The work of Washington theatres is well represented in this year’s Tony Awards with 16 nominations including Best Play and Best Musical, and one pre-announced win.
Yesterday, The American Theatre Wing announced that Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA has been awarded the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award. The Tony committee stated, “For 20 years, Signature has broadened and brightened the region’s cultural landscape with its bold productions of challenging new and established works.” Signature Theatre co-founder and Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer responded, “We’re thrilled to bring a Tony Award to Washington, this great theatre town. We share it with all the artists, donors, and audience members who continue to support our work.” The award comes with a $25,000 prize from VISA, USA.
As it is each year, the Regional Tony Award is based on the recommendation of the American Theatre Critics Association. Arena Stage was presented with the first Regional Theatre Award in 1976 . First out with yesterday’s announcement was Brad Hathaway of Potomac Stages who hosted the ATCA convention here last summer.
This morning, the American Theatre Wing announced it’s Tony Award nominations and both Next to Normal and 33 Variations, presented here by Arena Stage, are now contenders in the Musicals and Play categories.
Next to Normal, which originally played Off-Broadway at Second Stage, received an unprecedented offer from Arena Stage’s Molly Smith to come into its Crystal City venue to rework the show. It opened here in December, 2008. This morning we learned it is this year’s second most heavily nominated musical.
Next to Normal‘s 11 nominations are:
Best Book of a Musical, Brian YorkeyBest Original Score, Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey
Best Leading Actor, J. Robert Spencer
Best Leading Actress, Alice Ripley
Best Featuring Actress, Jennifer Damiano
Best Direction, Michael Greif
Best Orchestrations, Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt
Best Scenic Design, Mark Wendland
Best Lighting Design, Kevin Adams,
Best Sound Design, Brian Ronan
33 Variations, which debuted at Arena Stage in September, 2007, garnered 5 nominations:
Best Leading Actress, Jane Fonda
Best Featured Actor, Zach Grenier
Best Scenic Design, Derek McLane
Best Lighting, David Lander
Joel Markowitz adds “Congratulations to Eric Schaeffer and the staff of Signature Theatre for enriching us with their fine productions, for giving us The Kander and Ebb Festival this year, and filling The Ark and The Max with Broadway legends as well as local talent. And thanks to Molly Smith and the staff of Arena Stage for letting us be part of the development of Next To Normal and 33 Variations.
Because of your fine work and risk taking, the many accomplishments of DC theatre will be on display on Tony night for the whole country to see. We are all beaming and kvelling, and all of us at DC Theatre Scene, and all of DC, MD and VA’s theatre goers are so proud. We wish you all well on Tony night, June 7th.”
Related from DCTS:
Interviews with other 2009 nominees:
Carole Shelley, nominated for her role as Grandmother in Billy Elliot, interviewed by Richard Seff
Mark Kudisch, nominated for is role as the boss in 9 to 5, talks with Joel Markowitz about Witches of Eastwick at Signature Theatre, and The Glorious Ones at Lincoln Center.