We want to be a part of it – New York, New York! On Sunday, June 12th Court staff was awarded the Regional Theatre Tony Award at Radio City Music Hall as part of the 75th Annual Tony Awards.
The Court group had staggered arrivals throughout the weekend, taking the time prior to the awards show to both prepare and explore. Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director Charles Newell and Executive Director Angel Ysaguirre attended a rehearsal for the award presentation, and met with members of our Board, while other staff took in exhibits at the Whitney and the Frick, attended productions at the Metropolitan Opera and on Broadway, and walked the High Line. We made sure to do right by the city that never sleeps!
On the day of the event, there was a pre-show reception held in midtown Manhattan, just around the corner from Radio City. Staff, trustees, and artists shared small plates and drinks, as University of Chicago Provost Ka Yee Lee, Gustavo Bamberger, and Charles Newell all gave toasts.
A highlight of the reception was the outfit worn by Trustee Diane Anderson. This outfit was, in fact, a costume from the 1992 Court production of The Mystery Cycle: The Creation. Featuring stunning beadwork and a vibrant lining, this piece was a sight to behold and a lovely symbol of Diane’s longtime commitment to Court.
After the pre-show reception, the group made their way to Radio City Musical Hall, wherein everyone presented their COVID-19 pass and was granted entry. Charlie and Angel walked the red carpet (which was actually silver!) and met the rest of the group inside. One hour prior to the start of the ceremony, there was an “Act One” streaming segment – hosted by Julianne Hough and Darren Criss – presenting Tony awards to creative and design team members.
The televised broadcast then began, hosted by Ariana Debose. Court attendees were thrilled, watching each performance in awe and celebrating each win as if it were our own. University of Chicago alumnus Mikhail Fiksel was presented with the Tony Award for Best Sound Design, a tremendous recognition for both the university and the Chicago theatre community. Fiksel was the sound designer for the 2021 Court production of Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912) and has collaborated with the Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Victory Gardens, and Writers Theatre, among others.
The telecast continued and – just after Bernadette Peters performed “Children Will Listen” to honor the late Stephen Sondheim – Charlie and Angel were presented with the Regional Theatre Tony Award onstage by Kelly Coffey of City National Bank. Court staff and friends applauded and cheered, as Charlie and Angel delivered their acceptance remarks. At a break in the telecast, Charlie and Angel re-joined the group and brought the award with them. Everyone had the opportunity to hold the award – remarking on both its weight and its spinning disk – with many taking photos to send back to friends, family, and colleagues in Chicago.
Upon the conclusion of the Tony Awards, Court attendees re-assembled at a nearby bar for celebratory drinks. Charlie gave a brief, emotional speech thanking everyone from Court’s past and present who made this award possible. The celebrations continued until about 2:00am, at which point, the last staff members (this writer included), stumbled home to get some rest after a truly memorable evening.
As Charlie said in his post-show toast: “This is an extraordinary moment…Steve Albert said, ‘We gotta have big dreams, we’re Chicago. We’ve gotta have big plans.’ Steve Albert challenged us to think big, have big ambitions, and we achieved one of those goals tonight.”