The Washington theater community has grown in the past quarter century to the point where it is arguably one of the largest, strongest thriving regional theater scenes in the country. And no small contributor to that growth has been the Helen Hayes Awards, which, for 27 years, has been rewarding excellence in local theater, inspiring all -- from the smallest to the largest -- to create their best possible works. This year's ceremony is Monday, April 25, and features a tribute to Tommy Tune, the impossibly tall director, choreographer and actor responsible for such remarkable, elegant Broadway fare as Nine and Grand Hotel. Ford's Theatre will receive an honor for its engaging "History on Foot" program and two small, budding theatre companies -- Rick Hammerly's Factory 449 and the No Rules Theatre Company -- will be have the Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company honor bestowed upon them. As for the rest of the awards? Well, you'll just have to attend the black tie affair to find out who wins what. Presenters include Karen Akers, Will Gartshore, John Glover, Chris Henley, Elaine Paige, Ken Ludwig and David Muse. The presentation is at the Warner Theatre, 13th and E Streets NW, at 8 p.m. It's followed at 10 p.m. by The Ovation Gala, just a few blocks away at the JW Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, the biggest, best "cast party" in Washington. It's an orgy of thespians! Tickets are still available. Tickets are $300 to $500. Call 202-337-4572 or visit helenhayes.org.