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Another Tony And (Perhaps) More To Come!

Lookingglass wins Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre

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May 3, 2011 | by Wendy Leopold
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Todd Rosenthal and Anna Shapiro

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Lookingglass Theatre Company -- which began as a Northwestern University student group and now is an ensemble primarily comprised of Northwestern alumni and faculty -- today was named the winner of the 2011 Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre. In addition, faculty members Anna D. Shapiro and Todd Rosenthal and alumni Lily Rabe and David Thompson received Tony nominations.

Lookingglass artistic director and Northwestern alumnus Andy White called the Tony Award “the triumph of an enormous collective of people.”

School of Communication professors Shapiro and Rosenthal were nominated for Best Direction and Best Scenic Design, respectively, for their work on “The Motherf**ker with the Hat.” The two earned Tony awards in the same categories in 2008 for their work on “August: Osage County.”

Rabe, who graduated from in 2004, was nominated for Best Actress in a Play for her role in “Merchant of Venice.” She first played Portia in a 2010 Shakespeare in the Park production that also starred Al Pacino as Shylock. 

Thompson, a Medill graduate, was nominated for Best Book of a Musical for “The Scottsboro Boys.” Based on an historic miscarriage of justice involving nine African-American boys accused of rape in Alabama in 1931, the show earned 12 Tony nominations. It closed earlier this season.

Lookingglass Theatre was founded in 1988 by eight Northwestern students, and in two decades has emerged as a powerful theatrical force both in Chicago and the nation. Among its members are alumna Mary Zimmerman, now Jaharis Family Foundation Professor of Performance Studies, and Daniel Ostling, associate professor of theatre. Both received 2002 Tony awards for their work on “Metamorphoses,” Zimmerman’s dramatic adaptation of Ovid’s classic poem.

A year ago, John Logan -- a 1983 School of Communication alumnus whose writing career began at Northwestern University in the early 1980s -- walked off with the Tony Award for Best Play for “Red,” a drama about abstract artist Mark Rothko that earned six Tony awards. Logan wrote his first play as a student at Northwestern and has gone on to win accolades for screenplays including “The Aviator,” “Gladiator” and “Any Given Sunday.”

This year’s “Motherf**ker with the Hat” also received Tony Nominations for Best Play, Best Featured Actor in a Play and Best Featured Actress in a Play.

The Tony Awards will be presented by the American Theatre Wing in June.