Bobby Steggert

"When he's up (onstage) he's an actor, but (the audience should remember) he's not like that in real life. Bobby's such a good actor that he can pull off (parts that are completely unlike his real personality)," says Ann DuBose former member of the Frederick Children's Chorus. "He's a really sweet guy." Steggert's role as Mother's Younger Brother is infamous for his brooding and evil nature. Steggert was noted by The New York Times as giving the character, "bruised flesh on (a) silhouette figure."

Frederick native Bobby Steggert was nominated for a Tony.

In total, Steggert was nominated six times by four major New York City theater-based organizations.

Steggert is 29 years old.

"I'm sort of shocked -- I can't really fully process it. As I've gotten older and seen how rare it is (to be nominated for a Tony Award), wow -- it's mind blowing," Steggert said in a phone interview.

"To know that I've worked so hard to gain a foothold, (these nominations) give me something tangible," Steggert said.

For days, Steggert's friends and co-workers told him they thought he would receive a Tony nomination. The Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle announced nominees before the Tony's were released. Steggert didn't want to get his hopes up, only to be disappointed or misconstrue what Tony nominators thought of his recent work.

The night before the announcement, he turned off his ringer and purposefully slept in. He figured if he was nominated, he would have a lot of messages on his phone. If not, then he wouldn't worry about it.

He woke, lingered around his New York apartment, slowly getting ready and then looked at his phone. He had 15 missed calls, countless text messages and received about 200 e-mails throughout the rest of the day.

Bobby called his mother in Frederick and she was crying.

Mary Steggert also tried to play it cool that morning. "I was so nervous, so I was just trying to keep myself busy," she said in a phone interview. She didn't find out Bobby was nominated until her sister called, before he heard the news. "It was very exciting because we didn't expect it."

Days later, Bobby's phone was still ringing off the hook. "A friend said, 'I think your phone is going to explode.'"

Topping it all off, random strangers on the street stop him and offer congratulations. "I feel like a hometown celebrity."

The next time he walked in to rehearsals for the latest show he is working on, "The Grand Manner" (by A.R. Gurney scheduled to open late June and play all summer at the Lincoln Center), he was congratulated by his fellow cast and crew members, some of whom are past Tony nominees and winners.

"It's bizarre to be congratulated by the very people you want to emulate," he said.

Frederick first

Steggert first learned to sing from Judy DuBose, founder and artistic director of the Frederick Children's Chorus, and Carol DeSantis, a private voice teacher.

Bobby's elementary music teacher recommended he go to the children's choir to work with DuBose.

Even with her 25 years of directing the choir, she remembers his voice and talent like it was yesterday.

"I remember (his first solo, the first year he was in the choir) clearly, because he did just a beautiful job," DuBose said.

DeSantis said, "He was just a tiny little thing and even then, (his singing) would make people cry."

"(Once people heard Bobby sing) he started getting invitations all over -- even as a wedding soloist (in Manhattan)," DuBose said.

No matter the part, he gave it his all.

"When he came onstage, he brought enormous energy. He had a great voice and brought believability and creativity to characters he protrayed," said Jason Hoffman, director of TJStage at Gov. Thomas Johnson High School.

Despite the attention, parts in a variety of professional productions (including the Hollywood production, "For Richer or Poorer" with Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley), and a part in New York City for three months in "A Christmas Carol," Bobby stayed grounded in his family and friends.

"This is a young man with such integrity and great work ethic. He is the most down-to-earth and kind gentleman. It's never about him," DuBose said.

Bobby and DuBose worked together steadily from fall 1991 through the end of his sophomore year in high school (spring 1997). He returned to Frederick Children's Chorus the fall of his senior year to work with his director and spend time with friends before he headed to college. DeSantis first instructed Bobby in private lessons when he was 11 or 12 and continued until he graduated from Frederick High School, Class of 1999, as a valedictorian. Hoffman worked with Steggert in the latter part of high school. During that time, Hoffman cast him in several productions.

"He's so smart that he could have been a rocket scientist. And he's really nice, he certainly deserves this honor," DeSantis said.

No matter what -- it's an honor

As the saying goes, "It's an honor just to be nominated/considered." But Steggert means it. The Tony nomination is an affirming, great honor, said Bobby and his mother.

In turn, Bobby wants to also honor Mary. She drove him to all of his lessons, took care of him while he was in New York City as a teen, in addition to every other detail that mothers do, and both his parents fully supported his budding talent.

Mary will be his date for the Tony Award ceremony.

As for a possible acceptance speech -- he'll wait and see. "I'm not going to write anything -- it's bad luck. Plus, I don't even think I'll win," Steggert said.

Whatever the outcome, Bobby's parents are proud of him.

"It is wonderful to see your children succeed. I think all people want their children to be happy, healthy and successful at what they are doing. And it's wonderful to see all of his for him, all that he's achieved on his own."

"People keep telling me, '(Being nominated for a Tony Award) will change your life.' I don't know how yet."

To see YouTube videos of Steggert from a high school production with Hoffman, go to http://youtube.com/wilspeare. See "Winters on the Wing," "TJStage Wick from Secret Garden," "Secret Garden- Archie and Lily" and "TJStage Opening to Secret Garden." For more on Steggert's work, go to Facebook.com/pages/Bobby-Steggert/139890341921.

Tony Award:

  • Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical

Kevin Chamberlin, The Addams Family

Robin De Jess, La Cage aux Folles

Christopher Fitzgerald, Finians Rainbow

Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet

Bobby Steggert, Ragtime

The Tony Awards ceremony will be held June 13, winners names will be available as announced, beginning at 8 p.m. EST by visiting TonyAwards.com. Ragtime, the production, was nominated for Best Revival of a Musical and has seven total Tony Award nominations.

Drama Desk Awards:

  • Outstanding Actor in a Musical
    Brandon Victor Dixon, The Scottsboro Boys
    Douglas Hodge, La Cage Aux Folles
    Cheyenne Jackson, Finians Rainbow
    Chad Kimball, Memphis
    Nathan Lane, The Addams Family
    Bobby Steggert, Yank! (an off-Broadway production)
  • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
    Kevin Chamberlin, The Addams Family
    Robin De Jesus, La Cage Aux Folles
    Jeffry Denman, Yank!
    Christopher Fitzgerald, Finians Rainbow
    Jeremy Morse, Bloodsong of Love
    Bobby Steggert, Ragtime

The 55th annual Drama Desk Awards ceremony will be held May 23 and webcasted by TheaterMania.com.

Drama League:

  • Distinguished Performance Award - Ragtime and Yank! (he was nominated twice, one for each production)

Fifty-seven people were nominated for the award, including Steggert. Four (including Steggert) of the 57, were nominated twice, for performances in different productions. The 75th annual Drama League Awards will be held May 21.

Outer Critics Circle:

  • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
    Kevin Chamberlin, The Addams Family
    Christopher Fitzgerald, Finians Rainbow
    Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet
    Dick Latessa, Promises, Promises
    Bobby Steggert, Ragtime

Winners will be announced May 17 and will celebrate with a dinner May 27.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominem criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.