A Signature Night at the Tonys

A Signature Night at the Tonys

Signature Theatre officially picked up its 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award Sunday night as part of the nationally televised broadcast of the prestigious awards from Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Eric Schaffer, Signatures co-founder and artistic director, accepted the Tony statue on the theatres behalf.

Were thrilled to bring a Tony Award to Washington, this great theatre town, Schaffer said of Signatures win, which marked just the second time that a Washington area theatre received the coveted award. Arena Stage was the recipient of the first regional Tony presented in 1976.

Productions with ties to Washington area theatres received 20 nominations, taking home six wins over the course of the evening.

Next to Normal, reworked at Arena last year after beginning off-Broadway, won three Tonys, including Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a musical for Alice Ripley.

Next to Normal, which had a total of 11 nominations, won Best Original Score for composer Tom Kitt and lyricist Brian Yorkey.

Yorkey credited Arena in his acceptance speech, saying, Were so blessed to be supported by Molly Smith (Arena Stage Artistic Director) and the Arena Stage in Washington…

Best Orchestration went to Kitt and Michael Starobin, who tied with Martin Koch of Billy Elliot, The Musical.

Best Set Design of a Play went to Derek McLane for 33 Variations, which made its world premiere at Arena.

Best Featured Actress in a Musical went to Karen Olivo for her role as Anita in West Side Story. It tried out at National Theatre before heading to Broadway last year.

In announcing the Regional Tony, the American Theater Wing said, For 20 years, Signature has broadened and brightened the regions cultural landscape with its bold productions of challenging new and established works.[Signature] has established a national reputation for giving some of the nations most talented artists a place to do their best work before appreciative, knowledgeable audiences.