Guest Editor Jefferson Mays Reveals His Survival Strategy During Tonys Week

Short answer: Cheese Puffs.

Tony-winner Jefferson Mays

Wednesday, June 4

Tompkins Square Dog Run.

There are just a few more days of the exhilarating, mad time known as awards season. With a play, you’re expected to show up at a function or two and smile at people, with a cube of cheese in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. But musical performers (astonishing athletes that they are) do eight shows per week, plus a crammed roster of performing at benefits, galas, TV talk shows and online spots. Then there are interviews, panels and round tables. It feels like our little musical is running for homecoming queen, under the tender care of Rick Miramontez, Andy Snyder and Scott Braun of O&M Co. Today is a two-show day. My wife, Susan, and I stumble out of bed and carry our little rescue dog, Maud, down the six flights of stairs; we stop off at Ost Cafe on the way to the Tompkins Square Park dog run, with everyone taking time out from their interesting lives to focus on their pooping, playing pooches. Back home, I’m picked up for the matinee at noon. Once I’m in the dressing room, routine kicks in: shower, makeup, don the first of many costumes—with bits of others underdressed—up the stairs to visit the rest of the cast. Between shows, I have a session with the wonderful Jessica Lassiter from Encore Physical Therapy. She works miracles on my bashed and bruised torso. Then I have a bite of sushi and a nap and repeat my routine for the evening show. After, it’s home and into bed to watch an episode of The League Of Gentlemen, until I descend into the land of drool. Ost Café, 441 E.12th Street, 212-477-5600; Encore Physical Therapy, 1560 Broadway, 212-575-5707

Thursday, June 5

We have an 8 a.m. rehearsal at Radio City for our Tony Awards number, then downtown to the Strand Book Store building. I’m recording the audiobook of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. (Typecasting?) Normally, I work more intensely, but with the vocal rigors of the show, I’ve rationed myself to two hours per week. I stop at Pie Face, pick up two pie floaters (topped with mushy peas and mashed potatoes swimming in gravy) and carry them home to assuage my Aussie wife’s homesickness. Afterward, I have a 20-minute lie-down, then off to the show. I’m home in time to walk Maud and stop at Flinders Lane (another touch of Australia) for a glass of wine. Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway, 212-473-1452; Pie Face, 127 Fourth Avenue, 855-444-3388; Flinders Lane, 162 Avenue A, 212-228-6900

Friday, June 6

At my weekly singing class, Joan Lader coaxes my frightened inner singer out of his cave. After, it’s lunch with Susan at Curry-Ya, then to Chrystie Street to pick up my tuxedo for Sunday. Against Nature is ruled over by Amber Doyle. Flanked by a brace of albino peacocks, she is as much a work of art as her elegant bespoke designs. Then I head to Midtown for more physiotherapy before the show. Curry-Ya, 214 East 10th Street, 212-995-2877; Against Nature, 159 Chrystie Street, 212-228-4552

Saturday, June 7

If I wake up in time, we’ll head over to Bushwick to Still Waters in a Storm. Since 2007, Stephen Haff has provided a space for the local kids to read and write and learn Latin and music, all free of charge. It’s an inspiring sanctuary. Then off to the theater. Still Waters in a Storm, 286 Stanhope Street, Brooklyn, 646-579-5025

Sunday, June 8

It’s the day of the Tony Awards and my birthday. After a session in front of the mirror, practicing my “graceful loser face,” I’m off to dress rehearsal. There’s an early matinee today. Even more than usual, it’s going to be a day of quick changes: into tuxedo, a spoonful of birthday coffee ice cream from Trader Joe’s, off to the red carpet with Susan, whisked backstage to get into costume for a skit with Susan’s compatriot, Hugh Jackman. Then it’s back into tuxedo, take my seat in auditorium, backstage again to change into costume for our number, back into tuxedo, retake my seat. Fingers crossed for the musical. After, there’s the after-party at the Plaza to congratulate the winners, then back to Rockefeller Center to rejoin my GGLAM family. Then I’m off to the Carlyle Hotel for O&M’s after-after-party. And so to bed. Happy birthday to me. Trader Joe’s, 142 East 14th Street, 212-529-4612; The Plaza, 768 Fifth Avenue, invitation only; The Carlyle Hotel, 35 East 76th Street, invitation only

Monday, June 9

Cafe Orlin Brunch
Cafe Orlin

If I lose: I spend the morning in pajamas, with curtains drawn, eating cheese puffs. If I win: I spend the morning in pajamas, with curtains drawn, eating cheese puffs. I then jump on the subway for afternoon tea at the Neue Galerie’s Café Sabarsky before heading to the Plaza, at the invitation of the elegant Peggy Siegal (superlative promoter of every film you’ve ever wanted to see) for a screening of Jersey Boys at the Paris Theatre. Neue Galerie,1048 Fifth Avenue, 212-288-0665; The Plaza, Paris Theatre, 4 West 58th Street, invitation only

Tuesday, June 10

Back to normality. Who would have thought eight shows per week would seem easy? I brunch at Café Orlin (breakfast is served until 4 p.m.), then into the car back to the Walter Kerr. Café Orlin, 41 St Marks Place, 212-777-1447; A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, Walter Kerr Theater, 219 West 48th Street, 212-239-6200

Wednesday, June 11

See Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The theater actor’s life, a singular delight in almost all respects, is nothing if not regimented.

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” Walter Kerr Theatre.
Guest Editor Jefferson Mays Reveals His Survival Strategy During Tonys Week