Chicago Shakespeare Theater Receives
2008 Regional Theatre Tony Award®
Sunday, June 15, 2008—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) today received the 2008 Regional Theatre Tony Award at th 62nd Antoinette Perry "Tony" Awards hosted by Whoopi Goldberg at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Tony Award-winning actor Michael Cerveris (Assassins, 2004) and Chicago Shakespeare veteran (A Little Night Music, 2003) presented the award to CST Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson.
One of the most coveted honors in the entertainment industry, the Regional Theatre Tony Award honors a
nonprofit professional regional theatre company in the United States that has displayed a continuous level of
artistic achievement contributing to the growth of theatre nationally. It is awarded by The Broadway League and
the American Theatre Wing based upon a recommendation by the American Theatre Critics Association and is
accompanied by a grant of $25,000 sponsored by Visa, U.S.A.
CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin, Creative Producer Rick Boynton, and members of the Board of
Directors, including Frank D. Ballantine, C. Gary Gerst, M. Hill Hammock, Judith Pierpont, Mark E. Rose, Steven
J. Solomon and Gayle R. Tilles also attended the ceremony in New York City. Chicago Shakespeare hosted a
pre-event dinner at The Michelangelo Hotel in Midtown Manhattan where CST friends and supporters celebrated
In accepting the Tony Award, Artistic Director Barbara Gaines thanked the American Theatre Critics Association, the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League and reflected on Chicago Shakespeare's journey to the Tony: "This moment runs a close second to the day twenty years ago when we produced Henry V on the roof of an English pub overlooking Chicago's Lincoln Park. Without that risky moment, this celebratory moment would not have come to pass, and we only could have taken that risk in Chicago, a world class city, a place where the arts are cherished and where theater is celebrated with generosity and passion."
Addressing an audience of theatrical luminaries at Radio City Music Hall, she concluded, "If you have been to Chicago Shakespeare, you know it is a home for artists from Chicago, from America and from all around the great globe itself. If you haven't been to Chicago Shakespeare, take the New Jersey Turnpike to I-80 and turn left."
"This is not only an extraordinary honor for Chicago Shakespeare Theater, it is a bold statement for Chicago—the 'Tony-est' city in America, now claiming four Regional Theatre Tony Awards," said Executive Director Criss Henderson upon receiving news of the Award. "We recognize that our work is made possible by a
welcoming artistic community, generous support from our Board and community leaders throughout the City,
enthusiastic subscribers and audience members."
For the past two decades, Gaines and Henderson have led CST from a modest Shakespeare theater operating
out of a dance auditorium on Chicago's north side to the establishment of one of Chicago's leading cultural
institutions and one of America's largest and most respected nonprofit theaters in a state-of-the-art facility on Navy Pier with a $14 million operating budget. By coupling the talents of the Theater's producing team with an international roster of distinguished actors, CST aims to give theatergoers the means to explore the dramatic works of William Shakespeare and other classics, while providing important counterpoint through newly
commissioned plays and the presentation of acclaimed guest artists from across the globe.
Through a 50-week season encompassing more than 600 performances, CST leads the Chicago community as
the largest employer of theater artists. CST attracts 225,000 audience members annually, including 20,500
subscribers and nearly 50,000 students and teachers.
Recent projects outside CST's resident performance spaces include engagements at the Royal Shakespeare
Company in Stratford-upon-Avon (Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 directed by Barbara Gaines); on London's West End at Donmar Warehouse (Pacific Overtures directed by Gary Griffin; three 2004 Olivier Awards, including Outstanding Musical Production); in New York at The Duke on 42nd Street (Rose Rage directed by Edward Hall) and The New Victory Theater (Marionette Macbeth directed by Eugenio Monti Colla and Kate Buckley); and on tour nationally through the National Endowment for the Arts Shakespeare in American Communities program. Upcoming productions at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier include The Q Brothers' world premiere ad-rap-tation Funk It Up About Nothin'—based on William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing—June 25 through August 3, 2008 followed by an engagement at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; Willy Wonka, a new family musical based on Roald Dahl's children's classic directed by Joe Leonardo, July 8 through August 17, 2008; and a free outdoor spectacle created by France's Compagnie Transe Express, Maudits Sonnants, July 11 and 12, 2008, as part of CST's World's Stage Series. The fall theater season kicks off with Peter Shaffer's drama, Amadeus staged by Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin, September 6 through November 9, 2008. For further information visit the Theater's website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
American Airlines is the official airline of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
ComEd is the official lighting design sponsor of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Programming Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare is made possible through generous support from Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
Kraft Foods is the principal sponsor of Team Shakespeare, the Theater's program for students and teachers.
Artistic productions in the Courtyard Theater are supported, in part, through a generous grant from the McCormick Foundation.
Harris Bank is the production sponsor of Willy Wonka.
Project funding for Maudits Sonnants is generously provided by the Cultural Services of the French Consulate in Chicago, Alliance Française de Chicago, Étant donnés: The French-American Fund for the Performing Arts, a program of FACE and Navy Pier.