Washington’s Shakespeare Theatre Company, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, got some extra sparklers when The Tony Awards selected it to receive the 2012 Regional Theatre Award.
It was the first such award for the Shakespeare Theatre Company and the second in the last four years for theaters in the Washington Region (Arlington’s Signature Theatre having won in 2009). Arena Stage was the first regional company to receive the Award in 1976.
The Shakespeare Theatre has long been regarded highly nationally not just for its ambitious productions (including the generally well-received revival of the seldom-produced O’Neill play, Strange Interlude) and its striking productions of the classics (Clive Barnes once said in the New York Post that Washington’s Shakespeare Theatre Company presented “far more stimulating Shakespeare than we are accustomed to in New York”) but for its willingness to co-produce with other major regional theaters, such as with Chicago’s Goodman Theater, for Candide; and its presentations of international companies such as the National Theatre of Scotland’s Black Watch, and Tricycle Theatre’s The Great Game – Afghanistan, its Academy of Classical Acting and its community involvement, including its summer Free-for-All, a full-Equity Shakespeare production which the company makes available free to all comers.
The Shakespeare Theatre’s Regional Tony Award was recommended by the American Theatre Critics Association, as all Awardees in the past have been.
Neil Patrick Harris returns to host the 2012 Tony Awards, on Sunday, June 10, starting at 8pm on CBS.