Film and stage actor Christopher Plummer, perhaps forever imprinted as Captain von Trapp in musical theatre fans' minds, will be the first receipient of the Jason Robards Award for Excellence in Theatre. The prize will be awarded April 22 by the Roundabout Theatre Company at their spring gala.
Plummer co-starred with Robards in the Roundabout's 1994 production of Harold Pinter's No Man's Land. His many Broadway credits include J.B., The Royal Hunt for the Sun, The Good Doctor, Drinks Before Dinner, Macbeth and Barrymore. He crooned "Edelweiss" in "The Sound of Music," a film made early in his movie career. Plummer would also appear in "The Man Who Would Be King," "Somewhere in Time," "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country," "Malcom X" and "Twelve Monkeys."
Robards, who served on the Roundabout's board and often performed in their productions, died of cancer in December 2000. The son of the famous film actor, Robards was born in Chicago and studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and with Uta Hagen. A onetime drinker who seemed at ease with expressing the pain that can accompany life, he was especially connected to the emotionally extreme and raw characters of O’Neill: Hickey, the haunted dreamer of Iceman Cometh (the 1956 revival); the son and sibling, James Tyrone, of the original production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1956) and the older version of the same character, dissipated and hungry for connection in the critically embraced revival of A Moon for the Misbegotten (1973), with Colleen Dewhurst. He was a favorite actor of the late director, Jose Quintero, and the pair have been viewed as being responsible for breathing new life into the reputation of American playwright O’Neill. In addition to the '56 Iceman and Moon, Quintero directed Mr. Robards in A Touch of the Poet.
— By Christine Ehren
and Kenneth Jones