Lookingglass Theatre Company, an ensemble-based company that presents cutting-edge new plays and world premieres, was named Tuesday as this year's recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award.
"We're very collective, very democratic," artistic director Andy White said. "We try and bring that spirit to all of our work. Truly this is the triumph of an enormous collective of people."
The award is given to a professional regional theater company for artistic achievement and contributions to theater's growth nationally. Lookingglass was founded in Chicago in 1988 and has staged 55 world premieres and toured productions to more than a dozen American cities. "Friends" star David Schwimmer is a co-founder of the company and ensemble member.
The award took the company by surprise. White said members spent Tuesday morning calling the ensemble and artists to let them know about the honor.
"It is completely news," White said. "It's not something that was on the horizon or radar for any of us."
The 2010-2011 season for Lookingglass included productions of "Peter Pan," "Ethan Frome" and "The Last Act of Lilka Kadison."
Next season features the world premiere of the musical "Eastland," based on the 1915 disaster in which more than 800 people were killed when the boat capsized on the Chicago River.
The company is known for its signature production of "Lookingglass Alice."
Other Chicago theaters to receive the honor include Steppenwolf Theater Company, Victory Garden Theater and Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
The awards ceremony is scheduled for June 12 in New York and will be broadcast live.