By Marc Snetiker
Updated June 09, 2014 at 10:52 PM EDT
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images (3)

What happens on the Tony Awards red carpet? Fans cheer, stars schmooze, and TV stars get closer to an EGOT.

This year, Radio City Music Hall was packed with an array of celebs who showed up to demonstrate their love for the theater. EW hit the red carpet to ask some of the ceremony attendees about their current show, the show that gave them their biggest theater education, their big stars, their little selves…really, just anything having to do with the stage. Below, enjoy 18 quotes we heard about the wonderful world of theater.

Patricia Clarkson (The Elephant Man)

“I did see the original production of Dreamgirls when I first arrived in New York, and I saw Jennifer Holliday three times in standing room only. And I’m not a musical theater person, as you know, but I went to see that three times and I stood because I didn’t have any money.”

Michael Mayer (Hedwig and the Angry Inch)

“The first thing I said when they hired me to do it was, ‘We have to get Neil.’”

Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (If/Then)

“It was sort of like Idina exploded into the world, and we always knew what Idina was and what she could do and who she was, and now the world was finding out.”

Robert Schenkkan (All The Way)

“It’s a big roll of the dice, actually. When you cast a star of this stature, you’re not allowed to audition. You can have a meeting, you can discuss, but you have no idea. You know what their television career is, you’re a huge fan of their work, but what are they going to be like in the room? And in this case, Bryan was everything you could possibly have wanted and more.”

Estelle Parsons (The Velocity of Autumn)

“The first musical I did on Broadway was with Ethel Merman. That was like heaven on earth.”

Tony Goldwyn

“When I was about 8 or 9, I saw a production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which I just wept at. I couldn’t believe that theater could have that kind of impact on a person. Many years later I saw Nicholas Nickleby on Broadway and I said, ‘I want to be able to do that,’ and so I went to drama school in England. A Chorus Line was when I was lost my virginity, after seeing A Chorus Line at 16. Anyway, too much information.”

Jonathan Groff

Wicked is such a good first. It’s got really good music, it’s accessible. Not that Wicked needs publicity from me right now.”

Anna Gunn

“I saw [Bryan Cranston] starting to work on the role before we wrapped Breaking Bad. I saw him working on the voice and listening to the tapes. He’s like a sponge, like a chameleon. He just starts soaking it up, and then I started to see… I saw him for lunch a few times after we wrapped and I think it’s that thing that happens without him even knowing it, where he starts to pick up the mannerisms. I was watching it happen to him.”

Bryan Cranston (All The Way)

“I need a hammock right now, I’m so tired.”

Neil Patrick Harris (Hedwig and the Angry Inch)

“I’m from small town New Mexico and we saw in Alamogordo a bus-in truck tour of Annie, and I was little. I’d never seen anything like that. Costumes and sets and a real dog and all this stuff. So Annie became kind of my go-to cool musical that I learned all the songs to. I think from that point forth I realized that theater was any kind of option.”

Kenny Leon (Holler If Ya Hear Me)

“A woman walked up to me last night and said, ‘I hear people that I know.’ We’re speaking to the broader community with that. I think they hear Tupac’s verse in a context they’ve never understood before.”

Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder)

“I remember learning the first number of The Music Man, the song on the train, and doing it for a Cub Scout skit when I was a wee lad and wanting to do all the parts because the other boys were not as into it as I was.”

Adriane Lenox (After Midnight)

“People say there’s no small roles, only small actors. Well, I was only in one scene in Doubt. Turned out all right.”

Cherry Jones (The Glass Menagerie)

“I handicapped myself with Audra McDonald. It wasn’t looking good for me, which means I get to have a blast and just cheer and cheer.”

Zach Braff (Bullets Over Broadway)

“I saw Les Misérables, the original cast, and I remember crying for the first time at art. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, I’ve never been moved by art before.’”

Gloria Estefan (On Your Feet)

“Obviously ‘Get On Your Feet’ is going to be in it, but we’re not going for the obvious. We’re digging deep into the vault of songs and not trying to cram everything in. We’re being autobiographical, but we’re not linear. We’re fudging with time. We’re going from Cuba to the U.S., and really trying to do songs that fit. I’m rewriting some verses. People will be surprised.”

Jason Robert Brown (The Bridges of Madison County)

“If you’re going to start, start with The Music Man. That’s the one we started our daughters on.”

Terrence McNally (It’s Only a Play)

“It’s a dream cast. I’ve never worked with Matthew or Megan, but I’ve worked with Stockard and Nathan, and F. Murray Abraham was in my first five or six plays. So it’s a nice mix. And we have a young man Mike who’s making his New York debut. He’s just out of drama school, and you just know when you’re in the presence of a real actor. Jack O’Brien saw him and said, ‘He’s the one.’ He didn’t even have to audition. It’s great to have a newcomer given a big opportunity. People gave me my opportunity, so it’s nice to pay it back.”