Ari’el Stachel, who took home the Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for his role in The Band’s Visit, caught up with Billboard’s Paul Costabile ahead of the awards show to discuss why his nomination means so much to him.
“At this point I’m just excited, relaxed, happy [to be here],” he says. “So many people that I admire here. It’s my first nomination, it’s my first Broadway show.”
Asked if the “theater nerd” in him finds it crazy to be nominated for a Tony, Stachel tells Billboard that while it is crazy, it’s not the theater nerd in him that is excited, but the “part of me, the Middle Eastern kid who was really ashamed of that background growing up and grew up in sort of a post-9/11 society and feeling really stigmatized and ashamed and targeted by my peers.”
“For that kid to be here and to be celebrating that in a Middle Eastern role,” he adds, “I’m excited…It means a lot.”
You can watch the full interview with Ari’el Stachel above, and hear him sing a bit of his favorite Broadway musical song of all time, “Let It Sing” from Violet.