On Sunday night, the Tony Awards, a celebration of the best of Broadway, might include a familiar name and face to both Darien and Greenwich.
Moritz von Stuelpnagel, son of Representative Town Meeting and Republican Town Committee member Bert von Stuelpnagel, is the director of Present Laughter, starring Kevin Kline. The play has received three Tony nominations, including best leading actor in a play and best play revival.
Von Stuelpnagel is no stranger to Tony nominations. He was also nominated for best director and best play for Hand to God.
Present Laughter is a comic play written by Noël Coward in 1939 and first staged in 1942 on tour. It follows a self-obsessed actor in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Juggling his considerable talent, ego and libido, the theater’s favorite leading man suddenly finds himself caught between fawning ingenues, crazed playwrights, secret trysts and unexpected twists.
Among the many others glued to their television screens when Kevin Spacey takes the stage to host Sunday night will be Moritz’s father, Bert.
“On Sunday, June 11, we will find out if Present Laughter will win a Tony. It is nominated in the Best Revival of a Play category, and since my son is the director, I will be at the edge of my seat,” he told The Darien Times.
“Since this is second time for him at the Tony ceremonies (he was nominated last year for best director), should he not win, no worries, I am sure he will try again and eventually the inevitable will happen,” Bert said.
He also encouraged everyone to get their tickets now.
“The play only runs to July 2 and if Kevin Kline wins the Tony for Best Lead Actor (and in the New York Times he is favored), the tickets will be sold out,” he said.
In addition to the Tony nominations, Present Laughter also has earned Drama League Award nominations for Outstanding Revival of a Play and Distinguished Performance for Kevin Kline, Drama Desk nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Play, Outstanding Costumes, and Outstanding Wig and Hair, and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Play, Outstanding Costume Design.
Moritz told The Darien Times he grew up in both Darien and Greenwich and attended Greenwich schools.
“I feel incredibly fortunate to have had exemplary access to arts education through our local public school system. I doubt I’d have had the chance to rise to the professional opportunities I’ve had without it,” he said in an email to The Darien Times.
“Not only did I receive the foundation of my craft there, as a director, but exposure to the arts helped me with the invaluable skills of self-expression, collaboration, team building, perspective, and problem solving. Things that have served me almost every day as a leader, as much as an artist,” he said.
Moritz’s production of Hand to God received five Tony nominations as well as many other accolades. He is also currently directing Twelfth Night, at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.
Moritz is the former artistic director of Studio 42, NYC’s producer of “unproducible” plays.
The Tony Awards airs on Sunday, June 11, at 8 p.m. on CBS.
More info: moritzvs.com