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:
Best musical: After Midnight; Aladdin; Beautiful: The Carole King Musical; A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.
Best revival of a musical: Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Les Miserables; Violet.
Best book of a musical: Aladdin; Beautiful; Bullets Over Broadway; Gentleman’s Guide …
Best score of a musical: Aladdin; The Bridges of Madison County; If/Then; A Gentleman’s Guide …
Best actor in a musical: Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Ramin Karimloo, Les Miserables; Andy Karl, Rocky; Jefferson Mays and Bryan Pinkham, A Gentleman’s Guide …
Best actress in a musical: Mary Bridget Davies, A Night with Janis Joplin; Sutton Foster, Violet; Idina Menzel, If/Then; Jessie Mueller, Beautiful; Kelli O’Hara, The Bridges of Madison County.
Best featured actor in a musical: Danny Burstein, Cabaret; Nick Cordero, Bullets over Broadway; Joshua Henry, Violet; James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin; Jarrod Spector, Beautiful.
Best featured actress in a musical: Linda Emond, Cabaret; Lena Hall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Anika Larsen, Beautiful; Adriana Lenox, After Midnight; Lauren Worsham, A Gentleman’s Guide…
Best revival of a play: The Cripple of Inishmaan; The Glass Menagerie; A Raisin in the Sun; Twelfth Night.
Best actor in a play: Samuel Barnett, Twelfth Night; Bryan Cranston, All the Way; Chris O’Dowd, Of Mice and Men; Mark Rylance, Richard III; Tony Shalhoub, Act One.
Best actress in a play: Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons; LaTanya Richardson Jackson, A Raisin in the Sun; Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie; Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill; Estelle Parsons, The Velocity of Autumn.
Best featured actress in a play: Sarah Greene, The Cripple of Inishmaan; Celia Keenan-Bolger, The Glass Menagerie; Anika Noni Rose and Sophie Okonodo, A Raisin in the Sun; Mare Winningham, Casa Valentina.