On Sunday night (June 9), British actor Bertie Carvel, who’s been making a big impression on Broadway with his portrayal of a vindictive headmistress in Matilda the Musical, could walk away with the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical.
The 35-year-old actor is certainly pleased by the Tony nomination. He can’t quite put into words his feelings. “I’m struggling to describe it,” he says. “If you grow up on watching American movies as I did, to be an actor in New York and then to be rewarded with praise and then this amazing honor, it’s bonkers. You have to pinch yourself, so I feel really chuffed.”
Carvel plays Miss Trunchbull, a larger than life figure in this British stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1988 Matilda novel. Essentially it’s the story of a very clever five-year-old who prevails despite abusive parents and the monstrous Trunchbull.
Carvel is well aware of Trunchbull’s unpleasant demeanor. He says: “She’s a damaged, unhappy, bitter, jealous woman who has gone through her life carrying great ambition and great disappointment.”
The actor has already received an Oliver Award for his Trunchbull performance in the London production of Matilda.
When asked if it would mean as much to win the Tony Award he says: “It’s a false comparison. Any of these kinds of things are a really amazing present. The most important thing is that the audiences love what you do, and then when somebody else wants to give you a prize, I think it’s just the most wonderful thing.”
Tony oddsmakers predict that Carvel has a good chance of winning on Sunday night; his closest competition is seen as American actor Billy Porter, who plays a drag queen in the Cyndi Lauper musical Kinky Boots. Interestingly, the two actors favored to win the Tony Award for best leading actor in a musical, Carvel and Brown, both give cross-dressing performances.
Whether he wins or loses, Carvel is enjoying life away from the U.K. in New York. He says: “I’m having the most amazing time. I really didn’t expect to fall in love with this city like I have. I’m having a ball.”