Who is Chris Harper, anyway? During the 2022 Tony Awards, audiences heard multiple nominees thank Broadway producer Chris Harper during their acceptance speeches, specifically for paying their salaries.
The name-drop was in reference to a viral social media video that was recorded during a talkback with the cast of the Company revival, which stars Katrina Lenk, 2022 Tony winners Patti LuPone and Matt Doyle, and Jennifer Simard. In a moment captured by an audience member, LuPone called out one audience member for not wearing a mask, despite mask-wearing being required in the theatre.
Audio of Patti at the talk back tonight after an audience member refused to put their mask on after 2 minutes of her politely asking. Pardon my screaming.— Miles (he/him) (@MilesJosephson) May 11, 2022
Thank you @PattiLuPone ❤️ #MaskUp pic.twitter.com/ntciBr4sB4
In response, the audience member said that, as a patron, she paid LuPone's salary. The Broadway veteran responded, "No, Chris Harper pays my salary." Harper produces Company, and also holds producer credits on the previous productions One Man, Two Guvnors, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Led by Best Scenic Design of a Musical winner Bunny Christie, many members of the Company cast and creative team jokingly referenced the moment, including Patti LuPone herself, winner of Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical. Marianne Elliott, Best Direction of a Musical, also referred back to the viral moment in her acceptance speech.
Matt Doyle, winner of Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, thanked Chris Harper, not for paying his salary, but for his friendship.
Harper, himself, even paid homage. While accepting the accolade for Best Revival, the producer said, "It's an honor to be the person who pays you a salary." Later on in the press room, the producer commented on LuPone's viral moment. "You don’t see that coming, do you? The great thing about Patti is you never know what’s going to happen with Patti LuPone." He continued, "I love her so deeply and completely. She’s hilarious—I’ve never left her dressing room without a smile on my face."
Chris Harper mentions: 5
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