10 Facts to Know About The American Theatre Wing, Co-Presenter of The Tony Awards

Special Features   10 Facts to Know About The American Theatre Wing, Co-Presenter of The Tony Awards
American Theatre Wing, which is dedicated to "preserving the past, celebrating the present, and fostering the future of American theatre nationwide," annually joins forces with The Broadway League to present the Tony Awards, Broadway's biggest honor. As the 68th Annual Tony Awards draw near, Playbill.com asked The Wing to supply us with 10 facts about the organization.

William Ivey Long
William Ivey Long Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

10 Executive director Heather Hitchens is a trained drummer who headed up New York State Council on the Arts before taking over The Wing.

9 The seat fillers at the Tony Awards each year are made up, in large part, of members of the Wing's professional development programs, including SpringboardNYC and the Theater Intern Network.

8 Chairman William Ivey Long is a leading theatrical costume designer, who has designed nearly 70 Broadway productions.

7 In 2013 The Wing invested $1.1 million into the theatre community.

6 Since 2009 The Wing has been the home of The Jonathan Larson Grant, honoring and supporting emerging composers and lyricists.

Angela Lansbury

5 Each year the Wing selects ten young regional theatres to support with grants. Over the course of this program, the Wing has given away more than $3 million. 4 The American Theatre Wing hosts the world's largest publicly accessible online archive of theatrical media at americantheatrewing.org. In 2014 The Wing dramatically revamped its website, and it now hosts five premium content channels containing both new programming and classic content, as well as content from an array of media partners.

3 Angela Lansbury has served as the Wing's honorary chair since 2010.

2 In 1947 The Wing founded The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre (more commonly known as the Tony Award), named in honor of The Wing's co-founder just after her death in 1946.

1 The organization was founded as The Stage Women's War Relief during World War I by a group of actors and theatre patrons. A precursor to the USO, The Stage Women's War Relief raised nearly $7 million for the war effort, donating food and clothing and providing entertainment to the armed forces. During World War II, under the leadership of Antoinette Perry, the organization was reestablished and renamed The American Theatre Wing. The Wing created the Stage Door Canteen, on West 44th Street in Manhattan, as a place where visiting servicemen could visit for entertainment by some of the leading stage talent of the day. (A West Coast counterpart, called the Hollywood Canteen, was also established.)

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