The Tony Awards May Finally Include Off-Broadway!

OffBroadwayTonyAn announcement on the Tony Awards website means that the Tonys, which has never honored Off-Broadway, may finally begin to do so, at least in a small way.

“The Awards Administration Committee has announced that starting with the 2013-2014 season, New York-based theatre companies can now be eligible to receive the Regional Theatre Award.

“Each year, the Tony Awards Administration Committee presents the American Theatre Wing’s Tony Award® to a regional theatre on the recommendation of the American Theatre Critics Association.”

The Regional Theater Tony began in 1976. Below is a list of the theaters that have received the award.

Now that it will be open to theaters in New York City, some of the most likely candidates, in my opinion, will be those producing some of the best work on Off-Broadway. The two I see as most deserving are:

Playwrights Horizons, which has launched many noteworthy plays, including five that won the Pulitzer Prize, and many that transferred to Broadway. Among the best-known: Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park; Doug Wright’s I Am My Own Wife; Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles’  Alfred Uhry’s Driving Miss Daisy ‘and Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sunday in the Park with George; Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation.

The Signature Theater was founded in 1991 with the idea of focusing each season on a single playwright. Since opening the Pershing Square Signature Center, they’ve expanded their mission, but kept their focus on playwrights.Among their accomplishments is reviving the career of such previously neglected dramatists as Horton Foote. (The Man From Atlanta, The Orphans Home Cycle.) An important aspect of the theater is their commitment to keep ticket prices affordable. Most tickets are $25 — 20 percent of the cost of a typical Broadway show, and half of most other Off-Broadway fare.

There are several other first-rate Off-Broadway theaters — New York Theater Workshop, MCC Theater, Vineyard Theater — and a few Off-Off Broadway as well, most notably The Flea and LaMama. And — why neglect Brooklyn — St. Ann’s Warehouse. (I would be loathe to include those theaters that produce much good work Off-Broadway but also have a presence on Broadway, or routinely transfer shows there — they already get plenty of chances for Tonys.)

It’s important to emphasize that the Regional Tony, unlike most of the Tonys, goes to a producing theater, not a specific show.


The Tony Regional Theater Awards:

2013: Huntington Theatre Company, Boston, Massachusetts
2012: Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, D.C.
2011: Lookingglass Theatre Company, Chicago, Ill.
2010: Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Waterford, Conn.
2009: Signature Theatre, Arlington, VA
2008: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago, IL
2007: Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, GA
2006: Intiman Theatre, Seattle, WA.
2005: Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Minneapolis, MN
2004: Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati, OH
2003: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis, MN
2002: Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown, MA
2001: Victory Gardens Theatre, Chicago, IL
2000: Utah Shakespearean Festival, Cedar City, UT.
1999: Crossroads Theatre Company, New Brunswick, NJ
1998: Denver Center Theatre Company, Denver, CO
1997: Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Berkeley, CA
1996: Alley Theatre, Houston, TX
1995: Goodspeed Opera House, East Haddam, CT
1994: McCarter Theatre, Princeton, NJ
1993: La Jolla Playhouse, La Jolla, CA
1992: Goodman Theatre, Chicago, IL
1991: Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, CT
1990: Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle, WA
1989: Hartford Stage Company, Hartford, CT
1988: South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, CA
1987: San Francisco Mime Troupe, San Francisco, CA
1986: American Repertory Theatre, Cambridge, MA
1985: Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, IL
1984: Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, CA
1983: Oregon Shakespearean Festival Theatre, Ashland, OR
1982: Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis, MN
1981: Trinity Square Repertory, Providence, RI
1980: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Louisville, KY
1979: American Conservatory Theatre, San Francisco, CA
1978: Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, CT
1977: Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, CA
1976: Arena Stage, Washington, D.C.

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

1 thought on “The Tony Awards May Finally Include Off-Broadway!

Leave a Reply