Having previously starred in this David W. Rintels play at the Old Vic Theater in London (where Mr. Spacey was its artistic director from 2004 to 2015), he is bringing it to the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, N.Y. — a space not known for presenting traditional dramas — on June 15 and 16.
He appears this summer as a crime boss in Edgar Wright’s action caper “Baby Driver.” And on June 11, he of all people will follow in the footsteps of entertainers like James Corden, Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris when he hosts the Tony Awards.
Better known for the steely confidence he exudes — in his performances, and at intimidatingly close range, in conversation later that morning at a Juilliard office — Mr. Spacey has embraced his status as an unlikely Tonys M.C.
“They didn’t want me in the first place,” he said with a self-deprecating laugh. “It’s all uphill for me, from the moment the show starts.”
But from the stories he shared on this visit to Juilliard, where Mr. Spacey trained from 1979 to 1981 but did not graduate, he came across more consistently as an actor who, even as a young man, possessed singular skill and the conviction it would take him places, before his résumé caught up.
Long after following his high school friend Val Kilmer here, Mr. Spacey still slips into seamless impersonations of beloved instructors like his mentor, Marian Seldes, and the fearsome voice teacher Elizabeth Smith (who once told him his voice sounded like the end of a frayed rope).
Mr. Spacey can also still vividly recall the disagreement he had with Michael Langham, then the director of Juilliard’s drama division, that prompted him to withdraw from the school.
Having been reprimanded for focusing too much on his acting classes, and not enough on the history of theater, Mr. Spacey recalled: “I…