Rock the Oscars: James Earl Jones

Actor James Earl Jones has made several appearances in Central Arkansas over the years.  He has appeared at Robinson Center with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.  On February 12, 1999, he narrated Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” and Alexander Miller’s “Let Freedom Ring” with the Symphony in a concert at Robinson Center.  (It was the 190th birthday for Lincoln.)

Born in Mississippi, he spent most of his childhood in Michigan.  After service in the Army during the Korean War, he moved to New York to study theatre.  In the late 1950s he started alternating between Broadway (where he often played a servant) and Off Broadway (where he played leading roles).  His first film appearance was in Dr. Strangelove….  From the 1960s onward he has alternated between stage, film and TV.  In the 1980s, he added voice work to his repertoire.

In 1969 and in 1987, he won Tony Awards for Actor in a Play (The Great White Hope and Fences, respectively).  His other Tony nominations have been for revivals of On Golden Pond and The Best Man.  He was nominated for an Oscar in 1970 for reprising The Great White Hope on film.  He received two Emmy Awards in 1991 – the only actor to ever win two in the same year.

In 2008, he won the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2011 he was given an Honorary Oscar.  In 2002, he was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient.

He is probably best loved for his work as the voice of Darth Vader in many of the Star Wars films as well as his voicework in The Lion King.

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Black History Month – James Earl Jones and Robinson Center

james_earl_jones_headshotActor James Earl Jones has made several appearances in Central Arkansas over the years.  He has appeared at Robinson Center with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.  On February 12, 1999, he narrated Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” and Alexander Miller’s “Let Freedom Ring” with the Symphony in a concert at Robinson Center.  (It was the 190th birthday for Lincoln.)

Born in Mississippi, he spent most of his childhood in Michigan.  After service in the Army during the Korean War, he moved to New York to study theatre.  In the late 1950s he started alternating between Broadway (where he often played a servant) and Off Broadway (where he played leading roles).  His first film appearance was in Dr. Strangelove….  From the 1960s onward he has alternated between stage, film and TV.  In the 1980s, he added voice work to his repertoire.

In 1969 and in 1987, he won Tony Awards for Actor in a Play (The Great White Hope and Fences, respectively).  His other Tony nominations have been for revivals of On Golden Pond and The Best Man.  He was nominated for an Oscar in 1970 for reprising The Great White Hope on film.  He received two Emmy Awards in 1991 – the only actor to ever win two in the same year.

In 2008, he won the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2011 he was given an Honorary Oscar.  In 2002, he was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient.

He is probably best loved for his work as the voice of Darth Vader in many of the Star Wars films as well as his voicework in The Lion King.

Arkansas Heritage Month – Tony Awards nominations with Will Trice

Trice at the 2014 Tony Awards

Trice at the 2014 Tony Awards

Trice at last year's Tony Awards (photo by Lisa Pacino)

Trice at 2013 Tony Awards (photo by Lisa Pacino)

The Tony Awards nominations were announced today.  Little Rock native Will Trice picked up his eighth nomination as a Broadway producer with year’s nod for the revival of Fiddler on the Roof.

Trice has earned previous Tony nominations for producing the plays All The Way* and Wolf Hall; play revivals The Best Man, The Glass Menagerie, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?*, and You Can’t Take It With You; and the musical revival Porgy and Bess*.  (An * indicates a Tony win.)

This season, Trice was a producer of four different shows: Sylvia with Matthew Broderick and Annaleigh Ashford; China Doll with Al Pacino; Fiddler on the Roof with Danny Burstein, Jessica Hecht and Ben Rappaport; and American Psycho with Benjamin Walker and Alice Ripley.

Tony Awards Week – Will Trice

Trice at the 2014 Tony Awards

Trice at the 2014 Tony Awards

Though he has been referenced in every Tony Awards Week story this week, today’s entry is devoted to three time Tony winning producer Will Trice.

It is fitting he is a young, Tony winning Broadway producer.  When his mother, Little Rock actress and teacher Judy Trice, was pregnant with him, she was directing the Hall High production of The Pajama Game.  The original Broadway production of that title was produced by another young, Tony winner – Hal Prince.

Will Trice literally grew up on stage and backstage. In addition to his mother, his late father Bill Trice and his sister Kathryn Pryor have graced every conceivable stage in Central Arkansas.  Will, himself, has been an actor and entertainer.  Most recently, he and Kathryn performed their cabaret act for patrons at the Arkansas Arts Center’s Tabriz earlier this year.

Trice’s Tony Awards came for the 2014 Best Play All the Way, 2013 Best Play Revival Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and the 2012 Best Musical Revival Porgy and Bess.  He also received a nomination for 2012 Best Play Revival for The Best Man.  At the 2014 Tonys, of the 26 awards presented, seven went to shows produced by Trice and his producing partner Jeffrey Richards.

