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Mark Rylance Gifts JERUSALEM's Inspiration, Michael Lay, with his 2011 Tony

The UK's Independent reports that Tony Award winner Mark Rylance has given away his 2011 trophy, which he received for Best Performance by an Actor for Jerusalem, to Mickey Lay - a British man who inspired Rylance's performance.

According to the report, Moonrakers pub (located in Pewsey) owner Jerry Kunkler accepted the award on Lay's behalf.  He has had to ban lay some twenty times from his establishment for drunken and reckless behaviour.  Currently, Lay is welcomed in the pub.

Says Rylance of his decision to part with his famous prize: "I think he'd really like it. He was very generous with me and invited me into his house and talked with me for six hours or so on different occasions about his life as a Romany gypsy man in England."

To read the full report in the Independent, click here.

JERUSALEM, a new play by Jez Butterworth and starring Tony and Olivier Award-winner Mark Rylance opened April 21 at the Music Box Theatre, in a production directed by Ian Rickson. JERUSALEM is playing a limited 16-week engagement.

JERUSALEM originally opened at The Royal Court Theatre in July, 2009 with critics praising Jez Butterworth for his beautiful and comic elegy for a disappearing way of life in rural England and actor Mark Rylance, who was lauded as delivering one of the great stage performances of our time. The production played an extended sold out run at the Royal Court, before moving to the Apollo Theatre in the West End in January, 2010, where it received an unprecedented set of five-star reviews from 12 London newspapers.

Joining Rylance and Tony nominee Mackenzie Crook as Ginger are Tony Award-winner John Gallagher, Jr. (Spring Awakening, American Idiot) as Lee, Max Baker (Cyrano de Bergerac) as Wesley, Geraldine Hughes (Translations) as Dawn and Molly Ranson (August: Osage County) as Pea, alongside seven members of the original Royal Court and West End company: Alan David as The Professor, Aimeé-Ffion Edwards as Phaedra, Danny Kirrane as Davey, Charlotte Mills as Tanya, Sarah Moyle as Ms. Fawcett, Harvey Robinson as Mr. Parsons and Barry Sloane as Troy Whitworth. Aiden Eyrick and Mark Page alternate in the role of Marky.

In the woods of South West England, Johnny ‘Rooster' Byron (Mark Rylance), former daredevil motorcyclist and modern-day Pied Piper, is a wanted man. The council officials want to serve him an eviction notice, his son wants to be taken to the country fair, a stepfather wants to give him a serious kicking and a motley crew of friends wants his ample supply of drugs and alcohol.

JERUSALEM's Olivier Award-winning design is by Ultz, with lighting design by Mimi Jordan Sherin and sound design by Ian Dickinson for Autograph. Composer is Stephen Warbeck.

Performances are Tuesday at 7:00 PM, Wednesday at 2:00 and 8:00 PM, Thursday and Friday at 7:00 PM, Saturday at 2:00 and 8:00 PM and Sunday at 3:00 PM. Tickets are available at


Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos

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