Friday, July 12, 2024

Broadway: If Laurie Metcalf Doesn’t Win Another Tony Award This Season She’s Already Signed Up to Try Again Next Spring with “Virginia Woolf”


Last year, Laurie Metcalf won her second Tony Award in a row for “Three Tall Women.” OK, it was for a supporting role. But she’d just won the year before in lead for “A Doll’s House, Pt. 2.”

This year, she’ll be up again for playing Hillary Clinton in “Hillary and Clinton.” Will she win? Could be. Her competition is Janet McTeer, whose “Bernhardt/Hamlet” ran in the fall. (She was extraordinary.) And there’s Elaine May and Glenda Jackson, for “Waverly Gallery” and “King Lear.” Jackson won last year for “Three Tall Women.”

Well, just in case this year is a strike out, Metcalf has just been announced to star in Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”(Didn’t we just have this play with Tracey Letts? Yes, in 2013, seems like yesterday.) Her co-star is Eddie Izzard, a weird choice, but ok. (Maybe he’ll be a cross dressing George.) Joe Mantello is directing. Russell Tovey and Patsy Ferran will co-star.

It’s a limited engagement, meant for Metcalf as a space bar between seasons of “The Conners.” Just like “Hillary and Clinton,” which ends July 21st.

Metcalf and John Lithgow are having a ball at the Golden Theater, where their Clinton dramedy-fantasy opens on April 18th. They’re so engaging on stage, you won’t want to miss them. Maureen Dowd recounts a few plot points in a story this weekend, so I don’t feel bad saying now that the play is a fantasy. Almost none of it happened. Playwright Lucas Hnath has just made it up. He doesn’t have any inside information, just the stuff we all know. He’s just reprocessed it dramatically, and with some sharp insights.

One thing about “Hillary and Clinton” that people may find jarring is the presence of Barack Obama on the eve of the 2008 New Hampshire primary. He basically blackmails Hillary out of the race. That didn’t happen, and wouldn’t have happened. The play makes no mention of John Edwards, whose actual lying about having a pregnant mistress cost Hillary votes and delegates. It was really Edwards’ fault that Obama picked up speed during that time.

But Laurie Metcalf is having her moment, her golden years. And why not?

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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