NEW YORK —
But one of the biggest winners Sunday night,
The play was a hit with critics but wasn't considered a favorite to be one of the big winners of the night. It took three key awards in the play categories, including best revival.
Pam MacKinnon took the best director award, and Tracy Letts edged the better-known Nathan Lane and
Good reviews don't necessarily mean good business, however.
"Our play was extremely well received when it opened," Letts said backstage after the show. "We didn't sell a hell of a lot of tickets. We didn't do bad, but Broadway is a bottom-line business."
The play began as a revival with the Steppenwolf company in Chicago in 2010, then moved to
As the play moved around, "it just got deeper and deeper," said MacKinnon.
Actors would continue to meet and go over lines, MacKinnon said, and the company had a long rehearsal process before the curtains went up on Broadway on Oct. 13, 2012, exactly 50 years after the celebrated Albee play had first opened on Broadway.
"Virginia Woolf" didn't have any huge marquee stars; aside from Letts, who played George,
Even Letts, a surprise winner, is best known as a playwright — he wrote "August: Osage County," which won a Tony in 2008.
MacKinnon said she had no doubts about casting Letts, though.
"If you're doing it at Steppenwolf, it has to be Tracy Letts," she said.
Letts admitted that acting made him sometimes long for writing.
"When I'm acting in a play, I think 'Oh, my God, this is so hard, eight times a week, if I could only be at home, with a typewriter in the air conditioning,'" he said.
The play was scheduled to end its run in January, then was extended until February. It was extended a third time, before finally closing March 3 after 159 performances.
Soon afterward, Bette Midler's one-woman play, "I'll Eat You Last," opened in previews at the Booth Theatre, which had hosted "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
"My understanding is Bette wanted the Booth, so that's why we got kicked out," Letts said.
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