The Tony Awards

Move opens up Tony to companies producing Off Broadway, though not for competitive awards

The Tony Awards Administration committee has decided to open up eligibility for its annual Regional Theater Award to New York legit companies.

Kudo, the recipient of which is selected every year by the admin committee, was previously only open to troupes based outside of Gotham. This year’s regional Tony went to Boston’s Huntington Theater Company, with other recent winners including Chicago’s Lookingglass Theater Company, Washington D.C.’s Shakespeare Theater Company and Connecticut’s Eugene O’Neill Theater Company.

The move opens up Broadway’s Tony Awards to New York companies that produce Off Broadway or in even smaller houses, although it won’t make them eligible for any of the ceremony’s major trophies, for which only Main Stem productions are eligible. For nonprofit orgs that rely on subscribers or members, a Tony honoring an org’s overall work could prove a useful selling point in drumming up subscriptions.

A trio of Gotham companies that produce Off Broadway— Manhattan Theater Club, Roundabout Theater Company and Lincoln Center Theater — already have access to the Tonys through the Broadway houses they own. Other Off Broadway firms, such as New York Theater Workshop (“Once,” “Rent”), have shown up regularly at the kudocast because they have produced Off Broadway runs of titles that have gone on to score awards in a subsequent Off Broadway transfer.

This coming season will be the first for which Gotham theaters will be considered for the regional Tony alongside orgs from around the country, with a 2013-14 honoree to be announced in late April or May of next year.

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