Sarah Paulson Wins Her First Tony for Best Actress in a Play

Sarah Paulson won the Tony Award for best actress in a play for her performance in the family drama “Appropriate.” This is Paulson’s first Tony.

An Emmy winner who made her name in television, Paulson, in her first stage role in a decade, appears in the Branden Jacobs-Jenkins play as a sharp-tongued elder sister who is reunited with her siblings to deal with their deceased father’s estate.

“Appropriate,” which won best revival of a play on Sunday, became one of the buzziest shows of the year, partly because of Paulson’s star power.

The role takes endurance. Set at the family’s home in Arkansas, the play is largely propelled by the reactionary anger of Paulson’s character, Toni Lafayette, who is seeking to protect her father’s legacy from mounting evidence that he harbored racist convictions. Her approach involves searing insults aimed at her siblings, played by Michael Esper and Corey Stoll.

Thanking Jacobs-Jenkins in her acceptance speech, Paulson said: “I will never be able to convey my gratitude to you for trusting me, for letting me hold the hand of Toni Lafayette, a woman you have written who makes no apology, who isn’t begging to be liked or approved of but does hope to be seen.”

Though Paulson has found fame in television series like “American Horror Story” and “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” — winning an Emmy for her performance as the prosecutor Marcia Clark — her career has roots in theater. And she was exposed to Broadway early on. After she moved to New York City as a child, her mother worked as a waitress at Sardi’s, a Broadway haunt that just so happens to be next door to the theater where “Appropriate” opened in December.

Paulson’s first job out of high school was as an understudy on Broadway for Amy Ryan in “The Sisters Rosensweig.” (Ryan, who starred in the play “Doubt,” was also nominated in the leading actress category this year.)

The nominees also included two movie stars: Jessica Lange for “Mother Play” and Rachel McAdams for “Mary Jane.” Betsy Aidem was nominated for “Prayer for the French Republic.”

Paulson’s win carried echoes of the Tony Awards in 2005, when her girlfriend at the time, the actress Cherry Jones, won the award for her performance in the original production of “Doubt.” Paulson, who was seated beside her, kissed Jones ahead of her acceptance speech, coming out publicly for the first time as being in a relationship with a woman.

On Sunday, when she won the award, Paulson kissed her longtime partner, the actress Holland Taylor.

Source: Theater -


‘Stereophonic’ Wins the Tony Award for Best New Play

Jonathan Groff’s Star Turn in ‘Merrily We Roll Along’ Lands Him His First Tony