Tony noms come out, Dallasite among nominees

boy-wonder

The article I did on Brian J. Smith 11 years ago, when I knew he was bound for stardom.

It was a surprise to no one that Brian J. Smith — the North Dallas native and Quad C (now Collin Theatre) alum and Juilliard grad — received a Tony Award nomination as best featured actor in a play this morning for his role as The Gentleman Caller in the recent Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie … certainly not me.

I first saw Smith in a Quad C production of A Clockwork Orange, and as soon as he did his next professional gig (in the ensemble of WaterTower Theatre’s The Laramie Project) I set up an interview.

“I don’t know why you want to interview me,” Smith asked me quizzically (he was about 21 years old at the time). “Because you’re going to win a Tony someday, and I want my story to be the first major story in your portfolio.”

It didn’t require alchemy or tea-leaf reading to figure it out. Smith was a remarkable, charismatic onstage presence from the start, and his luster ensured him of success. So I’m happy for him — and happier for everyone who sees him. He shares his nomination glory with co-stars Celia Keenan-Bolger (featured actress) and acclaimed lesbian actress Cherry Jones (leading actress). The fourth member of the cast, out actor Zachary Quinto, was overlooked in the leading actor category.

Smith will likely win the Tony, but he does have some competition, including the legendary Stephen Fry and Mark Rylance (both from Twelfth Night), plus Reed Birney (Casa Valentina) and Paul Chahidi (also Twelfth Night).

Among the big nominees this year include gay playwrights Harvey Fierstein (Casa Valentina) and Terrence McNally (Mother and Sons) going head-to-head for best play against James Lapine’s Act One, John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar and Robert Shenkkan’s All the Way, about LBJ and starring nominee Bryan Cranston.

One of the big nominees in the musical category was the Broadway debut of the off-Broadway hit Hedwig and the Angry Inch about a transgender East German rock star, played by nominee Neil Patrick Harris.

After the jump are nominees in other major categories:

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Former North Texan getting stud treatment

stargate-universe-BJSposter

OK, a little bragging — at least vicariously. Back in 2002, I saw a production of “A Clockwork Orange” at Quad C (Collin County Community College) and raved about its young star, Brian J. Smith. The following January, I did the first full-length interview feature with Brian, when he was appearing in “The Laramie Project.”

We remained friendly over the years, first when he went to Juilliard, and later when he was cast as the victim of a gay bashing in the Dallas-filmed indie “Hate Crime.” He was on “Law & Order” last season, too.

I knew he was set to be on the next “Stargate” series, “Universe,” but I just received a copy of the poster for the series, and damn! They are promoting the hell out of it based on his matinee-idol looks. Congrats, Brian! Just remember those of us who knew you when…

—  Arnold Wayne Jones