NU alumni and faculty nominated for Tony Awards

Sean Lavery

Northwestern faculty and alumni have picked up three nominations, and one win, for the 2011 Tony Awards.

Anna Shapiro, the head of the graduate directing program at the School of Communication, directed “The Motherf**ker With the Hat.” Communication Prof. Todd Rosenthal performed tasks as a scenic designer for the same production.

Each previously received Tony Awards for their work on the play, “August: Osage County” in 2008.

“The Motherf**ker With the Hat” stars performer Chris Rock and takes theatergoers through issues of alcoholism, sexuality and fidelity. The profane and darkly comedic piece has garnered six nominations, including one for Best Play.

Shapiro has been associated with the Chicago-area Steppenwolf Theatre Company since 1995. Both Shapiro and Rosenthal are graduates of the Yale School of Drama.

Alumna Lily Rabe (Communication ’04) received a Best Actress nomination for her performance in the play “The Merchant of Venice,” as part of the series “Shakespeare in the Park” in Central Park in New York City. A New York Times review of the play said Rabe’s role as Portia in the Shakespearean classic was a “smashing break-out performance.”

Lookingglass Theatre Company, an ensemble that originated at NU and continues to feature many alumni and faculty, won the 2011 Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre. Lookingglass, founded in 1988, has staged 55 world premieres and toured productions to more than a dozen American cities. Artistic Director Andy White said he credits the entire ensemble for the win, the Associated Press reported.

“We’re very collective, very democratic,” White said. “We try and bring that spirit to all of our work. Truly this is the triumph of an enormous collective of people.”

The 2011 Tony Awards will take place June 12.

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