Thanks to a Tony Award win for “Take Me Out” in the Best Revival of a Play category, Second Stage Theater can finally join the ranks of the other nonprofit theater organizations on Broadway. The re-staging of Richard Greenberg’s baseball drama is their first Tony win in one of the production categories since Second Stage found a permanent home on Broadway.
Second Stage was founded in 1979 and has been a haven for exciting Off-Broadway ventures for years. While some of those productions have transferred to Broadway houses and even won Tonys (including Best Musical champion “Dear Evan Hansen” which was produced “in association with” the nonprofit), a Second Stage produced play has never won a top Tony category until now. Not bad considering they’ve only been on Broadway for four years.
The non-profit purchased The Hayes Theater (named after the legendary Helen Hayes) in 2015. This theater is the smallest house on Broadway and proved to be the perfect intimate setting for the plays Second Stage has become famous for staging. Once the deal was signed for The Hayes, the company became the fourth non-profit theater organization with a Broadway house of their own, the others being Manhattan Theatre Club (at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre), Lincoln Center Theater (at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre), and Roundabout Theatre Company (at both The American Airlines Theatre and Studio 54). Second Stage first programmed a show at the Hayes in 2018 with “Lobby Hero.”
Manhattan Theatre Club has previously won the Revival of a Play category for August Wilson’s “Jitney” and the Best Play category for John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt,” David Auburn’s “Proof,” and Terrence McNally’s “Love! Valour! Compassion!” MTC was represented this year with “Skeleton Crew” and “How I Learned to Drive.” Lincoln Center Theater has won a production category at the Tonys a whopping 17 times. Their recent victories include the revival of “The King and I” and the play “Oslo,” which played the Beaumont. Roundabout added to their Tony count last season with a win for Charles Fuller’s “A Soldier’s Play.”
Second Stage started earning Tony nominations as a producer as far back as 2002, with the play “Metamorphoses.” But since buying the Hayes, they have racked up bids for their productions of “Lobby Hero,” “Torch Song,” “Grand Horizons,” and “Clyde’s.” With their win for ‘Take Me Out,” now all four non-profits with a presence on Broadway can claim a top-tier Tony for an in-house production.
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