The 2019 Tony Award nominations are in and a few nominees have local ties, notably Heidi Schreck‘s almost-solo show, “What the Constitution Means to Me,” which is up for best play. Schreck was also nominated for best leading actress in a play.
Seattle audiences got to bask in Schreck when she worked around town years ago — particularly with the lively, inventive company Printer’s Devil Theatre, in memorable productions like its “Hedda Gabler,” staged in a chilly, cinder-block room at the decommissioned Sand Point Naval Base.
Originally from Wenatchee, Schreck spent some of her teenage years winning American Legion oratory competitions. Her go-to material was a speech titled “Casting Spells: The Crucible of the Constitution.” Her newer “Constitution” — which was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist earlier this year — revisits those years (the set is designed as an American Legion hall), measuring them against her adult reflections about who the Constitution didn’t go out of its way to protect — particularly women and nonwhite, non-property-owning people.
In its review, The Guardian called the play “shattering, galvanizing, and very funny … a more perfect solo show? Broadway won’t see one for years.”
Schreck may have left town, but her plays keep getting local productions: Theater Schmeater staged “Creature,” Schreck’s play about 15th-century Christian mystic Margery Kempe, in 2016, and Seattle Public Theater produced her “Grand Concourse” the following year.
Also nominated for a Tony Award this year: Caitlin Kinnunen, up for best leading actress in a musical for her work in “The Prom,” about Broadway actors who were famous a long time ago and who travel to an Indiana town after hearing about a lesbian high-school student who was forbidden from bringing her girlfriend to prom. Kinnunen is originally from Camano Island; she moved to New York in 2008 to join the cast of “Spring Awakening.”
The 73rd annual Tony Awards will be held at Radio City Music Hall on June 9.