Tony Award For Best Actor in A Play
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Tony Award For Best Actor in A Play
Tony Award for
Best Actor in a Play
Awarded forBest Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
LocationNew York City
Presented byAmerican Theatre Wing The Broadway League
Currently held byBryan Cranston for Network (2019)

The Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play is an honor presented at the Tony Awards, a ceremony established in 1947 as the Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre, to actors for quality leading roles in a Broadway play. The awards are named after Antoinette Perry, an American actress who died in 1946. Honors in several categories are presented at the ceremony annually by the Tony Award Productions, a joint venture of The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, to "honor the best performances and stage productions of the previous year."[1] Despite the award first being presented in 1947, there were no nominees announced until 1956.

Winners and nominees

  indicates the winner


Year Actor Play Character
1st Tony Awards
José Ferrer Cyrano de Bergerac Cyrano de Bergerac
Fredric March Years Ago Clinton Jones
2nd Tony Awards
Henry Fonda Mister Roberts Lieutenant Roberts
Paul Kelly Command Decision Brigadier General K.C. Dennis
Basil Rathbone The Heiress Dr. Austin Sloper
3rd Tony Awards
Rex Harrison Anne of the Thousand Days Henry VIII


Year Actor Play Character
4th Tony Awards
Sidney Blackmer Come Back, Little Sheba Doc
5th Tony Awards
Claude Rains Darkness at Noon Rubashov
6th Tony Awards
José Ferrer The Shrike Jim Downs
7th Tony Awards
Tom Ewell The Seven Year Itch Richard Sherman
8th Tony Awards
David Wayne The Teahouse of the August Moon Sakini
9th Tony Awards
Alfred Lunt Quadrille Diensen
10th Tony Awards
Paul Muni Inherit the Wind Henry Drummond
Ben Gazzara A Hatful of Rain Johnny Pope
Boris Karloff The Lark Pierre Cauchon
Michael Redgrave Tiger at the Gates Hector
Edward G. Robinson Middle of the Night The Manufacturer
11th Tony Awards
Fredric March Long Day's Journey into Night James Tyrone Sr.
Maurice Evans The Apple Cart King Magnus
Wilfrid Hyde-White The Reluctant Debutante Jimmy Broadbent
Eric Portman Separate Tables Mr. Malcolm / Major Pollock
Ralph Richardson The Waltz of the Toreadors General St. Pé
Cyril Ritchard Visit to a Small Planet Kreton
12th Tony Awards
Ralph Bellamy Sunrise at Campobello Franklin D. Roosevelt
Richard Burton Time Remembered Prince Albert
Hugh Griffith Look Homeward, Angel W.O. Gant
Laurence Olivier The Entertainer Archie
Anthony Perkins Look Homeward, Angel Eugene Gant
Peter Ustinov Romanoff and Juliet The General
Emlyn Williams A Boy Growing Up Himself
13th Tony Awards
Jason Robards The Disenchanted Manley Halliday
Cedric Hardwicke A Majority of One Koichi Asano
Alfred Lunt The Visit Anton Schill
Christopher Plummer J.B. Nickles
Cyril Ritchard The Pleasure of His Company Biddeford Poole
Robert Stephens Epitaph for George Dillon George Dillon


