Tonys: Best Play Contender 'Act One' to Air on PBS

3:08 PM PST 06/05/2014 by David Rooney
Joan Marcus
Santino Fontana and Tony Shalhoub in "Act One"

James Lapine's adaptation of the classic theater memoir by Moss Hart, which stars Tony Shalhoub, Santino Fontana and Andrea Martin, will be shown as part of the "Live From Lincoln Center" series.

NEW YORK – Playwright-director James Lapine's Tony-nominated theater-biz drama, Act One, will be filmed for broadcast on PBS as part of the Live From Lincoln Center series.

Based on the classic theater memoir of the same name by legendary playwright and director Moss Hart, the play chronicles his early life and his first forays into the world of Broadway, culminating in his debut collaboration with George S. Kaufman on Once in a Lifetime.

The show's large ensemble cast is headed by Tony Shalhoub, Santino Fontana (Frozen) and Andrea Martin. It opened on April 17 at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater in a limited engagement scheduled to run through June 15.

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The play is nominated for five Tony Awards, including best play and lead actor (Shalhoub), as well as scenic design, costumes and sound. No date has been set for the PBS broadcast.

Act One is competing for best play at the Tonys against Robert Schenkkan's All the Way, Harvey Fierstein's Casa Valentina, Terrence McNally's Mothers and Sons, and John Patrick Shanley's Outside Mullingar. Driven by Bryan Cranston's ferociously human performance as Lyndon B. Johnson, All the Way is favored to win the top prize. But despite Act One receiving mixed reviews, many pundits are predicting that deep affection in the theater community for Hart's beloved 1959 autobiography could help the play pull off an upset on Sunday night.

Another Lincoln Center Theater Tony contender from last season, The Nance, starring Nathan Lane, was filmed to air under the Live From Lincoln Center banner, as were the four dramas that make up Richard Nelson's The Apple Family Plays, produced at the Public Theater.

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