The American Theatre Wing nominated two plays commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for 2017 Tony Awards on May 2, including Best Play. Commissioned through OSF’s American Revolutions: The United States History Cycle, "Sweat" by Lynn Nottage and "Indecent" by Paula Vogel each received three nominations.
“Both of these extraordinary plays by these remarkable writers capture the beauty and complication of our human hearts, and remind us all of our responsibility to take care of each other when anyone’s life and dignity is under assault,” said Alison Carey, director of American Revolutions. “Set in different times and places, the plays also make clear that history requires us to remain vigilant against any return of its darkest moments. We are so fortunate these plays are here to guide us to a more humane future.”
American Revolutions is OSF’s multi-decade program of commissioning and developing 37 new plays about moments of change in United States history. Launched in 2008, 32 plays have been commissioned so far and the final five will be announced this year. The writing and development of American Revolutions plays is expected to last at least through 2027.
"Sweat" and "Indecent" are the only works by living female playwrights on Broadway this season, and mark the Broadway debuts for both Nottage and Vogel. Also receiving Tony nominations were Sweat actors Johanna Day and Michelle Wilson and Indecent director Rebecca Taichman and lighting designer Christopher Akerlind.
“We’re thrilled and humbled by the Tony nominations for these two powerful plays that were commissioned by American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle program,” said OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch. “In particular, that half of the four works nominated for Best Play came out of American Revolutions is a well-deserved affirmation of the amazing work of Director Alison Carey and Associate Director Julie Felise Dubiner in their creation and curation of this commissioning program.
"I’m also gratified to see that the theater community is beginning the long-overdue work of addressing gender parity in our field. The nominations of Lynn Nottage, Paula Vogel, Rebecca Taichman and the other women in this year’s Tony nominations are hopefully just one of many steps that are being taken to address this historical inequity.”
Sweat was co-commissioned with Arena Stage and had its world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2015. It was produced by Arena Stage and the Public Theater in 2016. The play earned Nottage her second Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2017, and she is the first woman to win that prize twice.
Indecent was co-commissioned with Yale Repertory Theatre and premiered at Yale and La Jolla Playhouse in 2015, followed by a run at the Vineyard Theatre in 2016.
“While we do not have plans to produce Indecent at OSF in 2018,” Rauch said, “we look forward to considering it for future seasons, and I am thrilled that the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis has already committed to producing it in their 2017-18 season. We have no doubt that both 'Indecent' and 'Sweat' will enjoy healthy lives in the regional theatre for years to come.”
Along with Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way, three American Revolutions commissions have now been nominated for Tony Awards. All the Way won for Best Play and Best Actor in a Play (Bryan Cranston) in 2014.