Isabelle Stevenson ends her 33 years as president of the American Theatre Wing, Sept. 1, at which point Roy Somlyo, managing producer of the Tony Awards for 12 years, will move into the position.
Stevenson, a familiar figure from her two-minute explanation of the Wing's services on Tony broadcasts, will move up to Chairperson of the Board. Somlyo has previously been on the Wing's Board of Governors.
In his acceptance speech, Somlyo made a joking reference to this year's Tony winning directors, Garry Hynes and Julie Taymor -- the first two women to win directing Tonys. Said Somlyo, "It's about time we had a male president of the American Theatre Wing."
The Wing was started in 1917 as a not-for-profit organization to serve the American Theatre. During World War II, the organization even became the American division of the British War Relief Society. Then in 1947, the Tony Awards (named after Antoinette Perry) started as a joint venture between the Wing and the League of American Theatres & Producers.
[Asked about next season's Tonys, which can't take place at Radio City Music Hall again because that venue is undergoing six months of renovation, Somlyo told Playbill On-Line (June 17) it was too early to mention a theatre. He did say, however, that in their deal with Radio City, the Wing and League have an obligation to look at Radio City's sister theatre, the Theatre at Madison Square Garden. "They have to consider it first," said Somlyo.] Educational Programs run by ATW include "Theatre For Children" (bringing professional theatre to elementary schools) and the "Grants & Scholarship Program." The Wing also hosts "Introduction To Broadway," wherein junior and senior high school students can attend Broadway shows.
For 25 years, the American Theatre Wing has also been presenting "Working In The Theatre" seminars, presenting highly regarded, professional theatre artists and craftsmen discussing what they do and how they do it. This behind-the-scenes look at theatre is open to theatre students, members of theatrical unions and guilds, and casts of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. Tapes of the seminars are broadcast on CUNY television.
Here is Somlyo's Who's Who listing from the special Tony Awards Playbill:
Roy A. Somlyo enjoys an active career in both theatre and television. For the Broadway stage, he co-produced Peter Brook's Carmen, Edmund Kean starring Ben Kingsley, 84 Charing Cross Road starring Ellen Burstyn and Joseph Maher, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine staged by Tommy Tune, I Remember Mama starring Liv Ullmann, Anna Christie starring Ms. Ullmann and Comedians with Jonathan Pryce and John Lithgow directed by Mike Nichols. He produced Kipling on Broadway and on tour starring Alec McCowen, and for the government of Andalucia in Spain he produced the flamenco musical Gypsy Passion on Broadway. In addition, as a general manager he has brought more than 80 shows to the London and American stages. Mr. Somlyo has been associated with the Tony Awards since their first network telecast in 1967 and served as co producer of the program for eight years from 1976 through 1983. His other television activities have produced over 40 programs. He has won two Emmy Awards as co-producer of "Night of 100 Stars" and "The Tony Awards." He is also a consultant to several business and theatrical organizations and to NTM, the new cable television network. As President of Euro-Theatre Management Corporation, Mr. Somlyo oversees Peter Brook's American theatrical efforts and attended to the international tours of Mr. Brook's Carmen, The Mahabharata and The Cherry Orchard. He also produced Mr. Brook's The Man Who at The Brooklyn Academy of Music. He and his wife Nancy, a psychological counselor who works primarily with people in the entertainment field, have been married for over 40 years.