And the Tony Nominees Are…


Laurie Metcalf, Tony Award Nominee, “Hillary and Clinton”

In this episode of “And the Tony Nominees Are…” Laurie Metcalf, Tony Award Nominee, Best Leading Actress in a Play for playing Hillary in “Hillary and Clinton,” invites her dog on camera and talks about her college days of starting Steppenwolf.

AIRED: June 04, 2019 | 0:04:43

We had a swing set in the backyard,

and I would set up lawn chairs

and charge admission for the neighbors

to come and see me swing in time to music.

People paid.

I have no idea what it was based in

or why I thought people would want to see me do something,

but I think I also, early on, felt a --

I was very shy, and I felt a comfort

in hiding behind a character,

so it was a way of kind of cutting loose

without being myself.

And that felt good.


We had a swing set in the backyard,

Hi. My name is Laurie Metcalf.

I'm nominated for "Hillary and Clinton".

I was born in Carbondale, Illinois,

and then moved to Edwardsville, Illinois,

where I basically grew up, so two southern Illinois cities.

And then I went on to Illinois State University

in Normal, Illinois.

I ran into a lot of kids who had a very, very strange accent,

and I couldn't figure out where they were from,

and it turns out they were all from Chicago.

Could have been a foreign land to me.

I remember putting on --

I think we had two soundtracks.

One was of "Gypsy".

Can't remember what the other one was,

but I remember doing a lot of lip syncing to those

in the living room where there was a picture window

that had curtains on either sides, sort of like a stage.

I knew even then that I didn't have a very good voice.

It's my dream to be in a musical.

I would have to, like, scream-shout something.

Yeah, I'd love to know what it feels like to do

that 11:00 number and have a big orchestra

kick in underneath you.

And I know it's a lot of work.

Nathan Lane always tells me, you know,

it's like 100 times harder than a regular play,

and I believe him,

but I still would really love to have that experience.

I went maybe once to see a play

in St. Louis on a school trip,

but when I was a junior in high school,

for some reason, I got the nerve up to audition,

and I got a very small, maybe three-line role.

I got weirdly hooked.

I thought, "Oh, this would be, like,

a really great hobby to have."

Put that aside, and then went to Illinois State University

and majored in German.

I did like language, and I did like interpreting, literally.

I fell in with a group at ISU

and we formed Steppenwolf Theatre.

And it was still a hobby for the first couple of years, you know.

I thought it would last a summer,

and I think it's in its 40th-something season right now.

But we all grew together.

I don't think that I would have done it on my own

if I had launched out on my own.

I would have gone to an audition in St. Louis

and not gotten it and then quit and been a secretary.

But pick a show, pick a show, pick a show, you know?

Just keep working, keep amusing each other.

That's basically what it was -- make each other laugh.

When it is years together,

really cements, you know, those familial feelings.

Being acknowledged by this group

of theater people

that I'm slowly starting to get to know and feel a part of --

because I was very late in coming to New York.

And, you know, it's a theater actor's dream

is be on Broadway,

and then to be recognized on top of all of that,

especially somebody

who didn't grow up knowing

anybody remotely in the field.

[ Chuckles ]

Want to see my dog? This is Danvers.

My daughter's obsessed with Supergirl and Supergirl's alias

is Kara Danvers, and so this is Danvers.


We had a swing set in the backyard,

We had a swing set in the backyard,


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