“It’s a wonderful play that hasn’t been done for a long time. We’re with a remarkable company,” said Laura Linney on “Today” about her Broadway play “The Little Foxes,” for which she was just nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress. This revival of Lillian Hellman‘s 1939 play is unique in that Linney and her co-star Cynthia Nixon periodically swap roles: the lead role of manipulative Regina Giddens and the featured role of her alcoholic sister-in-law Birdie.
“It was an idea that came to me,” said Linney about the decision to trade the two roles back and forth. “I had been cast as Regina and remembered that Cynthia had always wanted to play Regina, and I had always wanted to play Birdie. So I thought, ‘Why don’t we switch off?’ Men do it all the time, but it’s the first time women have ever done it on Broadway.”
But while both women get to play both roles, the Tony Awards only considered them for one performance: Linney as Regina and Nixon as Birdie. As a result, they both earned Tony nominations but won’t have to compete against each other since Nixon is up for Best Featured Actress while Linney contends as a lead. Overall the show is up for six Tonys including Best Play Revival, Best Direction of a Play (Daniel Sullivan), Best Featured Actor in a Play (Richard Thomas) and Best Costume Design of a Play (Jane Greenwood) in addition to the noms for Linney and Nixon.
This is Linney’s fourth Tony nom. She was previously nominated for Best Actress for the plays “The Crucible” (2002), “Sight Unseen” (2005) and “Time Stands Still” (2010), but she has yet to win. Nixon is also nominated for the fourth time, but she’s already a Tony winner for Best Actress for “Rabbit Hole” (2006). She also earned bids for her featured role in “Indiscretions” (1995) and her leading performance in “Wit” (2012).
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