Silicon Valley's TheaterWorks Wins Regional Tony Award

A nonprofit theater company based out of Silicon Valley won a regional award at Sunday night’s Tony Awards.

Founded by Bay Area native Robert Kelley in 1970 as a theater arts workshop for teenage and college students, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley was chartered by the City of Palo Alto to produce work “that would reflect the concerns of the community during an unsettled period in American life.”

In its early days, the company produced 13 original works in its first three years, when the stage was “a parking garage, a warehouse or basement, an outdoor park” or whatever was available for a performance. It’s currently celebrating its 47th season.

Robert Kelley, the company’s founding artistic director, was at the Tony Awards in New York to accept the award, and thanked “generations of collaborators who have grown TheatreWorks for 50 years” and “the thousands of theater-makers who found an artistic home with us.”

Kelley also thanked the company’s board of directors as well as “our staff, new works directors, arts educators, and the thousands of theatre-makers who found an artistic home with us, especially the playwrights and composers who brought 70 world premieres to our stage and developed hundreds of new works that have been produced across America and around the world.”

In a statement, he said: “Outside the enormous Radio City Music Hall … All I could think was: ‘It doesn’t get any better, or scarier, than this.’ But then, suddenly, there was Montego Glover hosting the TV segment on the ‘red carpet’ we were walking. She was the star of TheatreWorks’ world premiere of ‘Memphis,’ which won the Tony Award in 2010. And when our Tony Award was actually at hand, Danny Burstein was the presenter. He was the hilarious star of our world premiere of ‘Everything’s Ducky’ some years back. With old friends in this very unfamiliar place I could relax and thank the many thousands of artists and audiences who had grown TheatreWorks Silicon Valley for 50 amazing years.”

Other Bay Area companies that have received the regional Tony include the American Conservatory Theater (1979), the San Francisco Mime Troupe (1987) and Berkeley Repertory Theatre (1997).

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