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Originally published June 8, 2014 at 9:31 PM | Page modified June 9, 2014 at 9:57 AM

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Seattle playwright’s ‘All the Way’ nabs best-play Tony

Seattle playwright Robert Schenkkan accepted the 2014 Tony Award for best play, for his LBJ bio-drama, “All the Way.”


Seattle Times theater critic

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The odds were heavily in his favor, but it was still a thrill for many Pacific Northwest theater followers when local playwright Robert Schenkkan accepted the 2014 Tony Award for best play, for his LBJ bio-drama, “All the Way.”

It was the second honor of the night for “All the Way” — “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston won best actor in a play for his much touted performance as President Lyndon Johnson. (Seattle Repertory Theatre has co-commissioned Schenkkan’s sequel to “All the Way,” “The Great Society,” with Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The OSF will premiere the drama this summer. Both LBJ plays will be staged at Seattle Rep this fall, starring OSF actor Jack Willis.)

Schenkkan, a Madison Valley resident who won the prestigious Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association and Drama Desk awards for “All the Way,” was previously nominated for a Tony in 1994. That was for his epic history drama “The Kentucky Cycle,” which had its world premiere at Intiman Theatre in Seattle and won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Schenkkan couldn’t be reached for comment by presstime.

According to Playbill.com, when Cranston was asked backstage if he’d consider reprising his performance as LBJ in “The Great Society,” he replied, “I would never say never. But, it almost feels like when you just had a baby and people say, 'You gonna have another one?’ ”

Another honoree of interest to Seattle audiences was James Monroe Iglehart, whose role as the ebullient Genie in “Aladdin” earned him a Tony for best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical. He appeared in that role in 2011, when “Aladdin” had a pre-Broadway tryout at the 5th Avenue Theatre. The current Broadway production also features two Seattle actors, Brandon O’Neill and Don Darryl Rivera. The show was nominated for five Tonys in all, including best musical; that award went to the lauded comedy “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.”

Brian Yorkey, a former Village Theatre staffer who grew up in Issaquah, was nominated for his lyrics to composer Tom Kitt’s music, for the musical “If/Then.” Yorkey and Kitt won a Tony in 2009 for their score for the musical “Next to Normal.”

Audra McDonald won her sixth Tony for portraying Billie Holiday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” putting her ahead of five-time winners Angela Lansbury and the late Julie Harris.

The latest win — for best lead actress in a play — also makes her the first grand-slam performance winner. She previously won as best featured actress in a play (“A Raisin in the Sun,” “Master Class”), best lead actress in a musical (“The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess”) and best featured actress in a musical (“Ragtime,” “Carousel”).

Other winners announced at the 68th annual Tony Awards ceremony:

Best performance by an actor in a featured role in a play: Mark Rylance, “Twelfth Night.”

Best performance by an actress in a featured role in a musical: Lena Hall, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

Best direction of a musical: Darko Tresnjak, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.”

Best direction of a play: Kenny Leon, “A Raisin in the Sun.”

Best score: Jason Robert Brown, “The Bridges of Madison County.”

Best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play: Sophie Okonedo, “A Raisin in the Sun.”

Best revival of a play: “A Raisin in the Sun.”

Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical: Neil Patrick Harris, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

Best revival of a musical: “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical: Jessie Mueller, “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Misha Berson: mberson@seattletimes.com



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