story & photo
by Tony Schillaci & Don Church
The 2010 Tony Awards came to New London when the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and the Garde Arts Center hosted a televised broadcast of the event on June 13. Theater-goers gathered at the Garde to share the excitement of the O’Neill winning a Tony award for Best Regional Theatre in America.
Preston Whiteway, executive director, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, accepted the award from Michael Douglas, an O’Neill alumnus, saying, “It just reminds one what a place it has in American theater.” Preston thanked the towns of Waterford and New London for their support of theater.
The next night, at the Westport Country Playhouse, Preston accepted the CT Critics Cricle’s (CCC) prestigious Tom Killen Award for Outstanding Contribution to CT Theater.
The other Connecticut theater people who won Tonys included Steve and Ruth Hendel whose musical “Fela” won three awards out of eleven nominations: Best Costume Design of a Musical, Best Sound Design of a Musical, Best Choreography.
The Hendels, who live in Waterford, and have earlier roots in New London and Norwich respectively, are on the O’Neill Board of Directors.
The hit show “Memphis,” produced by Sue Frost, Old Lyme, won Best Muscial, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written, and Best Orchestrations.
The O’Neill is home to the Playwrights Conference, Music Theater Conference, Puppetry Conference, National Theater Institute, Critics Institute and Cabaret and Performance Conference.