There has been a vast number of television and movie stars taking up space on “The Great White Way” this Broadway season. If Tuesday morning’s announcement for nominations for the 68th annual Tony Awards are any indication, while a star with immediate name recognition may sell tickets to the large number of tourists who descend on New York for the cultural experience, those on the nominating committee of the Tony Awards are considering the craft and not so much the cash. While a great number of Tinseltown’s A-list have encroached on Broadway in recent years, their names glaring in lights will dim just a bit, at least during Tony Award season.
From Shubert Alley to 42nd Street, a number of marquees have been ablaze this Broadway season with the names of highly recognizable movie and TV stars. From Denzel Washington to James Franco, Michelle Williams to Marissa Tomei, Daniel Radcliffe to Zach Braff and Zachary Quinto. These “named” actors and many like them have taken up residence on Broadway showcasing their talents to a live paying theatre audience.
While many stars got snubbed this year, a select few rose among the crop with nominations. Among those receiving nods for Tony Awards include the star of the now canceled CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, Neil Patrick Harris. Harris has received a Best Lead Actor in a musical nod for his role as an East German transgender singer fronting a rock and roll band in Headwig and the Angry Inch. Imagine seeing Breaking Bad’s “Walter White” on Broadway. The star of that recently canceled and very successful television series, Bryan Cranston has since been delivering eight performances a week in the play All The Way. Cranston is being recognized for his work with a Best Lead Actor in a play nomination.
Also seguing from television to stage and with recognition for his work in Act One as Best Lead Actor in a play, is former star of the series Monk, Tony Shalhoub. While the star of the HBO series Girls, Chris O’Dowd has been tapped with a nomination for his work in the stage revival of the Steinbeck classic, Of Mice and Men. Those who remember the very popular series from the 1980’s Cagney and Lacey will remember television and stage thespian Tyne Daly. Daly was recognized with a nod for Best Lead Actress in a play for her work in the production Mothers and Sons.
For a lot of television and movie stars, theater is where many cut their teeth on the craft of acting and started performing; be it Broadway, Off-Broadway or community and the regional theater circuit. The 68th Tony Awards airs Sunday, June 8 on CBS and will be hosted by movie star, Hugh Jackman. The ceremony is considered by many to be the Oscars of the theater community. For those receiving nominations for their work on the boards signifies a welcomed return home. While the lights of accolades may momentarily dim ever so slightly on this years over looked television and movie stars, Broadway as a part of the entertainment industry knows that having recognizable names brings cachet to any project and cash to the box office.
By Hal Banfield