“I am completely overwhelmed as a Brit to be honored by the Broadway community at the Tonys, particularly at the time when musicals are flying higher in their spiritual home New York than they have for two generations,” said Lloyd Webber in a statement.
“When I came to New York and auditioned for George Balanchine, who gave me a scholarship to the School of American Ballet, I could never have imagined the amazing journey I have had in the theatre,” Rivera added. “I would not trade my life in the theatre for anything as the theatre is life.”
Lloyd Webber, who celebrated his 70th birthday earlier this year, is currently represented on Broadway with School of Rock and The Phantom of the Opera (at 30 years, the longest-running show in Broadway history). His rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar recently hit the small screen in a live concert presentation on NBC. He won Tony Awards for his scores to Sunset Boulevard (shared with Don Black and Christopher Hampton), Cats (shared posthumously with T.S. Eliot), and Evita (shared with frequent collaborator Tim Rice).
The composer recently released his first memoir, Unmasked, which is also the name of the upcoming Lloyd Webber retrospective revue opening at Paper Mill Playhouse this fall.
Rivera has won Tony Awards for her performances in The Rink and Kiss of the Spider Woman, and was also nominated for Bye Bye Birdie, Chicago, Bring Back Birdie, Merlin, Jerry's Girls, Nine, her autobiographical The Dancer's Life, and, most recently, The Visit. With ten, she holds the record for the most Tony nominations earned by a single performer.
In 2017, the Astaire Awards, honoring the best in dance on stage and screen, were renamed the Chita Rivera Awards to celebrate her prolific career as a dancer and performer. She recently concluded a tour with Tommy Tune, who received the Lifetime Achievement Tony himself in 2015.
Recipients of the Tonys' additional honorary categories—the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre, the Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education, and the Isabelle Stevenson Award—will be announced at a later time. The 2018 Tony Award nominations will be revealed May 1.