This year's nominees come from comedies, dramas, classic plays, and new contemporary masterpieces. The roles nominated range from a Puritan pastor struggling to deal with the Salem Witch trials to the playboy Prince Harry. Many are stage veterans with long careers in the theatre!
Today's Spotlight: Best Performance by an
Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Meet Reed Birney
The Humans (Erik Blake)
Hometown: Seaford, Delaware
Training: Boston University for 2 years, Circle in the Square Theatre School for 3 months
Big Break: Although he made his Broadway debut in Gemini at 22, he had a self-proclaimed dry spell for 30 years (although quite a substantial career in the Off Broadway theatre scene). He garnered major attention for his work in the controversial play Blasted in 2008. He returned to Broadway in Picnic (2013) and was nominated the a Tony Award in this same category in 2014 for Casa Valentina. You may also recognize him as VP Donald Blythe in House of Cards.
Fun Fact: He is married to Constance Shulman who plays Yoga Jones in Orange is the New Black. He also moved to Paris for 5 months and traveled the world at 31, in an attempt to leave the acting business. Thank goodness he came back!
Meet Bill Camp
The Crucible (Reverend John Hale)
Training: The Juilliard School
Big Break: A 2002 Obie Award-winning actor for Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul at New York Theatre Workshop, Bill has performed in classic plays and dramas and has appeared on Broadway many times including The Seagull (1993), Heartbreak House (2006), Coram Boy (2007), and Death of a Salesman (2012). He also has appeared on film and television and you might recognize him as Glenmore in Boardwalk Empire.
Fun Fact: He took a 2 year break from acting. During that time, he cooked in restaurants, waited tables, worked as a landscaper, and fixed cars.
"I needed to draw a new perspective being in actor in New York who was always trying to get a job."-Bill Camp
Meet David Furr
Noises Off (Gary Lejeune)
Hometown: Greensboro, North Carolina
Training: Appalachian State University, University of Alabama/Alabama Shakespeare Festival (MFA in Acting)
Big Break: Making his Broadway debut in the ensemble of King Lear in 2004, he appeared in The Rivals (2004), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (2005), Cymbeline (2007), Accent on Youth (2009), and The Importance of Being Earnest (2011). He also made appearances on The Following, The Americans, and the Michael J. Fox Show.
Fun Fact: He did not catch the acting bug until he was in college and only auditioned for his first play because he met a cute girl. He also is the star of "Jersey Shore Gone Wilde," a series of Playbill videos with Santino Fontana! Seriously check them out. They're so funny!
Meet Richard Goulding
King Charles III (Prince Harry)
Hometown: Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Training: Guildhall School
Big Break: Making his Broadway debut as Prince Harry in King Charles III (also garnering an Olivier Award nomination in London for his performance), he also can be seen in the same role in the TV comedy The Windsors. Talk about type casting! He has worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company and has appeared in King Lear at BAM (2007).
Fun Fact: He's not a natural ginger! He also knows every word of Mary Poppins and Gladiator.
Meet Michael Shannon
Long Day's Journey Into Night (Jamie Tyrone)
Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky
Big Break: Michael got his big break and global attention for his work in 8 Mile (2002) and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Revolutionary Road (2008). He broke into the TV scene playing Nelson Van Alden in Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014). Before his Film/TV career took off, he worked frequently at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and made his Broadway debut in Grace (2012). You can currently see him in both Long Day's Journey Into Night and the film Elvis & Nixon.
Fun Fact: He also can sing! He is a member of an indie rock band called "Corporal." Will we get a Michael Shannon Broadway musical theatre next? One can only dream!
What fascinating stories! Who is your favorite?
Let me know in the comments below!
Check back on Sunday to
Meet the 2016 Tony Awards Nominees:
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Tom Morin is a NYC-based acting coach, co-founder of Polish Your Passion, and a professional actor/singer. He holds a B.A. in Theatre & Political Science from the College of the Holy Cross and an M.F.A. in Acting from Ohio University and has been teaching for the past 9 years, advising and coaching students through the college audition process and beyond. He loves coffee, Shakespeare, and YouTube.