Robin Williams goes for the EGOT in ‘Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo’
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Robin Williams may be on the verge of becoming the 11th person in showbiz history to reap the EGOT: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Based on the strong reviews he’s getting for portraying the title character in ‘Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo’ on stage, he’ll certainly be nominated for a Tony Award and might even win on June 12.
Williams earned an Oscar for ‘Good Will Hunting’ (1997), four Grammy Awards for best comedy album and two Emmys in the category for individual performances in a variety TV special: ‘ABC Presents: A Royal Gala’ in 1988 and ‘Carol, Carl, Whoopi and Robin’ in 1987.
All he needs now is Broadway’s top trophy to pull off a rare sweep of the grand slam of showbiz peer-group awards. At the upcoming Tonys, he faces tough competition in the race for lead actor in a play, including James Earl Jones (‘Driving Miss Daisy’), Joe Mantello (‘The Normal Heart’), Al Pacino (‘The Merchant of Venice’) and Mark Rylance (‘Jerusalem’).
Of Williams’ performance in ‘Bengal,’ the L.A. Times says, ‘Concerns that the actor might turn this into a vehicle for his signature shtick are dispelled right way: Williams is in complete sync with the blasted tragicomic vision of the playwright, whose ample humor is far too sneaky for stand-up showboating.’
The Associated Press notes that the range of emotions that his character displays ‘is stunning.’
Adds the New York Times, ‘He gives a performance of focused intelligence and integrity, embodying the animal who becomes the play’s questioning conscience with a savage bite that never loosens its grip.’
-- Tom O’Neil