John Lloyd Young Recalls a Close Encounter with Oprah on Tony Night

01/06/2010 by Staff

I dedicated the award to my father

When a Broadway debut yields a Best Actor Tony Award, it’s obvious that the performer and role are perfectly matched. Such was the case when John Lloyd Young burst onto the Broadway scene as Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys. In bringing the Four Seasons icon to life, Young gave a magnetic star turn (featuring an impeccable falsetto) and was rewarded with a Tony in what he acknowledges was stiff competition. Young looked back on his winning night for

Which year did you win your first Tony?


For which role and show?

Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys

Where were the awards held?

Radio City Music Hall

Who hosted?

“60 stars of stage and screen”

What did you wear?

Our director, Des McAnuff, hooked us up with his favorite designer, Ted Baker.

Who was sitting next to you?

My girlfriend and Jersey Boys co-star Daniel Reichard

Who did you think would win your category?

I had just won three other major awards, so I knew I had a great shot. But my fellow nominees, especially Harry Connick, Jr. [for The Pajama Game] and Michael Cerveris [Sweeney Todd], had me very worried.

What was the first thing that ran through your mind when they said your name?

I better book it to center stage so that I don’t run out of time to speak.

Did you forget to thank anyone?

I knew I couldn’t ever thank everyone who deserved to be in the short time allotted, so instead I dedicated the award to my father, sent personal notes to everybody and thanked the entire world on my blog. (It’s still there!)

Did you cry?

Later that night, alone in a bunk on the tour bus to DC (we sang at the White House the next day). Tears of exhaustion!

If you could relive that night, would you change anything?

It was such a treadmill that night, I don’t think there’d have been room to change anything!

Who were you most surprised to hear from after your win?

Oprah Winfrey, in the wings, right after I won, who told me I gave an excellent speech.

Did winning a Tony change your life? How?

I’m still trying to figure that one out.

What’s your biggest memory of the night?

Standing on a platform at the beginning of the ceremony chatting with dozens of legendary stars, talking to Rita Wilson about her butterflies for her opening in Chicago the next day.

What’s the best piece of advice you can offer for getting through Tony night?

You’re at work; the party’s for everyone else.

Where do you keep your Tony?

In my study, lit from above in a glass bookcase with my other awards for Jersey Boys and my treasured plays, books and biographies.