Sally Field’s upcoming Broadway role in “The Glass Menagerie” puts her in place to earn her third jewel in the Triple Crown of acting (winning a Tony, an Oscar and an Emmy.) Twenty-two other actors have achieved this status with Jessica Lange being the newest inductee earlier this year when she took home a Tony for her performance in “Long Day’s Journey into Night.”
Field will be reprising the role of Amanda Wingfield next year at Broadway’s Belasco Theater after having played the role to critical acclaim in a Kennedy Center production in 2004. Actor-turned-director-turned-actor again, Joe Mantello of “The Normal Heart,” will appear with Field alongside Emmy nominee Finn Wittrock of “American Horror Story” fame.
Throughout her TV career, Field has won three Emmy Awards: Best Drama Actress for “Brothers and Sisters” (2007), Best Drama Guest Actress for “ER” (2001), and for the landmark miniseries “Sybil” (1977). Her two Best Actress Oscars came for her work in the films “Norma Rae” (1979) and “Places in the Heart” (1984).
Hers is a true story of perseverance and late blooming in the acting world. Field started out playing silly characters on TV shows such as “Gidget” and “The Flying Nun” and appearing in car chase films like “Smokey and the Bandit” with her then-boyfriend Burt Reynolds. It was only after her discovery of the teachings of Lee Strasberg and The Actors Studio that Field was able to turn her career around and rise to a place where she could possibly be placed amongst the Triple Crown acting winners.
In order to win a Tony Award next year, Field will have to not only compete with current Broadway leading ladies such as Mary-Louise Parker in the acclaimed “Heisenberg” but also the ghost of Laurette Taylor who originated the role of Amanda Wingfield in the original production and whose performance was regarded as so indelible that few actresses could ever hope to compete with it.
This will mark the eighth Broadway production of “The Glass Menagerie” and only one other actress (Cherry Jones in the 2014 production) has even been nominated for the Tony. For Field to win, she will have to go where the likes of Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy (also a Triple Crown acting winner), Julie Harris and even Lange tried, but were ultimately unable to connect enough to be recognized by the Tony nominating committee.
And yes, should Field win another award it will once again harken back to that fabled day in 1985 when she so memorably proclaimed, “You like me, right now, you like me,” upon winning her second Oscar. The perhaps too honest expression of emotion has haunted Field for years, but then again isn’t that sentiment the reason people bestow awards in show business? We shall see if Field is the one the Tonys “like” the best.