be living with for a long time, so I might as well have some say now in how they get elected. 

— Composer, lyricist and playwright Jason Robert Brown received three Tony Awards, for Parade and The Bridges of Madison County, and an additional nomination for Urban Cowboy. His additional Off-Broadway and Broadway success include 13, Honeymoon in Vegas and The Last Five Years. @MrJasonRBrown

After too many years of not engaging in political discussions,  I became an American this year.  
Very moving and long overdue.  
And I voted.  
Very moving and long overdue.  

— Toronto-born Joanna Gleason received Drama Desk and Tony Awards for her performance in Into the Woods, additional nominations A Day in the Death of Joe Egg and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. In addition, she received Drama Desk Awards for her performances in It's Only A Play and Social Security Off-Broadway. Her many film appearances include Hannah and Her Sisters, Heartburn, Crimes and Misdemeanors,  Mr. Holland's Opus and Boogie Nights. @TheRealJGleason

It's one of my rights as an American citizen... If you don't vote, you can't complain.

Karen Ziemba received Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her portrayal of "The Wife" in Contact and additional Tony nominations for Curtains , Never Gonna DanceSteel Pier and a Drama Desk Award for And the World Goes 'Round. Film and TV appearances include The Producers, Once More With Feeling, Scrubs, all three Law and Order series, The Kennedy Center Honors and PBS’ Great Performances.

The only VOTE that does not count is a VOTE not cast.
Here's to LIBERTY and JUSTICE for ALL!!!
It's the "for ALL" part that will ALL-ways get my VOTE!!!

— Director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell received Tony Awards for choreographing Kinky Boots and La Cage aux Folles. His many Broadway credits include On Your Feet, Catch Me If You Can, Legally Blonde, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Never Gonna Dance, Gypsy, Imaginary Friends, The Rocky Horror Show, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, Grease and additional Tony nominations Hairspray and The Full Monty. An Emmy-nominee for his choreography for The Drew Carey Show, he created the enormously successful Broadway Bares benefits for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. @jammyprod

I vote because it is our right and duty to participate. As an African American, voting hasn't always been available to us. It cost blood, sweat and tears for black people to have the right to vote, and we've got to use it in order to make a difference in the United States — and hopefully it will make a difference for the better,  for everyone. 

Lillias White received Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her performance in The Life. She has also appeared on Broadway in Fela (Tony nomination), Barnum, Dreamgirls, Cats, Rock 'N' Roll! The First 5000 Years, Carrie, Once on This Island, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Chicago, and received Obie and Audelco Awards for her prolific work Off-Broadway. An Emmy winner for Sesame Street, her screen credits include Hercules, Anastasia, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Game 6, Pieces of April and Then She Found Me.  @diamondlillias

I vote because it is a privilege.
Democracy is not something to be taken for granted. 
My family in Cuba doesn't have this luxury.
I vote because NOT voting equals silence/apathy/disconnection/disrespect, and I don't want anything to do with those.
Voting is an honor.
My voice is important, and so is yours. 
Voting is how we speak and participate in politics.
I vote because I can.

Alex Lacamoire received Grammy and Tony Awards for his groundbreaking Music Direction and Orchestration for Hamilton and In the Heights. His additional credits as Music Director, Orchestrator, Music Supervisor and Arranger include Broadway's Dear Evan Hanson, Annie, Bring It On, Wicked and High Fidelity, national tours of Godspell, Legally Blonde and Captain Louie and Off-Broadway's Bat Boy: The Musical. @lacketylak


I like to vote. It feels good.

I have an early childhood memory of election night. Much to the delight of my parents, I hatched an impromptu campaign, making a spirited and ridiculous speech. I railed as the opposition candidate. Even for a five year old, he was an easy target. My acting style has been greatly informed by Texas politics. I shook my fist and banged the ethereal podium.  But the quixotic desire to amuse my parents did not evolve into a life-long love of politics. The passion faded and was only slightly rekindled by a high school civics class.

The first election in which I was eligible to vote, I saw as a rather dreary right of passage. Yes, I wanted my guy (of course, it was a guy) to win. But I went into the booth, a jaded Iphigenia, not quite believing that this action would affect change or have any consequence. 

I continued to vote in this way for many years. Until one year, I ignored the polls all together. I even had a candidate I liked, but I was out-of-town working and hadn't bothered with an absentee ballot. I returned home after the election, and was spending the weekend with one of my dearest and most admirable friends. As we cooked dinner in his upstate kitchen, he said, "I hope you voted." I admitted that I hadn't. He took a pause - the pause of a second with the half-life of a century - and said, "You must vote." The son of concentration camp survivors, my brilliant and generous friend was gently schooling me in responsibility. And I realized voting was my duty as a friend. What I think may matter, what I do matters more. My vote is an attempt to fulfill not only my wishes but what I wish for all of my friends and neighbors.

Years have passed since that dinner and as they have, the love of my friend and the longing to vote have deepened. They are inextricably linked. I look forward to my lonely walk to the polls. Whether it's a private act with public implications, or a public action performed privately, I don't know. But it is exciting either way. Placing your vote is opting in. Your vote builds community and ultimately defines the character of the individual and the country. 

Harriet Harris received Drama Desk and Tony Awards for her performance as "Mrs. Meers" in Thoroughly Modern Millie. A Drama Desk nominee for her Off-Broadway work in Bella, Belle of Byelorussia and Jeffrey, she has also appeared on Broadway in Cinderella, Cry-Baby, Old Acquaintance and Four Baboons Adoring the Sun. She is best known to TV audiences for her roles on Desperate Housewives and Frasier. @MsHarrietHarris