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Josh Groban overcomes "skepticism" in Tony-nominated Broadway debut

UPI News Service, 05/04/2017 

Josh Groban acknowledges that his Broadway debut was met with "a little bit of skepticism," but he says he worked hard to prove to the theater community -- and himself -- that he could act as well as sing.

The results speak for themselves as his musical "Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812" was nominated this week for a leading 12 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Groban and his fellow Tony nominees gathered Wednesday at Manhattan's Sofitel hotel to talk about their various shows and performances.

"I definitely walked into this role with, I knew what would be, a little bit of skepticism," Groban, 36, told reporters.

"Any time you are coming in from another world, there is always going to be the chatter of: 'Is this a gimmick thing? Is this to sell tickets?' I knew it was quietly my responsibility to dive into this headfirst, do the work the right way and to prove to myself -- and to the Broadway community at large -- that this was something that was the real deal for me. This is something that I've wanted to do for a long time, something I was working hard at, something that was important for me."

The Best Lead Actor in a Musical nominee praised his director, Rachel Chavkin, saying she was integral to helping him prepare for the production. He described her as "an incredible friend and an incredible acting coach."

"So, for her and I to have been able to work together on finding the layers of Pierre and finding how I would interpret it and transform out there, I could not have done it without her guidance," he said.

"The last time I'd done musical theater was senior year of high school. From then to now, to take on a role of this magnitude, vocally and emotionally, it took a lot of work, so I worked very, very hard at it. It's really nice. This is all just really fun and very nice."

As for the Tony nominations, "This has been icing on the cake of what already has been such an extraordinary dream. This is a day when we actually get to hug other members of the community. We're all eight shows a week. We don't actually get to see much or meet each other. We kind of see each other on Twitter, but that's it. So to see everybody and be able to kind of listen between the curtains of what everybody's experience is this morning is actually very similar. There is a feeling of loving this since you were a kid. You're going to hear that a lot. Watching the Tonys when you were a kid. I've said that, a lot of people have said it. I've seen so many people thank their theater teachers this morning and their parents."

"Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812" is inspired by Leo Tolstoy's classic novel "War and Peace."

It co-stars Groban's fellow Tony nominees Denee Benton and Lucas Steele.

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