Los Angeles’ Pasadena Playhouse has been named the recipient of the 2023 Regional Theatre Tony Award, which recognizes excellence at a regional company based in the U.S. As part of this honor, Pasadena Playhouse will receive a $25,000 grant sponsored by City National Bank.
This Tony is the first for Pasadena Playhouse and the first for a Los Angeles-based theater since 1977, when the Mark Taper Forum was recognized.
Established in 1917 by Gilmor Brown, Pasadena Playhouse has been the official state theater of California since 1937. In its early days, the theater complex consisted of five stages, a scenic shop and a college (also known as. The Playhouse School of Theatre Arts). In the golden age of Hollywood, a number of celebrities performed there. In 1960, Brown passed away and the theater went dark for 16 years.
Pasadena Playhouse reopened in 1986; by 1992, under the artistic direction of Sheldon Epps, the theater performed to approximately 24,000 patrons across eight shows per season.
After Epps, artistic director Danny Feldman took over and has been leading the theater since 2016. Under Feldman’s leadership, Pasadena Playhouse’s production of Little Shop of Horrors, starring George Salazar and Mj Rodriguez, saw national attention, including an appearance on The Late Late Show With James Corden. Throughout its history, multiple productions that began at the theater transferred to Broadway, including Baby, It’s You and the Tony-nominated Sister Act.
The theater is in the midst of a six-month celebration of Stephen Sondheim and an upcoming production of A Little Night Music that is set to star Broadway alum Merle Dandridge as Desiree Armfeldt and Emmy Award winner Jodi Long as Madame Armfeldt.
Pasadena Playhouse has commissioned more than 550 new works and has mounted more than 1,200 shows. Through its education programming, more than 30,000 students have received arts education.