Tony Time

Dallas Theater Center wins this year's coveted regional Tony Award

Dallas Theater Center wins this year's coveted regional Tony Award

Wyly Theatre in Dallas
The Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre. Photo by Iwan Baan
Kevin Moriarty and Jeff Woodward
Dallas Theater Center artistic director Kevin Moriarty and managing director Jeff Woodward. Photo by Karen Almond
Wyly Theatre in Dallas
Kevin Moriarty and Jeff Woodward

On June 11, the rest of the country will join in giving Dallas Theater Center a much-deserved round of applause when the company is presented with the 2017 Regional Theater Tony Award.

The Tony Awards are America's highest theatrical honor, and each year they single out one nonprofit professional regional theater company in the United States that "has displayed a continuous level of artistic achievement contributing to the growth of theater nationally." The award is nominated and voted on by the American Theatre Critics Association (of which I am a voting member).

“The Tony Award is one of the most coveted honors in the American theater, and receiving it is a cause for great celebration throughout Dallas,” says DTC artistic director Kevin Moriarty in a release. “This award is in recognition of DTC’s nearly 60 years of achievement. It’s a testament to the artistry of the theater’s previous artistic directors: Paul Baker, Adrian Hall, Ken Bryant, and Richard Hamburger. It’s an honor for the many talented artists whose work has graced our stages. It’s an acknowledgement of the deep relationship between DTC and our community here in North Texas, for whom we produce plays that inspire meaningful conversations. It’s a tribute to the diversity of artists who seek to create art that mirrors the glorious diversity of our community. And it’s a validation of our city’s shared belief that a great city requires great art to bring us together, ask vital questions, and inspire us to build a more perfect union.”

Dallas Theater Center is the resident company of the AT&T Performing Arts Center, and is a member of the League of Resident Theatres. The Diane and Hal Brierley Resident Acting Company demonstrates DTC’s abiding commitment to supporting a core group of resident artists.

Several of its world-premiere shows have gone on to enjoy productions in New York City: Bella will play off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons this May and June, while Lysistrata Jones (titled Give It Up! in Dallas) played Broadway in 2011. That same playwright, Douglas Carter Beane, will premiere his new musical Hood at DTC this summer.

“This is a unique Tony Award because it does not honor a single play, performance, director, or design, it honors a body of work over a number of years,” says DTC managing director Jeff Woodward in a release. “This award honors our terrific and talented staff and our dedicated board of trustees, led by Julie Hersh and Jeff Bragalone. It honors our adventurous audience, especially our subscribers. It honors the strong and consistent support we receive from our donors, and it honors the great city of Dallas.”

Some of DTC's significant innovations include the launching of Public Works Dallas, a groundbreaking community engagement and participatory theater project designed to deliberately blur the line between professional artists and community members, and receiving a 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award for Project Discovery, a program that provides in-depth theater experiences for thousands of teens from 30 North Texas high schools.

“DTC is one of the oldest regional theaters in the country,” says Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, in a release. “They truly embody the importance of bringing live theater to audiences and educational programs to schools and youth throughout the community. Arts education is one of the most vital programs we can offer today’s youth, and as it continues to be threatened, theaters around the country are stepping in to fill the voids that the cuts have created. We are proud of the community of theater, and DTC, that are stepping in to provide this vital form of education.”

The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing present the Tony Awards, which will be broadcast live on CBS June 11 from Radio City Music Hall. Kevin Spacey is this year's host.

Dallas Theater Center's immersive, site-specific production of Electra runs through May 27. It's next play, Inherit the Wind, opens May 16 at the Kalita Humphreys Theater.