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Chatting with Rick Elice: 2024 Tony nominee of ‘Water for Elephants’

Rick Elice is a 2024 Tony nominee for “Best Book of a Musical” for “Water for Elephants.”

Rick Elice
Rick Elice. Photo Courtesy of Rick Elice, 'Water for Elephants'
Rick Elice. Photo Courtesy of Rick Elice, 'Water for Elephants'

Rick Elice is a 2024 Tony nominee for “Best Book of a Musical” for “Water for Elephants.”

2024 Roger Rees Awards

Elice participated in red carpet interviews prior to the 2024 Roger Rees Awards, which honor student excellence in the performing arts.

“It is wonderful to be here,” he said. “Anything that involves young people getting into the theater, turned on by the theater, and committed to the theater is a great thing for our society, and it’s a great thing for audiences. I couldn’t be happier.”

Importance of this cause, excellence in student performance

On the significance of this cause, Elic said, “This cause is important to me because I believe that the theater is the answer to a lot of our problems. I know that sounds corny, but I really believe that it’s true.”

“If you commit to being a part of a company of actors presenting a play, you are a part of something larger than yourself, and you understand what that is,” he said.

“You are a part of a group with all the bonds that a group has, which are like a second family, and that’s healthy for everybody. It is great to have that experience because it teaches you how to be a person,” he underscored.

Advice for young students that wish to go into theater

For people that wish to go into theater, he said, “Read plays, go to see plays, and talk about them afterward. The plays exist to be discussed; otherwise, they don’t exist.”

“A performance on stage is ephemeral, and there is no record of it. It is not a TV show or a movie that you can watch over and over. You see it, and the way you keep it alive is by talking about it. For young people to do that is a great thing to talk about,” he explained.

2024 Tony nomination for ‘Water for Elephants’

On scoring a 2024 Tony nomination for “Best Book of a Musical” for “Water for Elephants,” he said, “It’s great… and it feels great to be a part of that group again.”

Elice praised everyone in the “Water for Elephants” cast (led by Grant Gustin and Isabelle McCalla), ensemble and crew for being “absolutely wonderful.”


On his definition of the word success, he responded, “When I encounter it, I will let you know. It’s a great privilege to know where my next meal is coming from. Success in the theater is also ephemeral because each time, you are starting from scratch.”

“Every time you do something, that’s what everyone imagines that you do. They don’t care about what you did last year or the year before or 10 years ago,” he said.

“They care about what you are doing now. It’s a real challenge, and it’s a creative challenge. The theater community is a great community to be involved in,” Elice concluded.

To learn more about “Water for Elephants” on Broadway, check out its official website.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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