Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


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ROCKing the TONYS – On the Bard’s birthday, Shakespearean actor Maurice Evans

Rock the Tonys

Maurice Evans as Shakespeare's Richard II

Maurice Evans as Shakespeare’s Richard II

Maurice Evans

Little Rock connection: Appeared at Robinson Auditorium in 1947 and 1949.

Tony Awards connection: Though primarily known for his classical roles, usually in the plays of Shakespeare, his two Tony nominations came for non-classical roles. The first was in 1957 for a revival of Shaw’s The Apple Cart and the second came in 1961 for the musical Tenderloin. He did receive two Tony Awards, but not for his acting. In 1950, he received a special Tony for producing a successful season of theatre at New York’s City Center. In 1954, he received a Tony as producer of The Teahouse of the August Moon, which was named Best Play.

(Evans’ claim to fame for wide acclaim was his role as Samantha’s father on “Bewitched” on TV.)

 


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ROCKing the TONYS – John Lithgow

Rock the TonysLithgowJohn Lithgow

Little Rock connection: As an author, spoke to a packed house as part of the Clinton School of Public Service speaker series.

Tony Awards connection: Won a Featured Actor in a Play Tony in 1973 for The Changing Room and an Actor in a Musical Tony in 2002 for Sweet Smell of Success.  Has received four other Tony nominations – most recently for The Columnist by former Little Rock resident David Auburn.  Lithgow has also appeared in numerous Tony ceremonies as a presenter and performer.


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ROCKing the TONYS – Robert Goulet

Rock the TonysGouletRobert Goulet

Little Rock connection: Appeared in Little Rock on several national tours of shows including South Pacific and Camelot.

Tony Awards connection: Won the 1968 Tony Award for his performance in the musical The Happy Time. Appeared at Tony Awards ceremonies in 1961, 1962, 1981, 1982, 1984 and 1996.  In 2005, made his final Tony appearance introducing revival of La Cage aux Folles in which he was appearing.

Another Tony connection is that he is referenced in a song lyric in the Tony winning score of A Chorus Line.


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ROCKing the TONYS – Jane Alexander and James Earl Jones

Rock the Tonys

Jones and Alexander in 2012. Photo by Bruce Gilkas

Jones and Alexander in 2012. Photo by Bruce Gilkas

Jane Alexander and James Earl Jones

Little Rock connection: Alexander visited Little Rock when she was head of the National Endowment for the Arts in the Clinton Administration. Jones has appeared with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and at UCA’s Public Appearance Series.

Alexander and Jones in THE GREAT WHITE HOPE. Photo by Fletcher Drake, courtesy of Arena Stage

Alexander and Jones in THE GREAT WHITE HOPE. Photo by Fletcher Drake, courtesy of Arena Stage

Tony Awards connection: Alexander and Jones both received Tony Awards on April 20, 1969 (45 years ago today) for their performances in The Great White Hope. Jones also received a 1987 Tony for his performance in Fences. Both have received numerous other Tony nominations. Alexander served as co-host of the 1979 Tony Awards ceremony. She and Jones have each made several appearances as presenters at Tony ceremonies.


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ROCKing the TONYS – Helen Hayes

Rock the TonysHelenHelen Hayes

Little Rock connection: Appeared at Robinson Auditorium in 1942.

Tony Awards connection: Received a Tony in 1947 (first ceremony) for her performance in Anita Loos’ Happy Birthday. In 1958, won the Actress in a Play Tony for Time Remembered.  Served as a host/presenter of the ceremonies in 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1956.  Presented awards at ceremonies in 1957, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1978, 1981 and 1986.  In 1987, she made a special Tony appearance as part of a tribute to George Abbott on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Her final appearance on the Tony Awards was at age 89 at the 1990 ceremony.


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ROCKing the TONYS – Gertrude Lawrence

Rock the TonysGertieGertrude Lawrence

Little Rock connection: Performed at Robinson Auditorium in 1940, the first year it was open.

Tony Awards connection: Won the 1952 Tony for Actress in a Musical for her performance as Mrs. Anna in The King and I.


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ROCKing the TONYs – Tallulah Bankhead

Rock the TonysTallulah MidgieTallulah Bankhead

Little Rock connection: Appeared at Robinson Auditorium in 1941 and 1950.

Tony Awards connection: Received a Tony nomination for Actress in a Play for her performance in Midgie Purvis.  A play about her, entitled Looped netted Valerie Harper a Tony nomination for her portrayal of Bankhead.

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