Chicago’s Jessie Mueller and “Clybourne Park” up for Tonys
By Hedy Weiss Theater Critic firstname.lastname@example.org May 1, 2012 8:29PM
Jessie Mueller performs in her Tony-nominated role in “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” in New York.
Updated: June 3, 2012 8:17AM
The list of Broadway’s Tony Awards nominations invariably arrives with Chicago links, and this year is no exception.
Jessie Mueller, who forged her career here at such theaters as Drury Lane Oakbrook, the Marriott Theatre and Chicago Shakespeare (and whose father, sister and brother all are Chicago actors), was nominated for best performance by an actress in a featured role in a musical for her Broadway debut, opposite Harry Connick Jr., in “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.” Although the radically re-envisioned show lasted only briefly on Broadway, it won great attention for Mueller. She already has been cast in her next plum role — playing Cinderella in the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” this summer at the New York Public Theater’s prestigious Shakespeare in the Park.
“Clybourne Park,” which was nominated as best new play of the season, is the work of Bruce Norris — a graduate of Northwestern University who has enjoyed a long association with Steppenwolf Theatre. The play, which received the 2011 Pulitzer Prize and is a contemporary riff on Lorraine Hansberry’s Chicago classic “A Raisin in the Sun,” has been produced in London and on the Steppenwolf stage, as well as in New York.
Set designer Daniel Ostling, a Lookingglass Theatre ensemble member who teaches at Northwestern University, also garnered a nomination for his work on “Clybourne Park.” He most recently created the set for Chicago Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
In other synchronous Tony news: Jon Robin Baitz’s “Other Desert Cities,” another nominee for “best play,” is headed to the Goodman Theatre next season. And such actors as Philip Seymour Hoffman, Linda Emond, Spencer Kayden and Jayne Houdyshell — all of whom have worked on Chicago stages — are among this year’s nominees.