Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack took home Tony awards for their work in Peter Shaffer’s comedy Lettice & Lovage. The play, about the friendship between two unlikely ladies working for a historical society in England, was written specifically for Smith and proved a successful vehicle for her at the Globe Theatre in London in 1987 and the Ethel Barrymore in NY in 1990 (with direction by the esteemed Michael Blakemore). Smith was Lettice Duffet, an extravagantly and flamboyantly extroverted woman with an active imagination who, while giving tours of one of the dullest of British houses, starts making incredulous embellishments to amuse herself and her tourists. This leads to a conflict with Lotte, the representative of the trust who is a rather dour realist and is not at all pleased with Lettice’s antics. While the play itself received mixed reviews, there was nothing but raves for Smith’s bravura performance and also for Tyzack as her stern foil.
Here is a scene as performed on the 1990 Tony awards where the two ladies have it out. How I wish I could have been there to see this play. Enjoy.
And here is Maggie Smith’s Tony acceptance speech: