Meet the 2016 Tony Awards Nominees: Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

This talented group of ladies tackled some of the most ridiculously challenging dramatic roles on Broadway! Pouring their hearts out 8 shows a week, they gave us risky, emotionally charged performances that captured the complexity of the human spirit.

Today's Spotlight: Best Performance by an

Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Meet Jessica Lange

Long Day's Journey Into Night (Mary Tyrone)

Hometown: Cloquet, Minnesota

Training: University of Minnesota (Art & Photography), student of Etienne Decroux in Paris

Big Break: One of the greatest film/TV/stage actresses in history, Jessica was first discovered by Wilhelmina Modeling Agency and made her film debut in the 1976 remake of King Kong. She went on to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Tootsie (1982) and Best Actress for Blue Sky (1994). She also has been nominated for Academy Awards for her work in Frances (1982), Country (1984), Sweet Dreams (1985), and Music Box (1989) and plays beloved characters in All That Jazz (1979) and Big Fish (2003). On TV, she starred as Big Edie in HBO's Grey Gardens (2009) and has numerous awards for her work during several seasons of American Horror Story (2011-2015). On Broadway, she appeared as Blanche Du Bois in A Streetcar Named Desire (1992) and Amanda in The Glass Menagerie (2005). This is shockingly her first Tony Award nomination.

Fun Fact: Jessica is a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Children's Fund. She is also a professional photographer and has several photo-books and has brought exhibits to many countries around the world.

Meet Laurie Metcalf

Misery (Annie Wilkes)

Hometown: Edwardsville, Illinois

Training: Illinois State University

Big Break: Perhaps best known as Jackie, Roseanne Barr's sister on the 90's sitcom Roseanne (winning 3 Emmy Awards for her work on the show), and more recently for The McCarthys, Getting On, and The Big Bang Theory, Laurie is an accomplished stage veteran. She is a founding member of the legendary Steppenwolf Theatre Company and gained major attention in 1983 when she played Darlene in Balm in Gilead, a character who has a 21 minute monologue. She has appeared on Broadway in My Thing Of Love (1995), November (2008; Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play), Brighton Beach Memoirs (2009), and "The Other Place" (2013; Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Play). On film, she is the animated voice of Mrs. Davis in Toy Story and Debbie Loomis/Debbie Salt in Scream 2.