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

Tony Awards Week – Japhy Weideman



Last month former Arkansas Rep resident lighting designer Japhy Weideman was recognized with an Obie Award for his continuous outstanding lighting design Off Broadway.  While he was at the Rep, he lit several shows including The Grapes of Wrath, All My Sons and God’s Man in Texas.

Sunday, Weideman is nominated for the Tony for Lighting Design of a Play for Airline Highway. He is also nominated for the Tony for Lighting Design of a Musical for The Visit.  In an even rarer feat, both shows opened the same night.  He is one of a handful of people to ever have two shows open on the same night.

Weideman was nominated in 2013 for Lighting Design of a Play for The Nance which starred Nathan Lane.  Last season he was nominated for his design of Of Mice and Men which starred James Franco, Chris O’Dowd, Leighton Meester and Jim Norton.

Other Broadway credits include The Snow Geese and a Lincoln Center production of The Scottish Play which starred Ethan Hawke.  This season he also designed the lighting for a revival of The Heidi Chronicles which starred Elisabeth Moss, Jason Biggs and Bryce Pinkham.   One of the producers of that revival was Little Rock native Will Trice.  Weideman and Trice will reunite next season in a revival of A. R. Gurney’s comedy Sylvia which is to star Tony winner (and current nominee) Julie White and two-time Tony nominee Annaleigh Ashford.

ROCKing the TONYS – Japhy Weideman

Rock the TonysJaphy Weideman


Photo courtesy of Shevett Studios

Little Rock connection: Designed the lighting for several shows at Arkansas Repertory Theatre including The Grapes of Wrath, All My Sons and God’s Man in Texas.

Tony Awards connection: Received a 2013 nomination for his lighting design of The Nance.  This season he has been represented on Broadway with The Snow Geese, Macbeth and Of Mice and Men. The latter play, starring James Franco, Chris O’Dowd, Leighton Meester and Jim Norton, opens on Broadway tonight.

TONY AWARDS tonight — Some Arkansas connections

TonyAwards-328x253.328.254The American Theatre Wing and Broadway League present the 67th Antoinette Perry Awards – also known as the Tony Awards – tonight. They will be aired on CBS (THV11 in Central Arkansas) at 7pm CDT.

There are a few Arkansas connections to this year’s nominees of the best of Broadway.

Arkansas natives and previous Tony winners Will Trice and Remmel T. Dickinson are each nominated again this year for producing. Trice is one of the producers of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, nominated for Best Revival of a Play. Dickinson is a producer of Best Musical nominee Matilda. Both of those productions received multiple Tony nominations.

Tony winner Roger Horchow of Texas was married for nearly 50 years to Little Rock native Carolyn Pfeifer, until her 2009 death. Horchow and his daughter Sally are both nominated for producing the revival of Annie which is currently pleasing crowds on Broadway.

Chet Walker is nominated for his choreography for the revival of Pippin. Walker’s parents live in Maumelle. He has been a guest instructor for the Arkansas Dance Network. (Thanks to Christen Burke Pitts–herself an outstanding choreographer–for pointing out this Arkansas connection.)

Japhy Weideman is nominated for Best Lighting Design of a Play for his work on the new play The Nance. This is his first Tony nomination and his first season to be lighting plays on Broadway. He has previously received acclaim for his work Off Broadway. Weideman has been a lighting designer at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre in the past.

One final nominee with an Arkansas connection. A couple of years ago, the Clinton School of Public Service brought actor Holland Taylor to Little Rock to discuss her play Ann about Texas Gov. Ann Richards. At that point in time, Ms. Taylor was performing the play throughout the country, but she did not know if it would be performed in New York. It made it to Broadway this season, and she received a Tony nomination for Actress in a Play for her work.

Whether these nominees win or lose tonight, it is a testament to Little Rock’s cultural richness that there are several nominees this year with connections to The Rock.

Two LR theatre alums among 2013 Tony nominees

The nominations for the 67th Tony Awards were announced this morning.  At least two of the nominees have connections to Little Rock.

Trice at last year's Tony Awards (photo by Lisa Pacino)

Trice at last year’s Tony Awards (photo by Lisa Pacino)

Little Rock native Will Trice, who won a Tony Award last year for producing the revival of Porgy and Bess, has been nominated for producing this season’s revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  That production earned a total of five nominations.

Trice (who is an associate of one of Broadway’s leading producers Jeffrey Richards) was also represented on Broadway this season with a revival of Glengarry Glen Ross and the new play The Anarchist.  He is currently working on projects for next season including a transfer to Broadway of an acclaimed revival of The Glass Menagerie which stars two-time Tony winner Cherry Jones, two-time Tony nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger and Zachary Quinto.



Japhy Weideman received a Tony nomination for his lighting design of the new play The Nance.  For several seasons, Weideman was a lighting designer at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.  Though he has extensive credits Off Broadway, in regional theatres and in opera, this season is Weideman’s first on Broadway.  He also designed the lighting for a Broadway revival of Cyrano de Bergerac earlier this season.

In 2005 and 2007, Weideman received Drama Desk nominations for his design of Off Broadway productions.  His recent theatre credits include two Pulitzer Prize finalists: 4000 Miles and Sons of the Prophet.  His work has been seen throughout the US, Scotland, England and Greece.

Little Rock theatre alums making National theatre news

Some national theatre news with Little Rock connections:

ark repOn Monday, April 15, Douglas Carter Beane’s new play The Nance opened on Broadway.  Japhy Weideman, who was a lighting designer for the Arkansas Repertory Theatre a few seasons back, designed the lighting for this Lincoln Center Theatre production at the Lyceum Theatre.  Earlier this season, he designed lighting for a Broadway revival of Cyrano de Bergerac.  One of the cast members of The Nance was Mylinda Hull, who starred in the Rep’s production of Damn Yankees in 2000.


Little Rock Hall High graduate David Auburn won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for his play Proof.  His latest play, Lost Lake, was just selected for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2013 National Playwrights Conference in Waterford, CT. Wendy Goldberg, the artistic director of the Playwright’s Conference, will direct Auburn’s play on July 26 and 27.   Auburn was invited to submit a new play for this year’s Playwright’s Conference.   While he was growing up in Little Rock, he participated in the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre.