Dublin-born Jim Norton was honored at this year's Tony Awards with the Best Featured Actor in a Play award for his performance in Conor McPherson's The Seafarer. The play is set in Baldoyle, County Dublin, during a Christmas Eve poker game, when four friends get a visit from a mysterious character that turns out to be the devil. Norton played blind, aging "Richard Harkin" whose alcoholic brother "Sharky," played by David Morse, has returned to live with him.
"To be nominated in the company of such wonderful actors and to speak Conor McPherson's beautiful words night after night and to experience the warmth and generosity of spirit of the Broadway audiences and to win this, this is the icing on the cake. And I share this happily with my fellow actors in The Seafarer - a terrific team of guys," said Norton as he accepted his first Tony award. The 70-year-old had previously won a Laurence Olivier Award for his performance as Richard Harkin in the play in London.
The play received four Tony nominations including two Best Featured Actor nods, for Norton and County Antrim native Conleth Hill, as well as for Best Play and Best Director.
Conor McPherson called Norton's performance "absolutely brilliant" and said of his play, "If you tried to write a Broadway hit, or if I tried I wouldn't be able to. Whereas if you just write a play set in a house in Baldoyle, that can do it. It's the same as a movie like Once, or that kind of thing. It's the little ones that come out of nowhere that can often make the noise."
Norton, who played Bishop Brennan in the Irish cult TV comedy Father Ted, is currently starring in Port Authority, another McPherson play, at the off-Broadway Atlantic Theater Company. The Seafarer is currently on tour in Ireland. -Tara Dougherty