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Seattle’s Intiman Theatre wins regional Tony

Committee cited productions of ‘Nickel and Dimed,’ ‘The Light in the Piazza’
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Intiman Theatre, which in recent years has premiered such critically praised productions as “Nickel and Dimed” and “The Light in the Piazza,” won the 2006 regional theater Tony.

The award was announced Tuesday along with nominations for next month’s 60th annual Tonys ceremony, honoring the best of the Broadway season.

“Like with any award, you stand on your toes a little bit,” said Bartlett Sher, the Intiman’s artistic director. “It’s like the lion in ‘The Wizard of Oz’: You feel a little more courage when you’ve got a medal pinned to your chest.”

In addition, Sher received a Tony nomination for his direction of “Awake and Sing!” The Lincoln Center Theater revival of Clifford Odets’ landmark Depression drama picked up eight nominations, more than any other play.

In choosing Seattle’s Intiman as this year’s regional theater award recipient, the American Theatre Critics Association cited the premieres of “Nickel and Dimed,” an adaptation of Barbara Ehrenreich’s nonfiction best seller about her attempts to make ends meet while working low-end jobs; “The Kentucky Cycle,” which was nominated for three Tonys in 1994; and the romantic, Italian-set musical “The Light in the Piazza.”

“Nickel and Dimed” has become one of the most frequently produced new plays in the country, and “The Light in the Piazza” won six Tonys last season.

Intiman was also honored for its community and education programs, including its five-year series “The American Cycle,” which has so far used productions of “Our Town” and “The Grapes of Wrath” to explore American life.

Last year’s production of “The Grapes of Wrath” was accompanied by public readings, a high school production and a panel discussion about migrant life and environmental disasters in Washington state.

The regional theater Tony comes with a $25,000 grant, which will be rolled into the Intiman’s artistic programming budget, Sher said.

The Intiman was founded in 1972 and named after a small theater founded in Stockholm, Sweden, by the playwright August Strindberg. The name means “The Intimate” in Swedish.