2010 Tony Nominee Henderson Pays Tribute to Marian Seldes and August Wilson

News   2010 Tony Nominee Henderson Pays Tribute to Marian Seldes and August Wilson
 
Stephen McKinley Henderson, a 2010 Tony nominee for his performance as Jim Bono in the acclaimed revival of Fences, told Playbill.com that he "just stopped in [his] tracks" when his wife told him the news of his first Tony nomination.

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"It just thrilled me," Henderson continued. "It thrilled me to get the nomination, but it always is about [Fences playwright] August [Wilson] . . . It's always about what a privilege it was to work with him while he was here and how overjoyed he would be with this production of Fences. I mean, I know he would really be thrilled with it. And, the ten nominations. I mean, ten nominations! It's such a wonderful company to be a part of, so I just feel so blessed."

Henderson has also appeared on Broadway in the original production of Wilson's King Hedley II and in the revival of Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom as well as Drowning Crow and Dracula, the Musical,  but the actor is especially happy to be nominated this year because "they are honoring Marian Seldes with a Lifetime Achievement Award. That means so much to me, I cannot tell you, because she was such a wonderful, inspiring light when I came to New York in 1968. And, so, to be able to be at the Tonys this year when they're going to honor her lifetime achievement just adds to the whole thing. And, the fact that they're honoring the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Center that Lloyd Richards was such an important part of and where August and so many other great playwrights got a chance to be nurtured [is also meaningful]."

"I have been acting a long time," Henderson laughs, "and it has to do with tradition. It just has to do with the heritage of theatre and all those people who believed in me when I was really young and who encouraged me and sometimes bailed me out. . . . The Tony represents the legacy and the heritage of theatre. It's old school, and it's current at the same time, and so that's what [this nomination] means to me — [a nod] to [having] been faithful to my love for theatre. . . It's a joy." The limited engagement of Fences, co-starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, plays the Cort Theatre.

Denzel Washington and Stephen McKinley Henderson in <i>Fences</i>.
Denzel Washington and Stephen McKinley Henderson in Fences. Joan Marcus
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