Look Who's Back!: Tony-winning Performers Return to Broadway

Tony Awards   Look Who's Back!: Tony-winning Performers Return to Broadway A host of Tony-winning actors came back to Broadway this season, offering acclaimed performances in several productions.

A host of Tony-winning actors came back to Broadway this season, offering acclaimed performances in several productions.

The revival of Michael Frayn's Noises Off — currently playing the Brooks Atkinson Theatre — boasts three past Tony winners. Evita star Patti LuPone, who was last on Broadway in David Mamet's The Old Neighborhood, stars as the dotty Dotty Otley in Frayn's backstage farce. LuPone is joined by Faith Prince, who nabbed her Tony in Guys and Dolls, and Richard Easton, who garnered his award for his work in last season's The Invention of Love.

Another revival, Morning's at Seven, at the Lyceum Theatre, features Elizabeth Franz —the 1999 Tony-winning star of Death of a Salesman — and Frances Sternhagen as two of four sisters who evaluate their lives in Paul Osborn's play. Sternhagen, known around the world as Cliff Clavin's overbearing mother on TV's "Cheers," has won two Tonys: one for her work in The Good Doctor and another for her performance in the Cherry Jones revival of The Heiress.

The critically acclaimed production of Fortune's Fool (Music Box Theatre) casts Alan Bates (a 1973 Tony winner for Butley) opposite Frank Langella (a 1975 Tony winner for Seascape) in Mike Poulton's adaptation of Ivan Turgenev's play.

Three of the season's musical productions also feature Tony winners on their respective stages. The Trevor Nunn-Susan Stroman Oklahoma!, playing the George Gershwin Theatre, stars Andrea Martin as the lovable Aunt Eller. Martin, who starred in the comedy series "SCTV," nabbed her first Tony for her riotous performance in the musical version of My Favorite Year. John Cullum, who is spending his nights in Urinetown, was awarded a 1975 Tony for his leading role in Shenandoah and another award for On the Twentieth Century. And, that ABBA hit at the Winter Garden Theatre, Mamma Mia!, stars Broadway veteran Judy Kaye as Rosie. Kaye, a Tony winner for her role as Carlotta in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, has also appeared on Broadway in Ragtime and On the Twentieth Century. Two one-woman shows also spotlighted the talents of past Tony winners. Barbara Cook — who was awarded a Tony for the original mounting of Meredith Willson's The Music Man — celebrated the songs of Stephen Sondheim (and those tunes the composer wished he had written) in Barbara Cook in Mostly Sondheim, which returns to Lincoln Center in June. Bea Arthur, the star of TV's "Maude" and "The Golden Girls," also played a brief run on Broadway in the aptly titled Bea Arthur on Broadway. Arthur, who won a Tony in Mame, offered favorite stories, recollections and anecdotes as well as some of her most-loved songs.

Some of the other Tony winners in this season's productions? Ian McKellen, who garnered an Academy Award nomination for his performance in this season's "Lord of the Rings," returned to Broadway opposite Helen Mirren in Dance of Death. McKellen, a stage favorite in London and New York, won his Tony for the original production of Amadeus. Mercedes Ruehl, a 1991 Tony winner for Lost in Yonkers, stars in Edward Albee's controversial The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? at the Golden Theatre, and Jeffrey Wright heads the cast of this year's Pulitzer Prize winner, Topdog/Underdog, at the Ambassador Theatre. Wright won his Tony in Tony Kushner's epic production, Angels in America: Perestroika, which, like Topdog, featured direction by George C. Wolfe.