Entire Lookingglass Ensemble--minus one--in New York for Tony Awards

June 12, 2011

Members of Chicago's Lookingglass Theater at the Tony Awards Sunday.

David Kersnar was the only guy minding the store at Lookingglass Theatre Company Saturday night, just 24 hours before the company was to receive the 2011 Tony Award as Outstanding Regional Theatre.

He was the only one of the troupe's 38 ensemble members and affiliate artists who was on hand in Chicago to oversee the opening night of The Last Act of Lilka Kadison, the world premiere play closing the Lookingglass season.

Kersnar kinda-sorta-hadda be there as co-author and director of the show. What's unusual, and lucky, is that no members of the ensemble are in the four-person cast (a very small one by Lookingglass standards).

"So, you're the one who got stuck in Chicago!" I greeted him.

"Yeah, and everyone's tweeting me from New York right now," Kersnar replied. "They're having a party with our Board of Directors. But I'm on a 7AM flight to New York tomorrow. The entire ensemble will be there except Tom Cox, who's in the show at Northlight with John Mahoney and Rondi Reed. He has a performance tomorrow."

I said that if the Tony Awards followed the usual pattern, only two or three company representatives would actually be onstage to receive the award.

"That's right," he said. "The rest of us will be up in the cheering section. I think there will be four of us accepting the award: Andy (Andrew White, artistic director), Phil (Philip R. Smith, producing artistic director), Heidi (Heidi Stillman, artistic director of new work) and Rachel (Rachel E. Kraft, executive director)."

Like Kersnar, who served as Lookingglass artistic director for several years, White, Smith and Stillman are company co-founders. The numerous variations on the artistic director title create an unusual flow chart for a theater company, but it seems to work for Lookingglass.

For those of you watching the Tony Awards on TV Sunday night (7PM Chicago time), don't hold your breath waiting for The Big Moment. The Regional Theatre Tony will be presented to the live New York audience during a commercial break in the broadcast, and then a short clip of it--perhaps 30 seconds at most--will be aired later on. Don't blink or you might miss it.

FYI: many loyal Lookingglass friends and supporters will be gathering Sunday night at Rockit Bar & Grill (22 W. Hubbard Street) for a Tony Awards party.