Year Actor Play Character
14th Tony Awards
Melvyn Douglas The Best Man William Russell
Sidney Poitier A Raisin in the Sun Walter Lee Younger
Jason Robards Toys in the Attic Julian Berniers
George C. Scott The Andersonville Trial Lt. Col. N. P. Chipman
Lee Tracy The Best Man Arthur Hockstader
15th Tony Awards
Zero Mostel Rhinocéros John
Hume Cronyn Big Fish, Little Fish Jimmie Luton
Anthony Quinn Becket Henry II
Sam Levene The Devil's Advocate Dr. Aldo Meyer
16th Tony Awards
Paul Scofield A Man for All Seasons Sir Thomas More
Fredric March Gideon Angel
John Mills Ross Aircraftman Ross
Donald Pleasence The Caretaker Davies
17th Tony Awards
Arthur Hill Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? George
Charles Boyer Lord Pengo Lord Pengo
Paul Ford Never Too Late Harry Lambert
Bert Lahr The Beauty Part Various Characters
18th Tony Awards
Alec Guinness Dylan Dylan Thomas
Richard Burton Hamlet Hamlet
Albert Finney Luther Martin
Jason Robards After the Fall Quentin
19th Tony Awards
Walter Matthau The Odd Couple Oscar Madison
John Gielgud Tiny Alice Julian
Donald Pleasence Poor Bitos Bitos (Robespieere)
Jason Robards Hughie "Erie" Smith
20th Tony Awards
Hal Holbrook Mark Twain Tonight! Mark Twain
Patrick Bedford & Donal Donnelly Philadelphia, Here I Come! Gareth O'Donnell
Roland Culver Ivanov Pavel Lebedev
Nicol Williamson Inadmissible Evidence Bill Maitland
21st Tony Awards
Paul Rogers The Homecoming Max
Hume Cronyn A Delicate Balance Tobias
Donald Madden Black Comedy Harold Gorringe
Donald Moffat Right You Are (If You Think You Are) Laudisi
The Wild Duck Hjalmar Ekdal
22nd Tony Awards
Martin Balsam You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running Various Characters
Albert Finney A Day in the Death of Joe Egg Bri
Milo O'Shea Staircase Harry C. Leeds
Alan Webb I Never Sang for My Father Tom Garrison
23rd Tony Awards
James Earl Jones The Great White Hope Jack Jefferson
Art Carney Lovers Andy Tracey
Alec McCowen Hadrian the Seventh Fr. William Rolfe
Donald Pleasence The Man in the Glass Booth Arthur Goldman


Year Actor Play Character
24th Tony Awards
Fritz Weaver Child's Play Jerome Malley
James Coco The Last of the Red Hot Lovers Barney Cashman
Frank Grimes Borstal Boy Young Behan
Stacy Keach Indians Buffalo Bill
25th Tony Awards
Brian Bedford The School for Wives Arnolphe
John Gielgud Home Harry
Alec McCowen The Philanthropist Philip
Ralph Richardson Home Jack
26th Tony Awards
Cliff Gorman Lenny Lenny Bruce
Tom Aldredge Sticks and Bones Ozzie
Donald Pleasence Wise Child Mrs. Artminster
Jason Robards The Country Girl Frank Elgin
27th Tony Awards
Alan Bates Butley Ben Butley
Jack Albertson The Sunshine Boys Willie Clark
Wilfrid Hyde-White The Jockey Club Stakes Marquis of Candover
Paul Sorvino That Championship Season Phil Romano
28th Tony Awards
Michael Moriarty Find Your Way Home Julian Weston
Zero Mostel Ulysses in Nighttown Leopold Bloom
Jason Robards A Moon for the Misbegotten James Tyrone Jr.
George C. Scott Uncle Vanya Mikhail lvovich Astrov
Nicol Williamson Ivan Petrovich Voinitsky
29th Tony Awards
John Kani & Winston Ntshona Sizwe Banzi Is Dead / The Island Various Characters
Jim Dale Scapino! Scapino
Peter Firth Equus Alan Strang
Henry Fonda Clarence Darrow Clarence Darrow
Ben Gazzara Hughie and Duet "Erie" Smith
John Wood Sherlock Holmes Sherlock Holmes
30th Tony Awards
John Wood Travesties Henry Carr
Moses Gunn The Poison Tree Benjamin Hurspool
George C. Scott Death of a Salesman Willy Loman
Donald Sinden Habeas Corpus Arthur Wicksteed
31st Tony Awards
Al Pacino The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel Pavlo Hummel
Tom Courtenay Otherwise Engaged Simon
Ben Gazzara Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? George
Ralph Richardson No Man's Land Hirst
32nd Tony Awards
Barnard Hughes Da Da
Hume Cronyn The Gin Game Weller Martin
Frank Langella Dracula Dracula
Jason Robards A Touch of the Poet Cornelius Melody
33rd Tony Awards
Tom Conti Whose Life Is It Anyway? Ken Harrison
Philip Anglim The Elephant Man John Merrick
Jack Lemmon Tribute Scottie Templeton
Alec McCowen St. Mark's Gospel Mark


