by Mo Brady
Award Season is always a bittersweet time in the theatre community. While it is exciting to celebrate the actors recognized for Tony Awards and other accolades, it’s also a time where we remember that many of our industry’s most incredible contributors have never been eligible for Tony Awards.
Actors’ Equity Association’s #EveryoneOnStage campaign is trying to change that by petitioning for the creation of two new categories for the 2019 season—Best Chorus in a Musical or Play, and Best Ensemble in a Musical or Play.
In the spirit of “Everyone On Stage” these would be our nominees for “Best Actors Never (yet) Eligible for a Tony Award.”
Adrian is a true Broadway legend. He made his Broadway debut in 1980 as a swing dancer in Your Arms Too Short to Box With God and went on to originate tracks in Sophisticated Ladies, Jelly’s Last Jam and The Wild Party. Adrian also has an extensive career as a Broadway understudy, covering stars from Gregory Hines to Norm Lewis. His last Broadway appearance was in the original company of the 2008 musical The Little Mermaid, almost three decades after he made his debut.
Mary Ann Lamb
MaryAnn Lamb made her Broadway debut covering Charlotte d’Amboise in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song and Dance, and went on to dance on Broadway stages for more than two decades. In the late 1980s she was an original cast member of both the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, and the infamous Broadway flop Carrie. She originated the role of June in the long-running Broadway revival of Chicago. In 2007, she created the role of Mona Page in Kander and Ebb’s Curtains.
In a career spanning more than four decades, Cynthia Onrubia has had a hand in creating some of Broadway’s most-beloved musicals. She made her Broadway debut while still in high school as a replacement in the original production of A Chorus Line. She originated roles in Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, and created the role of white cat Victoria in the Original Broadway cast of Cats. Cynthia also assisted Jerome Robbins on the original production of Jerome Robbins’ Broadway and was the associate choreographer for both the 1998 and 2014 Broadway revivals of Cabaret.
William Ryall’s Broadway career spans 14 Broadway shows, from the original production of Me and My Girl to the most recent revival of Anything Goes. He created the roles of the Grinch in Seussical, Edmund in High Society and Franz Kohl in Grand Hotel. He is currently in the Broadway cast of Wicked, performing in the ensemble as well as covering the roles of Doctor Dillamond and the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
A true grande dame of Broadway, Jennifer Smith has created ensemble tracks in four Broadway musicals in just this decade alone: Anastasia, Tuck Everlasting, A Gentleman’s Guide and Nice Work If You Can Get It. She was an original company member of both La Cage Aux Folles in 1983 and The Secret Garden in 1991, as well as originating the roles of Kitty in The Drowsy Chaperone and Lick-Me Bite-Me in The Producers. Currently, she performs in the ensemble and covers the role of Dowager Empress in Broadway’s Anastasia.