Bay Area Tony connections

It’s all about us, right?

Sure the Tony Awards celebrate NEW YORK theater and Broadway and all that jazz, but what about US?

Not a problem. We can even make the Tonys Bay Area-centric. It’s a little harder this year because we’re not getting as many pre-Broadway tryouts as we have in past years, and our local geniuses are content with being local, so their output is expressly for us and not those NYC theater aesthetes.

So here’s how we factor into the Tonys:

First off, Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘n’ Roll, a nominee for best play, will be part of the American Conservatory Theater season later this year. It’ll be a different production but the same play. So root for that one to win (it won’t –it’s all August: Osage County this year, but stay tuned — there’s buzz that one way or another, Bay Area audiences will be seeing that next season as well).

The big Bay Area tie comes courtesy of Berkeley Repertory Theatre, which co-produced the world premiere of Stew and Heidi Rodewald’s rock musical Passing Strange, which then went on to the Public Theater in New York and then BroadWAY. Passing Strange, as you’ll recall, earned seven Tony Award nominations on Tuesday.

Here’s Stew on the Berkeley Rep connection:

Passing Strange is all about pilgrimages to the Real, and my first real-life pilgrimage was to Berkeley when I was a teenager. This is why it was so moving and important to me that the play premiered at Berkeley Rep. Berkeley embodies many of the ideals that are celebrated in the play – a place where people live as if their thoughts have meaning and consequence. Berkeley Rep was the perfect place for a crazy rock band with no idea what theatre was to make a play. I can’t think of a better environment to have given birth to Passing Strange. Probably because there is none.

Finally, fine folks at TheatreWorks are always right on top of this stuff and provide the following list of their Tony connections:

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Danny Burstein, South Pacific Рat TWorks in Everything’s Ducky (World Premiere from Bill Russell and Henry Krieger)
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Laura Benanti, Gypsy – at TWorks in Caraboo (written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning author Marsha Norman) at New Works Festival reading
BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Andy Blankenbuehler, In the Heights – at TWorks for Kept and A Little Princess (world Premiere from Andrew Lippa and Brian Crawley)
Dan Knechtges, Xanadu – at TWorks for Vanities (world premiere from David Kirshenbaum and Jack Heifner)
BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Catherine Zuber, South Pacific – at TWorks for A Little Princess

For all your Tony Award needs, visit www.tonyawards.com.

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