"I have been so lucky to have grown up in two areas of the country that allowed me to see Broadway stars pre and post their great performances in New York," Nielsen told Playbill.com. "At the Cape Cod Melody Tent as a child, I saw Zero Mostel in Fiddler, Carol Channing in Lorelei, Elaine Stritch in Mame and at the Cape Playhouse, Geraldine Page in The Little Foxes and Tallulah Bankhead in a play I can't remember the name of, but she sure made an impression!
"But I am going to try and be faithful to what I saw on the Broadway stage and what I struggled to save for and spend my money on."
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Her honest, searing truth as a wife torn between the love of her husband and her love in her Catholic faith made an impossible role so human and devastating.
Dorothy Loudon in Noises Off
She nearly killed me, I laughed so hard.
Raul Julia in Arms and the Man
His strutting, prancing Sergius was the total alpha male, including hilarious vulnerability.
Her triple take on the balcony when she sees Elyot again is untouchable.
They were so good together and so sexy and so smart. Electric.
Donal McCann in Juno and the Paycock
I think I was in the last row of the balcony and had driven all night to get there, but his fleshy, brooding drunken coward still haunts me.
Morgan Freeman in Gospel at Colonus
It was just the best way to see a Greek tragedy and dance to the incredible gospel music with this magnetic preacher-man — such charisma!
They were all so delicious, but I still remember Jerry Orbach coming out of the shadows with his wonderful slouchy full-body profile as the ultimate shyster lawyer.
She just spoke the truth and broke your heart.
The entire original ensemble of Glengarry Glen Ross
They were all non-celebrities, all American, all wonderful and most had come from the great regional theatres.