Stage and screen veteran Lois Smith, a member of the Steppenwolf Theater Ensemble, won his first Tony Award on Sunday for his short but memorable performance in “The Legacy.”
In the play, Smith plays a major role that does not appear on stage until late in the play’s two-show, seven hours of playing time. Matthew Lopez’s epic uses “Howards End” as the starting point for a play that looks at gay life in the early 21st century.
“The Legacy” ran on Broadway from September 2019 and March 2020. Smith played a role derived from Vanessa Redgrave in the show’s premiere in London.
This was Smith’s third Tony nomination. Her first came in 1990 to work as Ma Joad in “The Grapes of Wrath”, a acclaimed production directed by Frank Galati, who hails from Steppenwolf in Chicago.
She joined the Steppenwolf Ensemble in 1993.
Another SteppenWolf production, of Sam Shepard’s “Buried Child”, gave Smith her second nomination after her 1996 Broadway transfer.
Smith’s film career dates back to 1955, when she made her film debut in the classic “East of Eden”. Her later credits included “Five Easy Pieces,” “Fatal Attraction,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “Dead Man Walking” and “Lady Bird.”
Another winner with local roots is Lemont native Diablo Cody, honored for writing the book for “Jagged Little Pill”, based on Alanis Morissette’s 1995 breakthrough album.
Other big winners early in the Tony broadcast were Danny Burstein, whose co-starring actor in a musical award was one of several for “Moulin Rouge! The Musical ”and“ A Christmas Carol ”, which won several technical awards.
David Alan Grier won featured actor in a play for his role in “A Soldier’s Play.” “To my other nominees: Hard banana, I won,” he said.
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