The Tony Awards are the highest honor that a stage actor can receive, and this year’s collection of nominated actors have many Tonys to their names already. There are a lot of beloved returning stars to the stage this year, proving that once you fall in love with the live theater, it’s impossible not to go back. From classically trained Shakespearean actors to television stars-turned Broadway icons, there are several faces that you will be cheering for when the Tony Awards air on June 8th on CBS.
Nominated for his third and fourth Tony Award, Mark Rylance is a familiar face from “Boeing-Boeing” and 2011’s “Jerusalem,” however, it’s his performances in both “Richard III” and “Twelfth Night” that have garnered this tremendous actor two nominations in two different categories. He is nominated for both Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play and for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play. It’s no surprise that Rylance’s Shakespearean work is receiving so much critical acclaim, since he was the first Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe in London. These nominations not only show just how immensely talented this actor is, but also how well he brings the work of The Bard to life.
Is there anything this man can’t do? Audiences probably remember Shalhoub best for his multiple-award winning role in television’s “Monk,” but he is also a familiar face on the Broadway stage. Shalhoub has previously been nominated for two Tony Awards, for his roles in “Conversations with My Father” and “Golden Boy.” He was also seen on Broadway in “Lend Me a Tenor,” “The Odd Couple” and “The Heidi Chronicles.” Shalhoub’s unique charm and on-stage charisma make this actor one that audience love to watch, and his return to the stage for his Tony-nominated role in “Act One” just may win him his first Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.
Neil Patrick Harris
Perhaps one of the most beloved Broadway stars in modern days, it may come as a surprise that Neil Patrick Harris has never been nominated for a Tony before, though he has won an Emmy Awards and hosted the Tony Awards in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Broadway fans have loved his work on stage in “Assassins,” “Proof” and “Cabaret,” but it’s his return to the stage as the lead in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” that has been getting a lot of praise, leading to his first Tony nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.
Tyne Daly is one of the most beloved actresses to grace the stage on the Great White Way. Daly won the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical for her work in “Gypsy” back in 1990 and was also nominated in 2006 for “Rabbit Hole.” Her other appearances have included such hits as “Master Class” and “The Seagull.” Fans may also remember her from her work on television in “Cagney and Lacy” and “Judging Amy.” Daly is nominated this year for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for her work in “Mothers and Sons,” where she leads the small four-person cast with a lot of grace and charm.
Another beloved Broadway name, Audra McDonald is nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for her amazing performance in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” This is certainly not McDonald’s first nomination, as she has five Tony’s to her name already. She won the award for her roles in “Carousel,” “Master Class,” “Ragtime,” “A Raisin in the Sun” and “Porgy and Bess.” In addition to her five wins, she was also nominated two other times for “Marie Christine” and “110 in the Shade.” McDonald is one of the most celebrated actresses working on the Broadway stage today, and one look at her amazing performance in this year’s nominated role shows just why that is.
Despite all the recent jokes about her name, Idina Menzel is a very well-known actress and tremendously talented performer. Menzel won the Tony in 2004 for her performance in “Wicked” and was nominated previously in 1996’s “Rent.” Recent fans will know her from her work singing the song “Let it Go” from the smash hit “Frozen” or from her work on “Glee” or the film “Enchanted.” Of course, Broadway fans have known and loved Menzel for years and she is nominated this year for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for the recent hit “If/Then.” You can be sure that her name will be pronounced correctly by the presenters at this year’s broadcast!
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.