Although there’s definitely no shortage of glitz and glamour at the Tony Awards, one group of nominees at this year’s show promises to raise the already incredibly glam standard even higher.
The women nominated for best performance by an actress in a leading role in a play – Jessica Lange, Laurie Metcalf, Lupita Nyong’o, Sophie Okonedo and Michelle Williams – not only have major onstage talent, but they also shine just as brightly offstage.
Nyong’o, 33, who is nominated for her role in Eclipsed (which garnered six total nominations), recently penned an essay answering the question of why she would take a break from Hollywood to appear in a small stage production.
“This question felt quite silly. I mean, I’m an actress; why wouldn’t I want to be in an incredible, gorgeous, meaty piece about the complicated choices of women during wartime?” she wrote in a May edition of feminist newsletter Lenny Letter.
“The chance to appear in Eclipsed after winning an Oscar was an opportunity to share in the incredible (and too rare) freedom of playing a fully rendered African woman,” she added. “The playwright, Danai Gurira, has conceived a drama where the only people onstage are women.”
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Nyong’o’s fellow nominees also show off their acting chops, playing dynamic, nuanced female characters onstage: Lange as a wife and mother struggling with addiction in Long Day’s Journey into Night, Metcalf as a crazed fan in the stage adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery, Okonedo as the iconic Goody Proctor in The Crucible and Williams as a woman caught in a morally questionable relationship with an older man in Blackbird.
The Tony Awards will be hosted live by James Corden on June 12 (8 p.m. ET) on CBS.