FSU School of Theatre a major presence as “Memphis” wins big at Tony Awards

Montego Glover

Those neon lights on Broadway shined extra brightly this year for The Florida State University School of Theatre. The 2010 Tony Awards have been announced, and Broadway musical powerhouse “Memphis,” whose credits include numerous Florida State University alumni, has won Best Musical of the Year.

Florida State alumni involved in “Memphis” include star Montego Glover (B.F.A., Music Theatre, 1996); Kevin Covert (B.F.A., Music Theatre, 1992), in an ensemble role on stage; alumnus Steve Rankin (M.F.A., Acting, 1977), the production’s Fight Director; alumna Michelle Rutter (B.F.A., Design Technology, 1995), Hair Supervisor; alumnus Fred Castner (B.A., Theatre, 1985; M.F.A., Costume Design, 1990), Associate Wardrobe Supervisor; and alumna Caite Hevner (B.F.A., Design Technology, 2006), Scenic Design intern.

Memphis also won Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score written for the Theatre.

More than half the 2010 Tony Award categories included productions in which School of Theatre alumni played key roles either on stage or behind the scenes.

No less than five Tony Award-nominated productions reflected the world-class talents of Florida State alumni: “Memphis,” “Lend Me a Tenor,” “The Addams Family,” “Finian’s Rainbow” and “Enron.” “Memphis” earned a remarkable eight nominations — including one for Glover, who competed in the Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical category.

“As the 2010 Tony nominations indicate, we change lives,” said Sally McRorie, dean of the FSU College of Visual Arts, Theatre, and Dance. “Our School of Theatre has an exemplary history of preparing our acting students and, in collaboration with the FSU College of Music, our music theatre aspirants to perform, literally, at the highest levels. From acting to technical theatre, writing to directing, our students shine with promise and our alumni make the magic of theatre come alive.

Sally McRorie
Sally McRorie

For the School of Theatre, this year’s Tony Award nomination list included:

  • “Enron,” the most recent project by Darren Bagert (B.F.A., Music Theatre, 1992), president and producer of Infinity Stages, was nominated for four 2010 Tony Awards. Bagert has a history of leading Tony-winning productions to Broadway, including “Sweeney Todd” by Stephen Sondheim and Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” starring Vanessa Redgrave and Brian Dennehy.
  • The executive producer of the play “Lend Me a Tenor,” Amanda Watkins (B.F.A. Music Theatre, 1992) captured three Tony nominations — including “Best Revival of a Play.”
  • Making her Broadway debut, Leslie Flesner (B.F.A., Music Theatre, 2008) performed as Melinda in the Broadway revival of “Finian’s Rainbow.” The musical was nominated for three 2010 Tonys, among them “Best Revival of a Musical.”
  • Jessica Patty (B.F.A., Music Theatre, 2001) is currently performing in the new musical “The Addams Family,” which was nominated for two Tony Awards and stars two-time Tony Award winners Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth.

While a Tony Award represents the ultimate achievement in theater, there are other highly distinguished stage honors bestowed each year. FSU School of Theatre alumni and their Broadway shows have already won a plethora of 2010 Drama Desk Awards and Outer Critic Circle Awards. Read more about them on the School of Theatre website.