When playwright Richard Nelson ('72) stepped to the microphone last month to accept his Tony Award, the first person he thanked was not a family member, agent or producer. Nelson instead thanked Irish author James Joyce... Nelson was introduced to musicals early on by his mother, a former chorus dancer. "I saw 15 or 20 musicals before I saw a play." he says. But the Chicago-born Nelson soon turned to "serious theater." He wrote his first play at 15, then went on to Hamilton College in upstate New York, where he won the school's playwriting contest all four years.