On June 9th, at the 2012 Tony Eve Cocktail Party the the Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre are presented and this year's recipients will be MTI's Freddie Gershon, production supervisor Arthur Siccardi and the Theater Development Fund's Open Doors Arts Education Program.
The Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre were established in 1990 and are awarded annually to institutions, individuals and/or organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in theatre, but are not eligible in any of the established Tony Award categories. This year’s Tony Honors will be presented to:
Freddie Gershon: In 1994, Mr. Gershon conceived Music Theatre International’ s Broadway KIDS/Broadway JR. (www.broadwayjr.com) introducing musical theatre in 30- and 60-minute versions of Broadway works to elementary and middle schools adapted for performance by students (author approved). This American art form is kept alive as students experience the process of performing their own productions of an authentic Broadway musical while collaborating with their fellow students on costumes, sets & other theatre crafts. Since 1994, over 70,000 separate productions have taken place in America, involving 4,000,000 children. www.freddiegershon.com
Artie Siccardi: Since 1977, Mr Siccardi, Production Supervisor of Arthur Siccardi Theatrical Services, Inc. has overseen more than 200 Broadway productions including: Gypsy; Grease; A Chorus Line; Chicago; Hello, Dolly!; Cats; The Real Thing; Ballroom; Dreamgirls; Broadway Bound; Chess; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Jerome Robbins' Broadway; City of Angels; Biloxi Blues; Annie; Dirty Dancing; My One and Only; Victor/Victoria; My Fair Lady; Sunset Boulevard; Fiddler on the Roof; Mamma Mia!; and Annie Get Your Gun; and he has worked alongside directors such as Mike Nichols; Michael Bennett; Jerome Robbins; Tommy Tune; Gower Champion and Michael Blakemore.
Music Theatre International (MTI) is one of the world's leading theatrical licensing agencies worldwide, granting schools as well as amateur and professional theatres from around the world the rights to perform the largest selection of great musicals from Broadway and beyond. MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these shows to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to over 60,000 theatrical organizations in the US and in over 60 countries.
MTI is particularly dedicated to the idea of theatre as education and has created special collections for younger performers. The MTI Broadway Junior Collection® includes JR. titles, 60-minute musicals for performance by middle school children; and KIDS titles, 30-minute musicals for performance by elementary school children. MTI School Editions™ are musicals that have been annotated for performance by high school students, and the Theatre For Young Audiences (TYA) Collection are 70-minute musicals designed for adults to perform for children.
TDF Open Doors is a mentoring program offering small groups of high school students an in-depth introduction to live theatre and dance. Each group works with one or more dedicated theatre and dance professionals throughout the school year. In 1998, Tony- and Pulitzer-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein joined with TDF to found Open Doors. The program's guiding premise is that theatregoing is the birthright of every New Yorker and that, as Wendy put it, “Theatre is a very personal experience that grows in meaning and depth when shared with others.” Open Doors matches dozens of distinguished theatre and dance professionals with small groups of high school students with no prior exposure to theatre. The program runs for the entire school year, so students build rapport with their mentors as they gain confidence as theatregoers.