News Column

Broadway to honor "The Lost Colony"

June 8, 2013


June 08--A Tony award is coming to the Outer Banks.

"The Lost Colony," the long-running summer theater staple on Roanoke Island, is among this year's winners of the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theater award.

The Broadway equivalent of the Oscars, the Tonys present their annual awards Sunday night with a live telecast on CBS. The Tony Honors are noncompetitive awards given to theaters or organizations ineligible for the Tony categories.

Nonetheless, the result is still a Tony award for "The Lost Colony," making it the first North Carolina theater -- and the only outdoor theater -- to receive the honor.

"The Lost Colony" is the longest-running outdoor symphonic drama in the United States and dramatizes one of the country's oldest unsolved mysteries: What happened to 115 English settlers who disappeared from Roanoke Island in 1587?

Written by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green of Chapel Hill, N.C., the work was a pioneer in establishing what was called "symphonic drama" -- combining the ingredients of music, dance and theater.

The "Colony's" Tony honor will be presented tonight at an event hosted by the American Theater Wing and the Broadway League. It will be accepted by William H. Coleman, CEO of the Roanoke Island Historical Association.

A celebration is planned for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday when the Tony medallion will arrive at the Waterside Theater in Manteo, N.C. Charles Massey, the theater's marketing director, said "We're being very dramatic about the arrival because it means so much to us -- and a first for the state. It will seemingly arrive via the ship used in the play and everyone present will get a chance to hold it."

Massey said "it's an honor that should be shared by every member of the audience, crew and cast that has participated in supporting the drama for the past 75 years." The general public is invited to Tuesday's event.

"The Lost Colony" has the distinction of being one of the last remaining Federal Theater Projects created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to aid the arts and provide work for artists. President Roosevelt attended the play during its first season in 1937. It has run ever since, except for two years during World War II when it was feared German submarines were located off the coast.

The 67th Tony Awards starts at 8 p.m. Sunday from Radio City Music Hall in New York, with Neil Patrick Harris hosting.

"The Lost Colony" company also has an interest in several competitive awards. Terrance Mann, who previously directed "The Lost Colony," is nominated for his current performance in the revival of "Pippin." William Ivey Long, a multi-award winner in the past and currently production designer of the "Colony," is nominated for his costumes in "Cinderella."

This year's production of "The Lost Colony," directed by Ira David Wood III, will run through Aug. 23.

Mal Vincent, 757-446-2347,


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