NEW YORK — “Anne, they’re ready for you,” someone called out to Anne S. Kohn, the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s associate director of administration. In her evening gown, she glanced across the bar, which overlooked all of Times Square, at a photographer who was snapping photos of guests posing with the evening’s most dazzling attendee.
Or rather, THE Tony, the one Shakespeare’s founding artistic director, Michael Kahn, had collected earlier Sunday night at the 66th annual Tony Awards. His company had won this year’s special trophy for outstanding regional theater company, and now, at an after-party in the Renaissance Times Square Hotel, staffers and board members were taking turns beaming into the camera lens as they held the theater world’s precious silver thingamajig.
“It’s already inscribed!” said Chris Jennings, the troupe’s managing director.
For Washington theater types, the dress code for Tony night is normally jeans or pj’s — the comfier for a long evening in front of the TV, the better. This year, however, a cadre of them had been drawn north to New York because of special awards and a slew of Tony nominations for the Kennedy Center’s well-received revival of “Follies.” And so, terrycloth robes, T-shirts and cookies were traded in for black tie, Jimmy Choos and champagne as the companies not only feasted on Tony glitz but threw parties of their own that lasted into the night.
The Kennedy Center party, held in the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse at Lincoln Center, was a more subdued affair than it might have been, given that “Follies” was awarded only one of the eight Tonys for which it was vying. (Gregg Barnes’s costumes earned a statuette.) Still, the room was filled with cast members, such as Tony nominees Jan Maxwell, Danny Burstein and Ron Raines, who’d just flown in from Los Angeles after completing a run of the show there Saturday night. Also in attendance were director Eric Schaeffer, opera singer and “Follies” actress Rosalind Elias and show backer Adrienne Arsht. (Noticeably absent: Bernadette Peters, the only lead who was not nominated, and whose part in L.A. was performed by Victoria Clark.)
“I’m proud of everyone in this production,” said Michael M. Kaiser, the Kennedy Center’s president, who spearheaded the show’s transfer to Broadway and in the process took on the role of lead producer. Guests nibbled on sliders as they convivially consoled each other about the loss to “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” as best revival of a musical.
Twenty blocks south, at the Renaissance, the partygoers could celebrate without an air of ambiguity. Actors who’ve worked with the Shakespeare, such as Patrick Page — now playing the Green Goblin in “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” — and Miriam Silverman and Adam Green, a married couple who last appeared together in Washington in “The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” mingled as waiters circulated with trays of gorgeous Laduree macaroons.
About 50 staffers and board members made the trip to Manhattan to witness Kahn’s acceptance speech in the 7 o’clock hour of the proceedings — before CBS turned on its cameras. (Kahn said that a donor had generously agreed to foot the travel and party bill.) Some employees, such as Kohn and Lindsay Tolar, the company’s publicist, sat in the balcony of the Beacon Theatre, and their voices actually could be heard during the telecast.
It was they who shouted their approval after “Clybourne Park” won for best play and its author, Bruce Norris, thanked in his acceptance speech yet another Washington company, Woolly Mammoth Theatre.