Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola Receives the GMHC's Howard Ashman Award
Given at Joe's Pub in New York's Greenwich Village on the eve of World AIDS Day, the award salutes Viola's years of tireless fundraising at BC/EFA.
The Howard Ashman Award is named for the Oscar- and Grammy-winning lyricist of Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin who passed away in 1991 due to AIDS-related complications. According to GMHC, the award "honors a member of the Broadway community whose art and activism have made a difference in the fight against HIV and AIDS."
Playbill CEO and President Philip S. Birsh said, "I am so proud of my great friend and colleague Tom Viola was chosen to receive the Howard Ashman Award this year. He has brilliantly helmed Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS for for 18 years. His leadership combined with his innate sensitivities has built a fixture within our Broadway community. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the heart of our community and the organization would never have achieved it's current regard and success without the tireless efforts by our friend Tom Viola."
Actor/writer/producer/administrator Viola performed in dinner theatres and regional theatres until 1987 when he was hired by Actors Equity for what was to be a temporary assignment. This employment continued, with Viola eventually being assigned to work with the Union’s 75th Anniversary Committee, then as a special projects coordinator and assistant to then-president Colleen Dewhurst. Soon after the Equity Fights AIDS Committee was founded, Viola became administrative director.
In 1992 Viola oversaw the merger of Equity Fights AIDS with Broadway Cares, and the organization has been a separate not-for-profit ever since. Under his stewardship, BC/EFA has raised more than $285 million for essential services for people living with HIV and AIDS and other critical health issues nationwide. In 2010, Viola was awarded the Tony Honor in recognition of his leadership, activism, and advocacy.