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A Tony for Fugard

“I didn’t know there were blonde Greeks,” Athol Fugard says to me as I sit down in front of him to begin our interview.
“You can make yourself a blonde Greek,” I reply back, laughing a little nervously.

I often get asked if I am starstruck by any of the people I interview. Most of the time, not really, but yesterday, when I sat down with Athol Fugard, was one of those times that I was. The Tony Awards last night honoured the celebrated South African playwright with a Lifetime Achievement accolade. He has been writing and creating theatre for 55 years. His productions like Boesman and Lena, Sizwe Bansi is Dead, Master Harold…and The Boys, and of course Tsotsi, (the film version of which went on to win an Oscar) have given a voice to South African theatre both here and abroad.

Athol Fugard accepting his Tony

I interviewed Athol Fugard on Saturday, his 79th birthday, in the New York apartment of his friend and fellow theatre colleague Susan Helferty (who won a Tony for Best Costume Design for Wicked!). In spite of his success, I found him to be humble, approachable and eager to learn to pronounce my name correctly (not many of the people I interview do!)

Here he speaks about his career highlights, Angelina Jolie (yes!) and how he’ll always be “a theatre man”.

[audio:http://missntertainment.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/athol-part-11.mp3|titles=Athol Fugard – Part 1]

In Part 2, he talks about upcoming projects and who to keep an eye on on the local theatre scene.

[audio:http://missntertainment.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Athol-Part-21.mp3|titles=Athol Fugard – Part 2]
Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler of Handspring Puppet Company

Cape Town-based Handspring Puppet Company were honoured with a special Tony for creating the puppet horses in War Horse, which won Best Play at the Tonys.

Here are the rest of the winners – and an indication of which plays you should be seeing when next visiting NYC (if they’re still on):

Best Play: War Horse

Best Musical: The Book of Mormon

Best Book of a Musical: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon

Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, creators of The Book of Mormon

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon

Best Revival of a Play: The Normal Heart

Best Revival of a Musical: Anything Goes

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Mark Rylance, Jerusalem

Best Performance by an Actress in Leading Role in a Play: Frances McDormand, Good People

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Norbert Leo Butz, Catch Me If You Can.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Sutton Foster, Anything Goes

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: John Benjamin Hickey, The Normal Heart

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play: Ellen Barkin, The Normal Heart

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: John Larroquette, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying


John Larroquette and his Tony

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: Nikki M. James, The Book of Mormon

Best Direction of a Play: Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, War Horse

Best Direction of a Musical: Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker, The Book of Mormon.

Best Choreography: Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes

Best Orchestrations: Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus, The Book of Mormon

Best Scenic Design of a Play: Rae Smith, War Horse

Best Scenic Design of a Musical: Scott Pask, The Book of Mormon

Best Costume Design of a Play: Desmond Heeley, The Importance of Being Earnest

Best Costume Design of a Musical: Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner, Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Best Lighting Design of a Play: Paule Constable, War Horse

Neil Patrick Harris rides a puppet from War Horse Pics: Tony Awards

Best Lighting Design of a Musical: Brian MacDevitt, The Book of Mormon

Best Sound Design of a Play: Christopher Shutt, War Horse

Best Sound Design of a Musical: Brian Ronan, The Book of Mormon.

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre: Philip J. Smith.

Regional Theatre Tony Award: Lookingglass Theatre Company (Chicago)

Isabelle Stevenson Award: Eve Ensler

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