David Hyde Pierce, Marian Seldes, Tom Viola, Alan Ayckbourn Win Special Tony Awards

By Andrew Gans
April 21, 2010

The Tony Awards Administration Committee has announced this year's recipients for the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Isabelle Stevenson Award and the Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre.



The 2010 Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre will be presented to playwright and director Sir Alan Ayckbourn, and Tony Award-winning actress Marian Seldes. 

The recipient of the Isabelle Stevenson Award will be Tony Award winner David Hyde Pierce. The Isabelle Stevenson Award recognizes an individual from the theatre community "who has made a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations, regardless of whether such organizations relate to the theatre."

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 The Alliance of Resident Theatres New York, B.H. Barry and BC/EFA executive director Tom Viola.

About the honor, Viola told Playbill.com, "This is really wonderful and a bit overwhelming. But nothing that happens at BC/EFA has ever been done by just one person. So, any honor given me for work done at BC/EFA is truly something I share with the entire staff, volunteers and a community that I am so happy and grateful to be a part of. I am a very fortunate man. I also find myself thinking today of many friends and people I've loved who have been a part of this work or who we've all done it for that aren't here to enjoy this gorgeous spring day."

These awards will be presented at the 2010 Tony Awards on June 13.

*

David Hyde Pierce won a Tony Award for his performance in Curtains and has also been seen on Broadway in Accent on Youth, Spamalot, The Heidi Chronicles and Beyond Therapy. He is also an Emmy winner for his work on "Frasier."

Marian Seldes was recently seen on the New York stage in Beckett/Albee, one of her many turns in the plays of Edward Albee. She won a Tony Award for her performance in Albee's A Delicate Balance and was also Tony-nominated for her work in Father's Day, Deathtrap, Ring 'Round the Moon and Dinner at Eight. She was most recently on Broadway in Deuce.

Sir Alan Ayckbourn has penned more than 74 plays and musicals. Some of those works include The Norman Conquests, which won the Tony for Best Revival of a Play in 2009, as well as Absurd Person Singular, Woman in Mind, Table Manners, Family Circles, Relatively Speaking and Time of Life. Between 1972 and 2009, he was the artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, where the majority of his work has been and continues to be premiered.

Founded in 1972, A.R.T./New York assists its nearly 300 member theatres in managing their companies so they may realize their rich artistic visions and serve their diverse audiences well. Over the years, A.R.T./New York has earned a reputation as a leader in providing progressive service to its members, making the organization an expert in the needs of the Off and Off Off-Broadway community.

B.H. Barry, who trained in his native England, pioneered the teaching of stage combat as part of the curriculum in U.S. drama programs at the university and graduate level. His numerous Broadway credits range from the 1981 productions of Frankenstein and Macbeth to the 2008 production of Dividing the Estate.

Tom Viola is the executive director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA), the nation's leading industry-based not-for-profit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organization. Viola is being honored for his personal commitment to the fight against AIDS. BC/EFA was previously honored with a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre in 1993.