Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Broadway: Helen Mirren vs. Carey Mulligan for Tony Award Best Actress, Different Plays, Same Director


I don’t know how this is going to work, exactly. Much awarded and beloved director Stephen Daldry (The Reader, Billy Elliott, etc) is bringing two British productions to Broadway next spring. One is an original play by Peter Morgan– The Audience. The other is a revival– Skylight by David Hare. He directed both of them in the West End, at different times, and now he’s got them opening here at the same time.

Here’s the sticky wicket: each play has a lead actress who will compete against the other for the Tony Award for Best Actress. Helen Mirren plays Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience.” Carey Mulligan plays an ex lover trying to get on with her life in “Skylight.” Each is a sensational performance. How awkward. What will Daldry do? What will Tony voters do?

“The Audience” also features Geoffrey Beevers, Michael Elwyn, Richard McCabe, and Rufus Wright as four of the 9 prime ministers who get audiences with the Queen. Five American actors will be hired for the other roles including a woman to play Margaret Thatcher. I wonder where Kate Nelligan is. She’d be perfect. John McMartin is likely practicing a British accent as we speak.

This Broadway season is turning into quite a drama. Jeremy Gerard says today that he thinks Jeremy Jordan won’t be playing the lead when “Finding Neverland” comes to the Lunt Fontanne next winter. I think he’s right– it will be a star. Neil Patrick Harris is probably over at Harvey Weinstein’s house right now, doing magic tricks for his kids.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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