Sally Field already has two Oscars and three Emmys. Now she is in contention at the Tonys for the first time for her acclaimed performance in a revival of “The Glass Menagerie.” She vies in the competitive Best Actress (Play) race for her sensitive portrayal of Amanda Wingfield in Tennessee Williams‘ paean to his mother.
“The Glass Menagerie” first came to Broadway in 1945, two years before the Tonys were first presented. As Amanda, Laurette Taylor gave a performance that was talked about along the rialto for decades. Indeed, Katharine Hepburn called it the greatest she had ever seen.
Since then, there have been six revivals on the rialto. Only the most recent, in 2013, headed up by two-time Tony champ Cherry Jones reaped any bids for the cast. Jones lost the Best Actress race to Audra McDonald, who picked up a record sixth Tony for “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” while featured players Brian J. Smith and Celia Keenan-Bolger were defeated by Mark Rylance (“Twelfth Night”) and Sophie Okonedo (“A Raisin in the Sun”) respectively.
Prior to that all the leading ladies who had portrayed Amanda on Broadway had been snubbed by theater’s top honors, including Tony darlings Maureen Stapleton (1965, 1975), Jessica Tandy (1983) and Julie Harris (1994) as well as two-time Oscar champ Jessica Lange (2005). Likewise for the featured cast members which included Rip Torn, Bruce Davison, Zeljko Ivanek and Christian Slater as Amanda’s son Tom as well as Piper Laurie, Amanda Plummer, Calista Flockhart and Sarah Paulson as her daughter Laura.
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