Mary-Louise Parker, a Tony winner for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, offered a sense in a backstage interview of what it felt like to attend tonight’s show.
“It’s really amazing,” Parker told press in a brief interview streamed to press covering the show. “On the one hand, it sort of feels like you’re back at the Tony Awards. But there is definitely something different about it because every time someone says something poignant or personal, you can hear everyone respond en masse. It’s like there’s this collective commonality that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced in a crowd that big before. It’s why some of us who love the theater so much and feel like it’s our home and our family, you really feel that tonight in a way that’s indescribable.”
Parker, a winner for her performance in two-handed Adam Rapp thriller The Sound Inside, said the Winter Garden Theatre felt different from the Tonys’ longtime home, Radio City Music Hall. The awards show was postponed multiple times due to the pandemic and then relocated to a smaller venue for Covid-19 safety reasons. Parker was among many participants in the Tonys to marvel at the mere fact of the Tonys happening and theaters returning to life after more than a year of devastating shutdown.
“I think everybody’s just happy to be in a theater,” Parker said. “A lot of the actors are just looking in the wings and thinking of what’s that like and when they’ll be standing there again. I do think it’s different, I really do.”
Parker’s award came toward the end of Part 1 of the Tonys, a trophy-packed two-hour segment that streamed on Paramount+. The second half, which is airing on CBS, is mainly devoted to music performances and a salute to Broadway’s return, but three major awards will also be given during the two-hour telecast.
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