Founded by the late Ellen Stewart, La MaMa played an integral role in launching the careers of a long string of notable artists, including Sam Shepard, Julie Taymor, Diane Lane, Harvey Fierstein, Philip Glass and Amy Sedaris. In the 1960s, the theater and its programming were influential in establishing the Off Off Broadway movement, which embraced experimental and avant-garde new works in stark contract to the splashy commercial fare that is most likely to find success on Broadway.
The Regional Theater Tony is one of a handful of awards for which Tony organizers announce winners in advance of the main competitive categories, with full nominations due to be announced tomorrow morning. The regional award originally honored only theaters outside the New York area, but in more recent years, winners have alternated between regional venues and New York organizations that aren’t eligible for Tony Awards because they aren’t classified as Broadway.
The regional theater Tony comes with a grant of $25,000. Also on the slate of Tony recipients this year are Chita Rivera and Andrew Lloyd Webber, both set to take home lifetime achievement awards, as well as photographer Sara Krulwich, costume beader Bessie Nelson and Broadway dry cleaning service Ernest Winzer Clearners, each due to receive special Tony Awards.
Nominations for the 72nd annual Tony Awards will be announced May 1, with the ceremony set for June 10.