California's TheatreWorks will receive the 2019 Regional Theatre Award, Playbill has confirmed. The honor will be presented to the San Francisco Bay Area-based organization at the 73rd annual ceremony, set for June 9 at Radio City Music Hall. The award comes with a $25,000 grant.
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Kelley and Executive Director Phil Santora, will celebrate its 50th anniversary season this fall. The 50th lineup will mark Kelley's final as he prepares to step down after founding the company in 1970, shortly after graduating from Stanford.
The non-profit theatre company has produced over 350 productions in the Bay Area since then, beginning with the world premiere of the anti-war musical Popcorn, taking the stage against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. More recent title have included the world premieres of A Paris Love Story by Hershey Felder, The Prince of Egypt, Fly By Night, Daddy Long Legs, Vanities, and, in 2004, an early incarnation of Memphis, which would go on to win the 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical.
“I can think of no better way to begin TheatreWorks’s 50th anniversary season than with this highest honor, a testament to the passion and imaginative spirit of the artists whose work has been presented on TheatreWorks’s stages,” Kelley said in a statement. “There is a joy here, a warmth to the creative process that many have found inspiring. For me, that joy has been worth a lifetime. We dedicate this award to the many thousands of brilliant theatre artists and fiercely committed staff, trustees, and community supporters who have shared our work for half a century.”
As previously reported, a quartet of theatre veterans will receive honorary awards as well. Judith Light will be presented with the Isabelle Stevenson Award, with Lifetime Achievement honors going to Terrence McNally, Rosemary Harris, and Harold Wheeler. Nominations for the competitive categories will be announced April 30.