The truth of that old theatrical saying that there are no small parts, only small actors, was redeemed last season on Broadway, with a bevy of featured performances that transcended their limited stage time and reminded us that brilliance is not a function of billing.
These six standout performers, all in contention for Tony Awards on Sunday, did more than call attention to their own dazzling talents. They distilled something essential in the unique theatricality of their shows.
There may have been more titanic supporting performances. Nathan Lane as a ferociously Trump-ed up Roy M. Cohn and Denise Gough as a desperately anguished Harper in “Angels in America” are both likely to be (deservedly) rewarded for their outsize intensity. And few of the featured nominees can compete with the star wattage of opera diva Renée Fleming, who hypnotizes the audience into a state of bliss when she sings “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in “Carousel.”