Year Actor Play Character
34th Tony Awards
John Rubinstein Children of a Lesser God James Leeds
Charles Brown Home Cephus Miles
Gerald Hiken Strider Strider
Judd Hirsch Talley's Folly Matt Friedman
35th Tony Awards
Ian McKellen Amadeus Antonio Salieri
Tim Curry Amadeus Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Roy Dotrice A Life Drumm
Jack Weston The Floating Light Bulb Jerry Wexler
36th Tony Awards
Roger Rees The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Nicholas Nickleby
Tom Courtenay The Dresser Norman
Milo O'Shea Mass Appeal Father Tim Farley
Christopher Plummer Othello Iago
37th Tony Awards
Harvey Fierstein Torch Song Trilogy Arnold Beckoff
Jeffrey DeMunn K2 Taylor
Edward Herrmann Plenty Raymond Brock
Tony Lo Bianco A View from the Bridge Eddie
38th Tony Awards
Jeremy Irons The Real Thing Henry
Rex Harrison Heartbreak House Captain Shotover
Calvin Levels Open Admissions Calvin Jefferson
Ian McKellen Ian McKellen Acting Shakespeare Himself
39th Tony Awards
Derek Jacobi Much Ado About Nothing Benedick
Jim Dale A Day in the Death of Joe Egg Bri
Jonathan Hogan As Is Rich
John Lithgow Requiem for a Heavyweight Harlan "Mountain" McClintock
40th Tony Awards
Judd Hirsch I'm Not Rappaport Nat
Hume Cronyn The Petition General Sir Edmund Milne
Ed Harris Precious Sons Fred
Jack Lemmon Long Day's Journey into Night James Tyrone Sr.
41st Tony Awards
James Earl Jones Fences Troy Maxson
Philip Bosco You Never Can Tell Waiter
Richard Kiley All My Sons Joe Keller
Alan Rickman Les Liaisons Dangereuses Le Vicomte de Valmont
42nd Tony Awards
Ron Silver Speed-the-Plow Charlie Fox
Derek Jacobi Breaking the Code Alan Turing
John Lithgow M. Butterfly Rene Gallimard
Robert Prosky A Walk in the Woods Andrey Botvinnik
43rd Tony Awards
Philip Bosco Lend Me a Tenor Saunders
Mikhail Baryshnikov Metamorphosis Gregor Samsa
Victor Garber Lend Me a Tenor Max
Bill Irwin Largely New York The Post-Modern Hoofer


