You may recognize Andrew Rannells as Elijah, your favorite New Yorker from the HBO show Girls, but he's also got some badass Broadway cred to his name: first as an original cast member in the nine-time Tony Award–winning show Book of Mormon, and then as the glittery East German transgender rockstar in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Now with Tony nominations coming upon us (April 28!), Rannells stopped by BuzzFeed New York to review this year's shows in GIF form. Here's what the Broadway enthusiast thought of the shows this year:
A Delicate Balance
Andrew Rannells: I mean, whattttt. What the hell is happening? He’s like… (thumbs up) I’m so in awe of him and his career. The way he operates through New York as the unofficial mayor of Broadway in some ways. When he comes to see you in a show, even if he doesn’t know you, he'll come backstage to congratulate you. Everyone wants to meet him. So gracious and so generous. I’m just blown away by how genuine he is.
An American in Paris
AR: I’m very excited because one of my oldest friends, Max von Essen, has the big eleven o’clock number, “Stairway to Paradise,” that I LOVE. I'm so proud of him that he gets his big Broadway number.
AR: I’m calling this — first of all, she can do whatever she wants — I’m calling it Elizabeth Part 2.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
AR: First of all, that performance [Alex Sharp] is incredible. What I was most blown away by was Steven Hogget’s staging; it's unbelievable. That’s some pretty incredible storytelling.
AR: What a great cast. For Josh Radnor to come back after the huge success of How I Met Your Mother and pick this as the show he comes to Broadway with I think is very cool on his part. Also, Grecthen Mol, I’m a huge fan of hers. That play is beautiful, but sorta sad for humanity. It won the Pulitzer, and very well deserved it.
AR: Very excited about that. I’ve heard about this show for a long time and I’m a huge fan of Diane Paulus. I’ve never worked with her, but I’m a huge fan. Diane, I’d like to work with you. I don’t know why it hasn’t happened yet. Finding Neverland 2?
Fish in the Dark
AR: I’m a huge Curb Your Enthusiasm fan, and it’s crazy that he’s doing what he does so well on television and that he just did it as a show. He somehow managed to take that sort of magic that he’s created in a series and make it into a Broadway play; it's really staggering. I wasn’t sure how it was going to translate, but sure enough!
AR: That’s all I’m going to write. It’s pretty perfect.
AR: I like a big, old-fashion-y Broadway musical. And that’s the definition: huge-ass costumes and sets. A heartwarming story about a prostitute…
Hand to God
AR: It’s such a good play, and it's so cool that it’s on Broadway; a new American play. A young playwright. It’s very moving, really funny. But it’s soooo scary. I’ve never seen anything like that.
AR: Well, I mean, that’s a classic. It’s one of those shows that you read, especially as a young actor. Wendy Wasserstein is such a huge inspiration to a lot of actors.
It’s Only a Play
AR: These fellas. Anytime they’re in a show together — that’s Broadway magic, my friends. I also love how they brought in so many people — they’ve mixed up that cast so many times already, which is nuts. It's a really fancy group over there.
The King and I
AR: I love the King and I. That was the first movie musical I ever saw. It’s one of the things that made me very interested in musicals and Bartlett Sher always does those revivals like no one else.
Do you think Kelli [O'Hara] will win the Tony?
AR: God, I hope so. I think it's long overdue. If not for specifically this performance, just as a career cumulation of all the fantastic things she's done.
The Last Ship
AR: Gone too soon. It was really good. I actually got to see Sting in it; I was very moved by it. The music was incredible. Again, one of those shows that for whatever reason it didn’t catch on the way it might have in a different season. It sucks. It’s not a science, folks!
On the 20th Century
AR: I once had a voicemail on my phone from her and I saved it for about two years. She is one of those people that is just so amazing. I remember seeing her in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and being like, "Who the hell is that girl?!" And then flash forward to this incredible, incredible career she's had. She’s something — she’s the real one.
On the Town
AR: I’ve seen this show twice. Elizabeth Stanley in that show…if this girl doesn’t get nominated for a Tony award for that, there’s something wrong with everyone. That performance is nutso. The whole cast is incredible. It's so moving to see a show that’s such a classic old-school musical where people like Tony Yazbeck — there’s very few people working like him — gets to use all his tricks and all of his skills. I was so moved. Clyde is great. I was just blown away by all of them. I saw it twice. But Elizabeth…that’s the one for me. She’s the one.
AR: Could not be happier that these two guys are in a show together and that they get to do all of their ridiculous tricks that they’ve been doing for years, but they get to have this huge platform to show everybody exactly how hilarious they are.
AR: You know what’s amazing, I remember years ago seeing auditions for The Visit, maybe like 10 years or so ago, for some out of town tryout, and the fact that they continue to work and craft it and continue to push it forward and make it better, all the while creating such an amazing role for her…I mean, obviously she’s a legend, but the fact that she had that team behind her, like, Terrance McNally and John Kander and Fred Ebb, and that they were writing this amazing piece for her and able to craft it for her over such a long period of time... good friends, good friends there.
AR: Parts 1 and 2. I love a two-part show. I mean, not since Coast of Utopia, but any multiple-part Broadway show, I'm a fan of.
You Can’t Take It With You
AR: I’ll talk about another one of my friends. She was the standout. If she’s not nominated for a Tony, that’ll be a problem. Anna-Leigh Ashford, on pointe! I’m gonna spell it the French way. On Pointe! When she does all her weird, crazy interpretive dances, I mean, that’s comedy gold for me. I love a bad dancer and I love a bad singer and the fact that she does both of those things actually so well but was able to be sooo terrible. I love it. She’s a superstar. I wish it was still running, but my fingers are crossed for her.