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With ‘Jerusalem’ Performance, Is Mark Rylance A Shoo-In For ‘Best Actor’ Tony?

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(L-R) Cast members Molly Ranson, Mark Page, Mark Rylance, Geraldine Hughes and Danny Kirrane at a curtain call at the opening night of ‘Jerusalem’ on Broadway at The Music Box Theatre on April 21, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

(L-R) Cast members Molly Ranson, Mark Page, Mark Rylance, Geraldine Hughes and Danny Kirrane at a curtain call at the opening night of ‘Jerusalem’ on Broadway at The Music Box Theatre on April 21, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

WCBS 880′s Jim Taylor shares his thoughts on Broadway and the 2011 Tony Awards. He will be blogging about his picks and predictions on the nominees, and will cover the awards from the red carpet on June 12th.

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Give him the Tony.

Sorry Al Pacino, but it belongs to Mark Rylance for his performance in Jerusalem. He is without a doubt the most gifted Broadway actor of our time.

I think.

There is also little question that had he not done the show in which he’s nominated for a Tony, he would have been quite fairly nominated for his brilliant turn in ‘La Bete’. But he is even more impressive in ‘Jerusalem’, in which he spends three hours of ranting and raving and espousing a certain liberal viewpoint about drugs, alcohol, and teenagers. He is astounding. It is the most visceral performance of the season and he should rightfully win the Tony for best actor in a play.

It’s not for no reason there aren’t a lot of other nominations for the play. In fact, if there were an award for juiciest role in a non-consequential show, this would be it. Mr. Rylance is at times not well-supported by his supporting players, some of whom crossed the Atlantic to reprise this London production.

The thing is also, as mentioned, three hours long. These days, that makes a long time in the theatre. But although ‘Jerusalem’ could use some editing (I mean some points are made with a sledgehammer, others driven home repeatedly – and come on, the third act could have been shortened to fifteen minutes and been done with it), I never felt let down by Mr. Rylance. Wether drenched in water, booze or blood he is mesmerizing. Although, I have to admit I worried about the goldfish. I hope the SPCA is keeping tabs.

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