Year Actor Play Character
44th Tony Awards
Robert Morse Tru Truman Capote
Charles S. Dutton The Piano Lesson Boy Willie
Dustin Hoffman The Merchant of Venice Shylock
Tom Hulce A Few Good Men Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, USN, JAG Corps
45th Tony Awards
Nigel Hawthorne Shadowlands C.S. Lewis
Peter Frechette Our Country's Good 2nd Lieutenant Ralph Clark
Tom McGowan La Bête Valere
Courtney B. Vance Six Degrees of Separation Paul
46th Tony Awards
Judd Hirsch Conversations with My Father Eddie
Alan Alda Jake's Women Jake
Alec Baldwin A Streetcar Named Desire Stanley Kowalski
Brian Bedford Two Shakespearean Actors William Charles Macready
47th Tony Awards
Ron Leibman Angels in America: Millennium Approaches Roy Cohn, et al.
K. Todd Freeman The Song of Jacob Zulu Jacob Zulu
Liam Neeson Anna Christie Mat Burke
Stephen Rea Someone Who'll Watch Over Me Edward
48th Tony Awards
Stephen Spinella Angels in America: Perestroika Prior Walter
Brian Bedford Timon of Athens Timon
Christopher Plummer No Man's Land Spooner
Sam Waterston Abe Lincoln in Illinois Abraham Lincoln
49th Tony Awards
Ralph Fiennes Hamlet Prince Hamlet
Brian Bedford The Molière Comedies Sganarelle
Roger Rees Indiscretions George
Joe Sears A Tuna Christmas Various Characters
50th Tony Awards
George Grizzard A Delicate Balance Tobias
Philip Bosco Moon Over Buffalo George Hay
George C. Scott Inherit the Wind Henry Drummond
Martin Shaw An Ideal Husband Lord Goring
51st Tony Awards
Christopher Plummer Barrymore John Barrymore
Brian Bedford London Assurance Sir Harcourt Courtly
Michael Gambon Skylight Tom Sergeant
Antony Sher Stanley Stanley
52nd Tony Awards
Anthony LaPaglia A View from the Bridge Eddie Carbone
Richard Briers The Chairs Old Man
John Leguizamo Freak Himself
Alfred Molina Art Yvan
53rd Tony Awards
Brian Dennehy Death of a Salesman Willy Loman
Brian F. O'Byrne The Lonesome West Valene Connor
Corin Redgrave Not About Nightingales Bert "Boss" Whalen
Kevin Spacey The Iceman Cometh Theodore "Hickey" Hickman


Year Actor Play Character
54th Tony Awards
Stephen Dillane The Real Thing Henry
Gabriel Byrne A Moon for the Misbegotten James Tyrone Jr.
Philip Seymour Hoffman True West Austin
John C. Reilly Lee
David Suchet Amadeus Antonio Salieri
55th Tony Awards
Richard Easton The Invention of Love A. E. Housman, aged 77
Sean Campion Stones in His Pockets Jake Quinn
Conleth Hill Charlie Conlon
Gary Sinise One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Randle P. McMurphy
Brian Stokes Mitchell King Hedley II King
56th Tony Awards
Alan Bates Fortune's Fool Vassily Semyonitch Kuzovkin
Billy Crudup The Elephant Man John Merrick
Liam Neeson The Crucible John Proctor
Alan Rickman Private Lives Elyot Chase
Jeffrey Wright Topdog/Underdog Lincoln
57th Tony Awards
Brian Dennehy Long Day's Journey into Night James Tyrone Sr.
Brian Bedford Tartuffe Orgon
Eddie Izzard A Day in the Death of Joe Egg Bri
Paul Newman Our Town Stage Manager
Stanley Tucci Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune Johnny
58th Tony Awards
Jefferson Mays I Am My Own Wife Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, et al.
Simon Russell Beale Jumpers George
Kevin Kline Henry IV Sir John Falstaff
Frank Langella Match Tobi
Christopher Plummer King Lear King Lear
59th Tony Awards
Bill Irwin Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? George
Philip Bosco Twelve Angry Men Juror #3
Billy Crudup The Pillowman Katurian
James Earl Jones On Golden Pond Norman Thayer Jr.
Brían F. O'Byrne Doubt Father Flynn
60th Tony Awards
Richard Griffiths The History Boys Douglas Hector
Ralph Fiennes Faith Healer Francis Hardy
?eljko Ivanek The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial Lt. Com. Phillip Francis Queeg
Oliver Platt Shining City John
David Wilmot The Lieutenant of Inishmore Padraic
61st Tony Awards
Frank Langella Frost/Nixon Richard Nixon
Boyd Gaines Journey's End Lieut. Osborne
Brían F. O'Byrne The Coast of Utopia Alexander Herzen
Christopher Plummer Inherit the Wind Henry Drummond
Liev Schreiber Talk Radio Barry Champlain
62nd Tony Awards
Mark Rylance Boeing-Boeing Robert Lambert
Ben Daniels Les Liaisons Dangereuses Le Vicomte de Valmont
Laurence Fishburne Thurgood Thurgood Marshall
Rufus Sewell Rock 'n' Roll Jan
Patrick Stewart Macbeth Lord Macbeth
63rd Tony Awards
Geoffrey Rush Exit the King King Berenger
Jeff Daniels God of Carnage Alan
Raúl Esparza Speed-the-Plow Charlie Fox
James Gandolfini God of Carnage Michael
Thomas Sadoski reasons to be pretty Greg


