Image Credit: Joan Marcus
John Lithgow is already a legend, but he keeps getting more legendary — racking up a sixth Tony nomination for his titular turn in the Manhattan Theatre Club production of David Auburn’s The Columnist. Throughout a lengthy career in film and television, Lithgow has remained a native to the stage, earning his first Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play in 1973’s The Changing Room and his second for Best Actor in a Musical for 2002’s Sweet Smell of Success. EW sat down with the decorated theater veteran to talk Tony nominations, what it means to win and whether his eponymous Columnist could last in the digital age.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’ve been through this process so many times before—do you manage to learn something new during Tony season each year?
Mainly people ask me to talk about myself, and there’s very little about myself that I haven’t already learned. But this is special this year, I think, because every one of the award nominations I’ve had, of course, have been defined by the role that I’ve been nominated for, and this year it’s for The Columnist. But what absolutely thrills me is that this role and this play are being honored with [these awards], and they are brand new. It’s a premiere that was just sort of unleashed on the public on Broadway, which I think is incredibly courageous and adventurous. In this particular case, when nobody has seen this play before—it didn’t come from London, it didn’t come from regional theater or off Broadway—I think that’s what makes me most proud this time around.
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