Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Big Tony

Last night The Dallas Theater Center was given a rare Regional Tony Award for their work.   

Well deserved!  

In a radio interview Dallas Theater Center's artistic director, Kevin Moriarty, credited this win "to every carpenter and..." going on to explain that it is the result of decades of good work under several ADs and by many many artists and box office clerks and so on...  

I agree.  This is, in part, a win for the whole theatrical ecosystem of DFW.  

Important as the DTC is and Tony-Award-winningly TM excellent! as it's work obviously is, it just can't do such high quality work without a whole supportive world of contributors.  Contributors of both ticket money and artistic talent.  A Tony!  Wow, what a great validation.


Speaking of Thanks Due, I'd like to nod now to several theater colleagues who aren't around to share this community thrill:  

Kristina Baker, who died seven years ago now.  A wonderful performer and singer who I remember best as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd.  I remember this show well because it was my first set design for a musical.  (Who knew musicals were different?  Or so hard?)  Kristina was wonderfully patient and good humored about those crazy-tall kinda-welded-together rickety metal stairs I made her climb.  While singing!  This show put WaterTower Theater on the map.  (And me too.)  Kristina helped raise the bar for local actors, while being unfailingly kind and helpful to us all.  Helping create the kind of theater ecosystem we have here.

Wade Giampa, who died in 2009.  A terrific scenic designer.  Lovely scenic painter.  His work raised the production values at Lyric Stage - famous for their musicals - and wherever he worked.  I remember a conversation with him onstage at a civic theater where, as we talked, he nonchalantly painted with a brush on a long bamboo pole... creating, effortlessly!, a birch forest.  A good and wise friend to me as I was learning about theater, generous with his experience.  Kindly sharing hard-earned wisdom with the newbies is - as Wade's example models - one of the best parts of our theater community.

Rene' Moreno, who died this year.  A wonderful director and much sought after, he was famous for the intellectual seriousness of his work and his gift with actors.  But also a lovely actor.  I had the privilege of designing several sets for him and the unique chance to design a set at Kitchen Dog Theater that featured him in Richard III... in a wheelchair.  A design challenge - all ramps - except for one set of stairs where, at the early off-to-the-party-ditch-Richard scene, his Richard was left behind, unable to climb after the others.  From the bottom of those stairs the look on Rene's face...

Or his voice speaking Shakespeare's:

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

These were all exceptional people... and yet part and parcel of a work-a-day theatrical community that continues on, doing good work...

So great congratulations to the DTC on their Tony!  And a moment to give thanks to - and for - colleagues like these who create a community in which such a cool thing is possible.

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