This year Trice is nominated for producing Best Play nominee: Wolf Hall Parts One and Two and Best Play Revival nominee: You Can’t Take It with You.  Between those two productions and a revival of The Heidi Chronicles, Trice-produced projects earned fourteen Tony nominations this season.

Not ones to rest on their laurels, Richards and Trice have already announced revivals of Fiddler on the Roof and Sylvia for the 2015-2016 season.

It was fitting that Trice, a 1997 graduate of Central High, was a producer of the Tony-winning 50th anniversary revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 2012/2013.  Ben Piazza, a 1951 graduate of then-Little Rock High School, was involved in the development of the play in 1962 and performed in the original Broadway production over 500 performances.

Opening night on Broadway for LR native Will Trice as a producer of revival of YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU

YCTIWY bwayThree time Tony winner (and Little Rock native) Will Trice is heading back to Broadway this fall as a producer of an all-star revival of the Pulitzer Prize winning comedy You Can’t Take It with You.  The show opens tonight

The cast will be led by two time Tony winner James Earl Jones.  The production will mark a reunion from the recent revival of The Best Man for Jones with actress Elizabeth Ashley and producers Jeffrey Richards and Trice.

The Little Rock Central alum has won a Tony for each of the past three seasons. This marks the first project for the Trice for the 2014-2015 season.

First performed on Broadway at the height of the Great Depression (in a Pulitzer Prize winning run), it has not been revived on Broadway since 1983.  You Can’t Take It with You, by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, celebrates the American spirit as well as spirited family life.  Others in the cast, which is to be directed by multiple Tony nominee Scott Ellis, are Tony nominee Kristine Nielsen, Tony nominee Reg Rogers, Tony nominee Annaleigh Ashford, Theatre World winner Crystal A. Dickinson and stage veterans Byron Jennings and Julie Halston.

Trice at the 2014 Tony Awards

Trice at the 2014 Tony Awards

Mark Linn-Baker, who has cut his teeth on both stage and TV, is also in the cast. Others in the show include Marc Damon Johnson and Patrick Kerr. Three time Tony winner Jason Robert Brown is composing music for the play.

Performances started at New York’s Longacre Theatre on August 26.

Trice’s Tony Awards came for the 2014 Best Play All the Way, 2013 Best Play Revival Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and the 2012 Best Musical Revival Porgy and Bess.  He also received a nomination for 2012 Best Play Revival for The Best Man.  This past year, of the 26 Tony Awards presented, seven went to shows produced by Jeffrey Richards and Will Trice.

LR native and 3 time Tony winner Will Trice headed back to Broadway as a producer of revival of YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU.

YCTIWY bwayThree time Tony winner (and Little Rock native) Will Trice is heading back to Broadway this fall as a producer of an all-star revival of the Pulitzer Prize winning comedy You Can’t Take It with You.

The cast will be led by two time Tony winner James Earl Jones.  Additional casting was announced yesterday.  The production will mark a reunion from the recent revival of The Best Man for Jones with actress Elizabeth Ashley and producers Jeffrey Richards and Trice.

The Little Rock Central alum has won a Tony for each of the past three seasons. This marks the first announced project for the Trice for the 2014-2015 season.

First performed on Broadway at the height of the Great Depression, it has not been revived on Broadway since 1983.  You Can’t Take It with You, by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, celebrates the American spirit as well as spirited family life.  Others in the cast, which is to be directed by multiple Tony nominee Scott Ellis, are Tony nominee Kristine Nielsen, Tony nominee Reg Rogers, Tony nominee Annaleigh Ashford, Theatre World winner Crystal A. Dickinson and stage veterans Byron Jennings and Julie Halston.

Trice at the 2014 Tony Awards

Trice at the 2014 Tony Awards

Mark Linn-Baker, who has cut his teeth on both stage and TV, is also in the cast. Others in the show include Marc Damon Johnson and Patrick Kerr. Three time Tony winner Jason Robert Brown is composing music for the play.

Performances will start at New York’s Longacre Theatre on August 26 with an official opening night of September 28.

Trice’s Tony Awards came for the 2014 Best Play All the Way, 2013 Best Play Revival Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and the 2012 Best Musical Revival Porgy and Bess.  He also received a nomination for 2012 Best Play Revival for The Best Man.  This past year, of the 26 Tony Awards presented, seven went to shows produced by Jeffrey Richards and Will Trice.

ROCKing the TONYS: Will Trice

Rock the TonysThis is the start of a 68 day countdown to the 68th Tony Awards (held on 6/8) by exploring Little Rock connections with these Broadway awards.

Will Trice by John Sykes Jr

Will Trice and one of his Tony Awards – photo by John Sykes Jr.

Up first – Will Trice

Little Rock connection – Little Rock native; graduate of Central High School

Tony Awards connection – Tony winning producer of revivals of Porgy and Bess and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Tony nominee for revival of The Best Man.

On Broadway this season as one of producers of the plays All the Way and The Realistic Joneses, the musical The Bridges of Madison County, and the revivals The Glass Menagerie and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.