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Roger Robinson wins at the 63rd annual Tony Awards

Linda Armstrong | 4/12/2011, 4:40 p.m.
Roger Robinson wins at the 63rd annual Tony Awards

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Roger Robinson wins at the 63rd annual Tony Awards

Roger Robinson, the only African-American actor nominated for a Tony Award this year, WON!! Yes, Robinson, who has been acting for 46 years, walked away from the Radio City Music Hall stage with the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his character Bynum from the late August Wilson's play "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," now playing at the Belasco Theatre.

Robinson's character is someone who binds people, whether it is a man to a woman or a mother to her child. And he portrays this character in such a real way, that while you watch this production, you believe that he has these powers and this wisdom to know who to bind together and who to keep separated.

Robinson was very excited when his name was announced. "It speaks volumes that I'm the only Black that was nominated this year and then to win on top of that. This award is special because a lot of your peers vote, and the Tony is the highest honor that the theater can bestow," Robinson said.

Reflecting on his career, the veteran actor said, "I made my big debut in 1963 in a play that had non-traditional casting. I'm as surprised as anybody that I had this long career. But, I believed in it. I kept going. I've been blessed, and I'm very grateful for it."

Discussing his character, this first-time Tony Award winner said, "I believe in Bynum. To me, he is real. I've seen people like

that in Haiti, in South America and Brazil. Also you must understand that what August has created is a world here. August incorporated the Native American Indian's belief of the Shiny Man, and that was wonderful."

As elated as Robinson was about receiving the Tony,he did have one regret. "I regret that the Tony Awards don't have an Ensemble Award because we would have been nominated. The Olivier Awards in London and the Screen Actors Guild give ensemble awards for television and movies. I think we would have been in the ensemble category and my colleagues would have been [up] there tonight."

"Joe Turner's Come and Gone" also won for Best Lighting Design of a Play for Brian MacDevitt.

Best Revival of a Musical, went to "Hair," and it should have. This is an amazing show, and it showcases a highly diverse cast. Jeffrey Richards, one of the show's producers, told the AmNews that he loved when he had the chance to get involved with the show because he had seen it when he was younger and loved it.

African-Americans were also among the presenters at the 63rd Annual Tony Awards. Chandra Wilson took a break from rehearsing for her role as Matron Mama Morton in the hit Broadway musical "Chicago." Wilson, who you may remember for her Broadway role in

"Caroline or Change," was very excited about her chance to play Matron Mama Morton for five weeks, from June 8 to July 5. "I want to do justice to the show because it's such a great show. Mama is willing to do anything to get paid. And I'm ready to open," Wilson said.