News & Politics

James Earl Jones, Barbara Harris, Edward Albee — It’s Obies 1962!


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May 31, 1962, Vol. VII, No. 32

Obies 1962

By Jerry Tallmer

James Earl Jones, 31, born Tate County, Mississippi, raised by his grandparents on a wilderness farm near Jackson, Michigan, the second of his family and first of his high-school graduating class ever to go to college — pre-med at the University of Michigan — is the Best Actor of the off-Broadway season of 1961-1962. He is the son of an actor and long-time Villager, Robert Earl Jones. This year they worked together for many weeks in a hit off-Broadway show, Errol John’s “Moon on a Rainbow Shawl,” playing a pair of neighbors in the Trinidad slums who have a father-son relationship…

“You want to know about acting with my father? It’s frightening for me in a way. It’s not that I think he expects a lot of me as an actor, it’s that I know he knows me so well — since ’55, ’54, whenever I first met him. We made up for, you know, the 21 years. So in acting he always knows better, knows what I’m thinking. He as an actor believes in EXTREME truth…”

Season 1961-1962

Best Actor: James Earl Jones (New York Shakespeare Festival, “Clandestine on the Morning Line,” “The Apple,” “Moon on a Rainbow Shawl”)
Best Actress: Barbara Harris (“Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad”)
Best Director: John Wulp (“Red Eye of Love”)
Best American Play: “Who’ll Save The Plowboy?” by Frank D. Gilroy
Best Foreign Play: “Happy Days” by Samuel Beckett
Best Musical: “Fly Blackbird” by C. Jackson, James Hatch, and Jerome Eskow
Distinguished Performances, Actors: Clayton Corzatte (APA Reportory), Geoff Garland (“The Hostage”), Gerald O’Loughlin (“Who’ll Save the Plowboy?”), Paul Roebling (“This Side of Paradise”)
Distinguished Performances, Actresses: Sudie Bond (Theatre of the Absurd), Vinnette Carroll (“Moon on a Rainbow Shawl”), Rosemary Harris (APA Reportory), Ruth White (“Happy Days”)
Best Set: Norris Houghton (“Who’ll Save the Plowboy?”)
Special Citation: Ellis Raab
Special Citation: “The Hostage”
Judges: Edward Albee, Walter Kerr, Jerry Tallmer

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 18, 2009


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