By Iride Aparicio

Photos Courtesy: Carla Befera

SAN JOSÉ, CA.  -- On the night of June 9th at the 73rd Annual Tony Awards in New York City, hosted by JAMES CORDEN, founding Theatre Works Silicon Valley Artistic Director  ROBERT KELLEY , Executive Director PHIL SANTORA and  Trustee Chair JULY HEYBOER accepted, among a galaxy of stage and screen stars and famed directors, the nation's highest recognition for a regional theatre: The REGIONAL THEATRE TONY AWARD.


"We are thrilled to present the 2019 Regional Theatre Tony Award to TheatreWorks Silicon Valley," said CHARLOTTE St. MARTIN, President of the Broadway League and Heather A. Hitchens American Theatre Wing, "The Work they produce celebrates the human spirit. They have helped develop hundreds  of vibrant new plays and musicals that are now being performed in theaters across America, and they have pioneered education programs that inspired thousands of students each year, creating future generations of creative artists and enthusiastic audiences. "

Director Robert Kelley        Photo: Phil Santora

" I am deeply honored to accept the Regional Theatre Tony Award for TheatreWorks Silicon Valley," Said the Company's founding Artistic Director, ROBERT KELLEY. "I can't think of no better way to begin TheatreWorks's fiftieth  Anniversary Season than with this highest honor, a testament to the passion and imaginative spirit of the artists whose work has been presented in TheatreWorks's stages. There is a joy here, a warmth to the creative process that many have found inspiring.  For me, that joy has been worth a life time. We dedicate this Award to the many thousands of brilliant theater artists and  and fiercely committed staff, trustees and community supporters who have shared our work for half a century. "We thank our Board, led by JUDY HAYBOER, our staff, new works directors, arts educators, and the thousands of theatre makers who found an artistic home with us, especially the playwrights and composers who brought 70 world premieres to our stage and developed hundreds of new works that have been produced across America and around the world." 

"This is a profound honor," said TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Executive  Director PHIL SANTORA. "Our thanks go out to our myriad dedicated supporters, funders and staff, and to the American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, and The American Theatre's  Critics Association for this recognition and their enduring commitment"

How it all started
On May 2016, in an exclusive interview with Cultural World Bilingual Founder  and Artistic Director ROBERT KELLEY described his founding of TheatreWorks as follows.

" I have been involved in theatre in the Palo Alto Area as a kid, as a teenager and off an on when I was a student at Stanford. After graduating from Stanford, I taught school for a year in New England and came to Palo Alto looking do to something in the theatre. I started doing acting and got an offer to do a Summer Project using High School and college-age students in creating a wok for Palo Alto Community Theatre. So, we created a new musical called Pop Corn with about seventy different young people. It was completely written here by a team of people from this area.  And because it was an era that has a lot of conflict in our community between the "Older Generation" (people over 30) and the "Younger Generation" (people under thirty) our play was about trying to bridge this gap and bring the community together again. It was an intriguing new piece and a World Premier. We did it in July of 1970, That was our World Premier. TheatreWorks  really began with that production. Since then, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley had been committed to the community, to presenting new works, working in collaboration,  presenting diversity on its plays, and putting music and drama together on the stage (which was unusual at that time.) Those were the building blocks of  TheatreWorks.  A commitment to celebrate the human spirit and bring people together in a positive way. Our core values were established from the start."

Director ROBERT KELLY and Executive  Director PHIL SANTORA

Executive  Director PHIL SANTORA and ROBERT KELLY

And those core values were recognized on April 20, when it was announced to the press that  the Tony Awards  (r) Administration Committee, on the recommendation of the American Theatre Critics Association had determined that TheatreWorks  Silicon Valley would be this year's recipient of  the Regional Theatre Tony Award. The Honor accompanied by a grant of  $25,000 made possible by City National Banks general support to the Creative Arts Awards.

On the night of June 9th, 2019, standing on the stage of the Radio City Music Hall in New York, City, holding a TONY is his hand, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's  Founder and  Artistic Director  ROBERT KELLY was finally convinced that the theatre he started, fulfilled his life's mission: TheatreWorks had served as tool to teach people to understand other people, to accept each others' differences  and to live with each other in peace.

Cultural World Bilingual thank CB&CO for providing the photos  Press Releases and  link of  Kelley's Speech for this article.