Performing artists are rarely invited to deliver the commencement speech at Harvard. In a statement, University president Lawrence H. Summers said, "John Lithgow personifies Harvard's devotion to the creative arts."
Lithgow added, "Harvard's Commencement platform is a very different kind of stage for me, but one I am very excited and honored to have the privilege to speak from."
Lithgow will not appear in the June 9 performance of Broadway's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Tom Galantich steps in to play suave Lawrence Jameson.
Lithgow won the Best Actor Tony Award for Sweet Smell of Success and was nominated for his work in the current Broadway musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, at the Imperial Theatre.
Performances are Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday-Saturday at 8 PM, Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM, and Sunday at 3 PM. The Imperial Theatre is located at 249 West 45th Street.