After 38 years of recognizing outstanding regional theaters outside NYC with its Tony Award for a Regional Theater (see list), the Tony administration has changed the award going forward to include non-Broadway theaters within the city. According to its June 13, 2013 press release, “The Tony Awards Administration Committee has announced that starting with the 2013-2014 season, New York-based theatre companies can now be eligible to receive the Regional Theatre Award.”
The award belongs exclusively to the Tonys, of course. However, it was begun in 1976 at the instigation of ATCA members, from the start ATCA was given the responsibility of making a recommendation, and it has always gone to the theater recommended by ATCA after its confidential selection process. In recognition of this, there was some informal advance discussion of the change between Tony and ATCA leaders, who expressed conflicting points of view, but ATCA was never approached formally.
The press release continues: “ ‘The Regional Theatre Award honors artistic achievement contributing to the growth of theatre nationally,’ said Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of The Broadway League & Heather Hitchens, Executive Director of the American Theatre Wing. ‘New York has some of the most prestigious and creative theatre groups in the country and we are thrilled to include the New York theatre community in this category.’ ”
There is a bit more information in the resulting New York Times article (take a look), but there is no mention there of how the awardee is chosen or of ATCA’s key function. A more comprehensive article appeared in Playbill, June 28. The ATCA executive committee expects discussion on this subject at the West Virginia conference, July 17-21, by which time there may be more instruction from the League and Wing on the new parameters for the award.