Year Actor Play Character
64th Tony Awards
Denzel Washington Fences Troy Maxson
Jude Law Hamlet Hamlet
Alfred Molina Red Mark Rothko
Liev Schreiber A View from the Bridge Eddie Carbone
Christopher Walken A Behanding in Spokane Carmichael
65th Tony Awards
Mark Rylance Jerusalem Johnny "Rooster" Byron
Brian Bedford The Importance of Being Earnest Lady Bracknell
Bobby Cannavale The Motherfucker with the Hat Jackie
Joe Mantello The Normal Heart Ned Weeks
Al Pacino The Merchant of Venice Shylock
66th Tony Awards
James Corden One Man, Two Guvnors Francis Henshall
James Earl Jones The Best Man President Art Hockstader
Philip Seymour Hoffman Death of a Salesman Willy Loman
Frank Langella Man and Boy Gregor Antonescu
John Lithgow The Columnist Joseph Alsop
67th Tony Awards
Tracy Letts Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? George
Tom Hanks Lucky Guy Mike McAlary
Nathan Lane The Nance Chauncey Miles
David Hyde Pierce Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Vanya
Tom Sturridge Orphans Phillip
68th Tony Awards
Bryan Cranston All the Way President Lyndon B. Johnson
Samuel Barnett Twelfth Night Viola
Chris O'Dowd Of Mice and Men Lennie Small
Mark Rylance Richard III Richard III
Tony Shalhoub Act One Moss Hart / Barnett Hart / George S. Kaufman
69th Tony Awards
Alex Sharp The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Christopher Boone
Steven Boyer Hand to God Jason / Tyrone
Bradley Cooper The Elephant Man John Merrick
Ben Miles Wolf Hall Parts One & Two Thomas Cromwell
Bill Nighy Skylight Tom Sergeant
70th Tony Awards
Frank Langella The Father Andre
Gabriel Byrne Long Day's Journey into Night James Tyrone Sr.
Jeff Daniels Blackbird Ray Brooks
Tim Pigott-Smith King Charles III King Charles III
Mark Strong A View from the Bridge Eddie Carbone
71st Tony Awards
Kevin Kline Present Laughter Garry Essendine
Denis Arndt Heisenberg Alex Priest
Chris Cooper A Doll's House, Part 2 Torvald Helmer
Corey Hawkins Six Degrees of Separation Paul
Jefferson Mays Oslo Terje Rød-Larsen
72nd Tony Awards
Andrew Garfield Angels in America Prior Walter, et al.
Tom Hollander Travesties Henry Carr
Jamie Parker Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Harry Potter
Mark Rylance Farinelli and the King Philip V of Spain
Denzel Washington The Iceman Cometh Theodore "Hickey" Hickman
73rd Tony Awards
Bryan Cranston Network Howard Beale
Paddy Considine The Ferryman Quinn Carney
Jeff Daniels To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus Finch
Adam Driver Burn This Pale
Jeremy Pope Choir Boy Pharus Jonathan Young


Year Actor Play Character
74th Tony Awards
Ian Barford Linda Vista Wheeler
Andrew Burnap The Inheritance Toby Darling
Jake Gyllenhaal Sea Wall/A Life Abe
Tom Hiddleston Betrayal Robert
Tom Sturridge Sea Wall/A Life Alex
Blair Underwood A Soldier's Play Captain Richard Davenport

Multiple wins

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