The Tony Awards Administration Committee said today that, based on the recommendation by the American Theatre Critics Association, the Dallas Theater Center will receive the 2017 Regional Theatre Tony Award.
The DTC is one of the country’s more storied regional theater companies. It was founded by Paul Baker in 1959 as an educational training institution and operated for five decades in the sculptural Kalita Humphries Theater, the only standalone theater designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Baker championed modern works by European experimentalist, notably Eugene Ionesco, while opposing the company’s professionalization. In 1982, Baker was ousted by the board. Leadership of the company eventually was turned over to Adrian Hall, a Texan who had established Providence, RI’s Trinity Square Repertory as one of the country’s leading resident theaters.
Hall and his longtime associate, Broadway and Saturday Night Live designer Eugene Lee, ran both companies, establishing a resident troupe that worked in both cities. Lee oversaw the construction of a temporary space in the heart of Downtown Dallas, where the DTC was based along with the Humphries throughout the 80’s while Dallas invested in the building of an arts district and cultural mall in the area. The company now operates primarily at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre on the campus of the AT&T Performing Arts Center.
Under the leadership since 2007 of artistic director Kevin Moriarty, the DTC has expanded its seasons and co-produced several new works with other nonprofits, including New York’s Public Theater, while continuing its tradition of building a resident company.
“They truly embody the importance of bringing live theater to audiences and educational programs to schools and youth throughout the community,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League and Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing. “Arts education is one of the most vital programs we can offer today’s youth, and as it continues to be threatened, theater around the country are stepping in to fill the voids that the cuts have created. We are proud of the community of theatre, and DTC, that are stepping in to provide this vital form of education.”