What Tony Nominations Mean to Sarah Paulson and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

Emmy-winning actress Sarah Paulson is no stranger to entertainment industry awards shows — but even so, her current Tony nomination, for her lead performance in the Broadway play “Appropriate,” is a big deal for her

Published Time: 04.06.2024 - 22:31:20 Modified Time: 04.06.2024 - 22:31:20

Emmy-winning actress Sarah Paulson is no stranger to entertainment industry awards shows — but even so, her current Tony nomination, for her lead performance in the Broadway play “Appropriate,” is a big deal for her.

Listen to this week’s“Stagecraft”podcast below:

“I won an Emmy for ‘American Crime Story’ and it was an extraordinary experience, but I don’t remember anything about the night. Nothing about it,” says Paulson on the latest episode of “Stagecraft,” Variety’s theater podcast. Speaking in a conversation with Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, the Tony-nominated playwright of “Appropriate,” she adds, “Somehow this nomination has felt to me like really being seen for the first time in a particular way.”

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On “Stagecraft,” Paulson and Jacobs-Jenkins spoke candidly about their experiences and memories of the Tony Awards. Both said they’re enjoying the often exhausting ride of the nominations whirlwind, while also recognizing that trophies are far from the only metric of career success and creative fulfillment.

“I’m kind of an Off Broadway girl, and so this awards season, I’m blown away by how much energy gets expended in the six weeks between Tony nominations and the actual event,” Jacobs-Jenkins says. “And like, I don’t have enough clothes for this!”

A MacArthur-winning playwright who also created Hulu’s TV adaptation of “Kindred,” Jacobs-Jenkins continues, “There’s a million ways to have a career in the field, but you can’t deny that all of America tunes in to see this part of the theater calendar. And that’s really a big deal.”

Paulson, who describes “Appropriate” as “one of the greatest creative experiences of my life,” goes on to reveal how it felt to be nominated for a Tony for the first time after appearing in plays in which other actors got nominations and she didn’t.

“I’ve done a lot of theater, and I’ve done a lot of theater with people who were recognize -

d and I wasn’t,” she says. “Of course I couldn’t help but feel like there was something wrong with me, or something that wasn’t landing for people. You don’t want to be left out; that’s an uncomfortable thing. This has been the opposite of that, and it has been a much more pleasant feeling, though it’s also valuable to have the other, too, because it does then put it in the appropriate place.”

Nominated for a total of eight Tony Awards, this production of “Appropriate” was originally scheduled to end its limited in early March but proved so popular that producers picked it up for an extended run in another theater. Jacobs-Jenkins said it’s the longest run he’s ever had of one of his plays, and he’s been struck by the way the show’s audiences have evolved and grown beyond the theater cognoscenti who turn out in the earliest weeks of a run.

“These are the friends of the friends, the word-of-mouth audience,” the playwright says. “They’re listening in a different way. Their conversations are different, their laughs are different. … It creates a feedback loop that enriches the thing. Just being able to touch all those people is wild. It’s really moving.”

Also on the new episode of Stagecraft, Paulson and Jacobs-Jenkins discussed how the show’s new theater has changed the play and bantered about Jacobs-Jenkins’ upcoming Broadway adaptation of “Purple Rain” — and why maybe, just maybe, Paulson should play Prince.

To hear the entire conversation, listen at the link above or download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on podcast platforms includingApple Podcasts,Spotifyand theBroadway Podcast Network.New episodes of “Stagecraft” are released every other week.

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