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Tony nominee Brian Tyree Henry on ‘Atlanta’ and ‘Lobby Hero’

Long before he ever walked a mile in their shoes, actor Brian Tyree Henry knew his characters.

He empathized with the rapper he plays in the FX series “Atlanta,” Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles, and understood what it meant to grapple with newfound fame, and struggle to feel at home in a city he’s known his whole life.

He also knew the security guard William in Kenneth Lonergan’s play “Lobby Hero,” a fast-talking, upstanding man who takes authority seriously. When his brother is arrested and accused of committing a horrible crime, William is forced to weigh his strict morals against the realities of how law enforcement and the criminal justice system treat black men.

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