A Tony Award can boost a flailing show, and a snub can force a show to close -- two facts that hovered in the minds of many of the actors, directors and producers walking the red carpet on their way to the awards show.
It wasn't a big factor for Kenny Leon: The show he directs, "A Raisin in the Sun," is closing next week. But his competitive instinct kicks in during awards shows, he said.
"One side of me knows, 'Ah, it's going to go to other people,' but the competitive side me -- is like, yeah, I want to win best director, I want the play to win," he said on the red carpet before the show. He also had a few words for the people who didn't nominate his lead actor, Denzel Washington, for a Tony.
"Denzel was snubbed," he said. "Maybe things were just close and they slipped up. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. But it's about the work. He’s doing the work every night and he’s never slowed down."
Nick Cordero is nominated for a Tony for his role as the gangster Cheech on Woody Allen's "Bullets Over Broadway," which some say was snubbed in the best musical category. He said he hopes the show will continue to do well, even if it doesn't get any Tonys.
"This is very much a word-of-mouth show, I think we're getting a lot of people who haven't necessarily been exposed to the film, they’re leaving very happy. They're on their feet at the end of each show. And were packing them in."
Leigh Silverman is nominated as best director for the new musical "Violet."
"I feel like the show -- because of the nominations, people know that it’s very important,” she said. “Whether we win or not, it’s made a big impact on the season."
"A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder," perhaps the sleeper hit of the season, was nominated for 10 Tonys. Even if the show doesn't win, the nominations helped, said Steven Lutvak and Robert L. Freedman, who wrote the show.
"Since the nominations came out -- we've had sold-out houses," Lutvak said. "Once we got people in the room, they had to get a good time. It was hard to get people in the room."
"That's what all the nominations have done. Everybody wants to see it now," Freedman said.