Rocking the Tony Awards – Past Tony nominees at Arkansas Rep

Photo by Peter Kramer/ Getty Images Entertainment

The 72nd Tony Awards take place on Sunday, June 10 at Radio City Music Hall (broadcast on CBS).

Over the years, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre has had several Tony nominees work on stage and backstage.

Among these are:

Julie Andrews, who headlined a 2002 fundraiser for Arkansas Rep.  That evening she shared stories about her life and career.  A two-time Tony Award host, she has been nominated three times for Actress in a Musical: My Fair Lady (1957), Camelot (1961) and Victor/Victoria (1996).

Jane Lanier, who choreographed Ring of Fire at Arkansas Rep.  In 1989, she was nominated as Featured Actress in a Musical for her work in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway.  

Mercedes McCambridge, who appeared in ‘night, Mother at the Rep in the spring of 1986.  She was nominated as Featured Actress in a Play for The Love Suicide at Schofield Barracks for the 1972 awards.

Austin Pendleton, who directed A Loss of Roses at Arkansas Rep.  After appearing in the original cast of Tony winning Best Musical Fiddler on the Roof, he later received a Tony nomination for directing the 1981 revival of The Little Foxes which starred Elizabeth Taylor and Maureen Stapleton.

Jane Summerhays, who starred in the Arkansas Rep production of A Loss of Roses.  In 1987, she was nominated for Featured Actress in a Musical for Me and My Girl.

John Tartaglia, who directed 2013’s Because of Winn Dixie.  He was nominated for the 2004 Tony for Actor in a Musical for his performance in Avenue Q.

Japhy Weideman, who was the Rep’s lighting designer in the early 2000’s.  While he was at the Rep, he lit several shows including The Grapes of Wrath, All My Sons and God’s Man in Texas.  He has received Tony nominations for lighting design for his work on The Nance (2013), Of Mice and Men (2014), Airline Highway (2015), The Visit (2015), and Dear Evan Hansen (2017).

The fact that the Arkansas Repertory Theatre has been able to work with theatre artists of this calibre is a testament to the quality of work it has produced.  Giving the opportunity for Arkansas audiences to have this interaction without leaving the state is one of the values of the Rep.

Repertorium Praeter Theatrum

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ROCKing the TONY AWARDS – Jane Summerhays

Rock the Tonys

Photo by  Aubrey Reuben

Photo by Aubrey Reuben

JANE SUMMERHAYS

Little Rock connection: Starred in the Arkansas Rep production of William Inge’s A Loss of Roses.

Tony Award connection: Was nominated for a 1987 Tony for Featured Actress in a Musical for Me and My Girl.

Final Weekend for A LOSS OF ROSES at Arkansas Rep

Theatregoers hoping to not lose out on on Pulitzer Prize winner William Inge’s A Loss of Roses have a few remaining performances to catch it at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

The production, directed by Tony nominee and Obie winner Austin Pendleton, stars Tony nominee Jane  Summerhays, Bret Lada and Jean Lichty as a mother, son and a visitor from their past who resurfaces.

Pendleton directed a staged reading of A Loss of Roses featured in TONGUES at New York’s Cherry Lane Theatre in 2010. Pendleton has served as artistic director of the Circle Repertory Theatre Company in New York and is an ensemble member of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

“Bringing a rarely-produced work by William Inge to the stage is cause for celebration; doubly so when the creative team is led by Austin Pendleton,” says Arkansas Rep Producing Artistic Director Robert Hupp. “He’s assembled a dynamic cast for this fascinating play. Arkansas Rep is honored to introduce A Loss of Roses to a new generation of theatregoers and to re-examine Inge in the context of what he spoke of as his favorite among his many works.”

The cast also features Todd Gearhart, Max Jenkins and Sara Croft as members of a traveling troupe of actors and Keegan McDonald, Katye Dunn and Sydni Whitfield as neighbors of the central family.

A Loss of Roses plays tonight at 7pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday, July 1 at 7pm.

Next up at Arkansas Rep: William Inge’s A LOSS OF ROSES

The original version of William Inge’s A Loss of Roses will open this Friday on June 15, 2012, at Arkansas Repertory Theatre. The revival will be directed by Tony nominee and Obie winner Austin Pendleton.

“I discovered A Loss of Roses a few years ago. I thought: this is a forgotten beautiful American play, full of colorful people and rich, juicy humor, and full of tragedy,” says Pendleton. “Since I read it, I’ve wanted to do it. I’m thrilled a theatre as good as Arkansas Rep is letting me do it.”

Pendleton directed a staged reading of A Loss of Roses featured in TONGUES at New York’s Cherry Lane Theatre in 2010. Pendleton has served as artistic director of the Circle Repertory Theatre Company in New York and is an ensemble member of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

Pendleton says several of Inge’s plays have been revived by theatre artists wanting to tackle the playwright’s well-made plays. However, A Loss of Roses has remained mostly on the shelf since it closed on Broadway in 1959.

Arkansas Rep’s production will feature Jean Lichty as Lila Green, Tony nominee Jane Summerhays as Helen Baird and Bret Lada as Kenny.

“Bringing a rarely-produced work by William Inge to the stage is cause for celebration; doubly so when the creative team is led by Austin Pendleton,” says Arkansas Rep Producing Artistic Director Robert Hupp. “He’s assembled a dynamic cast for this fascinating play. Arkansas Rep is honored to introduce A Loss of Roses to a new generation of theatregoers and to re-examine Inge in the context of what he spoke of as his favorite among his many works.”

A Loss of Roses was Inge’s first big setback after a string of critical and commercial successes with Bus Stop and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Picnic. The production was plagued by cast and script changes, earned poor reviews and closed after only three weeks on stage. Inge felt the play was one of his best, and was said to be stung by the criticisms.

“This play is not the play that was produced in New York last November,” Inge writes in his foreword in 1960. “It was greatly changed by the time the play opened at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. Now I can’t remember why all the changes were thought necessary at the time, but working under the pressure that exists in theatre today, people become excited and mistrust their best instincts.”

A Loss of Roses will run June 15 – July 1, 2012, at Arkansas Repertory Theatre at 601 Main Street, Little Rock?