Their Favorite Things: Two-Time Tony Nominee Tony Roberts Shares His Theatregoing Experiences

Favorite Things   Their Favorite Things: Two-Time Tony Nominee Tony Roberts Shares His Theatregoing Experiences Two-time Tony nominee Tony Roberts, most recently on Broadway in Xanadu and The Royal Family, reveals stories from his life and career in his new memoir "Do You Know Me?," which he will celebrate Dec. 15 at The Drama Book Shop beginning at 5 PM. Here, the stage and screen star shares the performances that most affected him as part of the audience.
Tony Roberts in <i>Xanadu</i>
Tony Roberts in Xanadu Photo by Paul Kolnik

Orson Welles’ production of Around the World

I was seven years old, and feathers fell from the center chandelier at the final bows. I got to keep one. The show was full of surprises and a great spectacle.

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William Prince and Katharine Hepburn in As You Like It at age 11 

Don’t really know why, but it was visually exotic, playful and compelling. Grown-ups in a forest with odd clothes on having fun.

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Laurence Olivier in The Entertainer at 15 

At one point he threw his gloves to a person in the third row two seats away from me. I wanted them desperately. He was bigger than life, magnetic and very alive. It seemed as if he had never done it before. As though he didn’t know how it was going to come out.

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My Fair Lady at 17 

I saw it three times and knew the album backwards and forwards. Fell in love with Julie Andrews. Never met her. Worked with her 40 years later in Victor/Victoria and fell in love with her again.

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West Side Story at age 20 

Couldn’t move until the ushers came to snap me back to reality. It was assaultive in a very satisfying way. There was no way to avoid its impact.

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Zero Mostel in Rhinoceros 

Fiercely funny and passionately angry at the same time about conformity. It was theatre with a purpose.

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Jason Robards in Long Day’s Journey Into Night 

It seemed to me it was about everything under the sun. It was so long yet flew by in minutes. It left indelible images of a tortured family.

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Hair 

I saw the last preview of the original before it opened on Broadway. Didn’t want it to end. It didn’t. It was the beginning of a long party still going on.

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Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? the first and last time around

A perfect piece of theatre. I once played George. Not as well as Tracy Letts, but I played him.

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Gypsy with Ethel Merman 

This show had everything without a single dead spot. Jokes, dancing, kids, drama, pathos, etc. And thanks to Merman you could hear everybody! (Without mics!)

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