The Playbill Vault Celebrates Tony Award Winner Rosemary Harris

News   The Playbill Vault Celebrates Tony Award Winner Rosemary Harris Tony Award winner Rosemary Harris celebrates her birthday Sept. 19. To mark the special day, the Playbill Vault looks back at highlights from her Broadway stage career.

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In 1965 Harris appeared in a revival of George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart's Pulitzer Prize-winning play You Can't Take It With You. The production opened at the Lyceum Theatre Nov. 23, 1965, with Harris as Alice Sycamore, Donald Moffat as Martin Vanderhof, Dee Victor as Penelope Sycamore, Jennifer Harmon as Essie and Clayton Corzatte as Tony Kirby.

Howard Taubman of the New York Times praised the "lively" revival. He wrote: "In the hands of subtle, sensitive actors like Rosemary Harris and Clayton Corzatte even the romantic scences, regarded as obligatory in farces of this order, take on an unexpected delicacy."

Read the You Can't Take It With You Playbill here.

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Harris' next Broadway role was in the Broadway premiere of James Goldman's drama The Lion in Winter. Robert Preston starred as King Henry II of England with Harris as Eleanor, Henry's wife. The cast also featured Christopher Walken as Philip and Hair co-creator James Rado as Richard.

The play opened March 3, 1966, at the Ambassador Theatre, where it ran for 92 performances. The New York Times' Stanley Kauffmann called Harris' display of "dazzling acting resources" the "marvel" of the evening. "As an admirer of some standing," he wrote, "I have never seen her show more scintillating virtuosity."

Harris received the 1966 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her work. The Lion in Winter was later adapted into a 1968 film of the same name starring Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn.

Read the Lion in Winter Playbill here.

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Harris starred in a 1975 production of the George S. Kaufman-Edna Ferber comedy The Royal Family, which first arrived in New York at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and moved to Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre on Dec. 30, 1975. She played Julie Cavendish opposite Eva Le Gallienne as Fanny Cavendish, George Grizzard as Tony Cavendish and Sam Levene as Oscar Wolfe.

Clive Barnes of the New York Times described Harris as "lovely...an actress so marvelous in comedy that I would like to see her more often in tragedy." She received a Tony Award nomination for her portrayal of Julie Cavendish, but lost to Irene Worth in Sweet Bird of Youth.

In 2009 Harris appeared in another Broadway mounting of The Royal Family, this time in the role of matriarch Fanny Cavendish, and was again Tony-nominated for her work.

Read the 1975 The Royal Family Playbill here.

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In 1999 Harris took on the role of May Davenport opposite Lauren Bacall as Lotta Bainbridge in the Broadway premiere of Noël Coward's Waiting in the Wings. The cast also included Amelia Campbell, Patricia Conolly, Rosemary Murphy and Dana Ivey.

Though critics felt Bacall was miscast, Harris and the supporting cast were praised for their work. In his review for the New York Times, Ben Brantley wrote: "Wings provides a rare and welcome chance to see a host of actresses over 60 demonstrating, with gratifying relish, that they still have the wattage to light up a Broadway stage."

Harris received a 2000 Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Play, but her daughter Jennifer Ehle, who had been nominated in the same category for her role in The Real Thing, took home the award.

Read the Waiting in the Wings Playbill here.

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Harris was most recently seen on Broadway in the 2012 production of Athol Fugard's The Road to Mecca. The nine-time Tony nominee can currently be seen in the Off-Broadway premiere of Tom Stoppard's Indian Ink. The Roundabout Theatre Company production began previews Sept. 4 at the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre and will officially open Sept. 30.

Click here to explore Rosemary Harris' theatrical history in the Vault.

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