Tony Awards: Tracy Letts is the leader of the pack
With a dazzling opening number by Neil Patrick Harris and the casts of current Broadway shows to start things off, the Tony Awards broadcast was pretty spectacular.
I was thrilled Edward Albee’s play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was so successful. My favorite show of the Broadway season, it won three Tonys: Best Revival of a Play, Best Direction of a Play – Pam MacKinnon, and Tracy Letts for Best Leading Actor In a Play.
An underdog, Mr. Letts was universally hailed for his astounding portrayal of the henpecked husband George, but Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy was considered the Tony favorite, because, well, he’s Tom Hanks.
To the delight of Broadway fans, Mr. Letts proved to be the alpha male of the pack.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Letts thanked his parents and eloquently said:
So overwhelming. This is for my mom and dad. They encouraged a love of the arts and appreciation for the written word that have enriched my life beyond measure.
Mr. Hanks, Mr. Lane, Mr. Pierce, Mr. Sturridge, you are not my competition. You are my peers and I am proud to be in your company.
I share this with Amy Morton, with Carrie Coon, with the criminally undersung Madison Dirks, with Pam MacKinnon for her expert captaincy, and with Edward Albee for his enduring work of art.
And I share this actually with not only everybody in this room, but all the actors in Chicago, and in storefronts, and everybody who does this crazy, insane frustrating job, the greatest job on Earth.
We are the ones who say it to their faces and we have a unique responsibility. I will cherish this always, thank you.
I completely agree with Mr. Letts about Madison Dirks being “criminally undersung!” As I wrote in a previous blog post, Mr. Dirks was robbed of a Tony nomination. With a four-member cast, all three other cast members received nominations, as did the play and director Pam MacKinnon. How could Mr. Dirks, who played a pivotal role in the show, be the odd man out? I hope the attention Mr. Letts gave him in his speech will encourage others to take a good look at him. Madison Dirks should have a bright future ahead.
As the Tonys progressed, theater fans were hoping Tracy Letts would pull an upset. Here are some quotes from a BroadwayWorld chatboard before the Best Actor award was announced. Interestingly, one commenter called Madison Dirks “criminally unrecognized,” similar to Mr. Letts calling him “criminally undersung.”
I see in another thread many of you are predicting that Tom Hanks will nab the lead-actor award. Didn’t see his performance. But I DID sit in the front row at Virginia Woolf and Tracy Letts just blew me away. I thought he was frighteningly good and absolutely nailed that role. So, while it may be a longshot, GO TRACY!!!
I will chime in and say the same as everyone else: I so much want Tracy Letts to win tonight! I’ll never forget this production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, it is without question one of my favorite and one of the best theater-going experiences I have ever had.
You can add me to this chorus. Letts and Morton (and Carrie Coon and the criminally unrecognized Madison Dirks) showed me that there was still so much to be discovered in a play I thought I knew inside-out. I would love for Letts to win. If I had I vote, I would cast one for him and one for Morton.
But not getting my hopes up.
Morton and Letts changed the way I will see WAOVW forever and I will be devastated if they don’t win. I’m trying to not get my hopes up but it was the highlight of this season for me.
I’m pulling for Amy, Tracy, and Carrie tonight. That was hands down my favorite production of the season.
After Tracy Letts won Best Actor, BroadwayWorld fans were thrilled:
So excited for this win. Yes, yes, yes!!!
A richly deserved win.
That was really the only award I cared about tonight and I’m so happy to see Tracy Letts win. That production and his performance are going to stay with me for a very long time.
SHOCKED, but so happy. He absolutely deserved this award. And he is one of the nicest, most genuine people around.
Stunned. In a good way, of course. WOW.
A bit of egg on the faces of Tony producers by having Sally Field and Matthew Broderick presenting. Obviously they believed it was between Lane and Hanks.
Wow, justice can prevail. How heartening and satisfying.
Standing in my living room screaming. If it couldn’t be Alan Cumming I am very, very happy it was him.
So very deserved. I couldn’t stop crying when his name was announced. It was award I was most invested in this evening and I’m thrilled he was recognized for such an incredible performance.
Absolutely thrilled with Letts’ win. It was a truly remarkable performance in a truly remarkable show. There is justice in this world.
Truly well deserved. LOVED LOVED LOVED that production!!!!
I saw Woolf with my husband, daughter, our friends Jill and Steve, and their two daughters. This was the first production of Woolf the girls had seen and I am so glad it was this one. Perfect performances in a perfect American classic. It does not get any better than that.
In some other good news about Mr. Letts, he and Woolf co-star Amy Morton have signed on for the next season of the TV show Homeland. That should be GREAT! Really looking forward to the dynamic this pair can bring to the show.
Congratulations are also in order for Mr. Letts and Woolf co-star Carrie Coon, who announced last week they are engaged to marry.
With a tip of the hat to Mr. Albee: “George and Honey, glad, glad, glad!”