My interest in the Tonys this year comes down to one category, and one performance. Oh: and Company. And Raul, but I think that goes without saying.
Ebersole's performance in Act I is charming and pitch-perfect, but what she does in the second act is genius. From the moment she comes out in full Little Edie regalia and coos to the audience in that singular accent: "Oh hiiiiiiii," she becomes at once terrifying and adorable, an object of pity and of worship. This duality is exquisitely embodied in the gorgeous song "Around the World," in which Little Edie veers from ferocious anger over feeling trapped in her mother's house to childlike delight in her wall of special mementos. Ebersole kills with this schizophrenic solo. The key to her success, according to Frankel: "She has a beautiful voice, and she's not afraid to use it in an ugly way."
The critics agree. "Watching [Ebersole's] performance is the best argument I can think of for the survival of the American musical," wrote New York Times chief drama critic Ben Brantley. In its 2006 Off-Broadway run at Playwrights Horizons, Ebersole won the Outer Critics Circle Award and the Obie and Drama Desk Award, and she was given a special citation from the New York Drama Critics and the Drama League for Performance of the Year. The Broadway show is nominated for 10 Tonys. As Elaine Stritch put it in a recent interview: "Christine Ebersole in 'Grey Gardens': That's coffee! That's coffee! That's talent!"
And wha's a quote from Elaine without a clip of Elaine? Especially when she's coining her own lingo.
Likewise, what's a post on Christine Ebersole without a clip of Christine Ebersole? Singing "Around the World" in character, but not in costume. Proceed with caution.