Jessica Lange on How Her Character in Mother Play Spans an 'Emotional Range From A to Z' | Playbill

Tony Awards Jessica Lange on How Her Character in Mother Play Spans an 'Emotional Range From A to Z'

Plus, find out what enticed Lange to return to the stage in the new Paula Vogel Broadway play.

Jessica Lange Vi Dang

Tony, Oscar, and Emmy Award winner Jessica Lange is up for her second Tony this season for her performance as Phyllis in Mother Play on Broadway. 

Lange's list of credits is extensive, having performed in the 1992 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire and 2005 revival of The Glass Menagerie, along with numerous film and TV roles—in Tootsie, Big Fish, and American Horror Story, to name a few. Her most recent film, The Great Lillian Hall, was released at the end of May.

For her performance in Long Day's Journey Into Night on Broadway, Lange won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, the same category in which she is currently nominated. As for Mother Play, at the official Tony Awards Meet the Nominees press event, Lange said there were several reasons why she chose to take on the project.

"For me, the main [draw] is that it's never been done before," Lange says. "It's a brand new play, never been seen—no Off-Broadway, or try-outs out of town or anything. We just landed there and started, not knowing, really. With something that's brand new, [you wonder] 'Does it work? Does it not work? What works? What doesn't work?' And then to create a character that's never been done before, I mean, that really was what enticed me to do it. And also just because this character is so big. [Mother Play] covers 40 years in this woman's life, and the emotional range goes from A to Z. And it's a very physical part, too."

And what has driven Lange throughout her admirable career? "Family has always been what's motivated me to do everything," she says.

READ: To Paula Vogel, Writing Is a 'Hot, Throbbing, Very Wonderful, Brave Act'

Jessica Lange Heather Gershonowitz

The 77th Annual Tony Awards are set for June 16 at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater. The evening will kick off with The Tony Awards: Act One, streaming for free on Pluto TV. Details are to be announced. The 77th Annual Tony Awards will follow beginning at 8 PM ET, broadcasting live on CBS (check local listings) and streaming live (for premium-level subscribers) via Paramount+. All Paramount+ subscribers will have on demand access to the broadcast beginning June 17. Stage and screen star Ariana DeBose will be back for the third consecutive year to host.

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Photos: Meet The 2024 Tony Award Nominees

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