The 2019 Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre will be given to four contributors to the Broadway industry: Broadway Inspirational Voices, founded by Michael McElroy; Peter Entin, retired vice president of Theatre Operations for the Shubert Organization; Joseph Blakely Forbes, founder and president of Scenic Art Studios, Inc.; and FDNY Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9.
The Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre, established in 1990, 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.
“We are thrilled to present the 2019 Tony Honors to such an incredible group this year...the unsung heroes of our community,” said Heather Hitchens, president of the American Theatre Wing and Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, in a statement. “Their contributions to our industry are invaluable and they are each beyond deserving of this recognition.”
Broadway Inspirational Voices is a professional choir of Broadway artists, united to change lives through the music and service. The company was founded by Michael McElroy in 1994; its current mission consists of providing hope to inspire and transform youth in need through music and the arts.
Peter Entin was hired by The Shubert Organization in 1974, beginning a 43-year career with the company. He made a steady rise through the ranks to the position of vice president of Theatre Operations, a position he held for more than a decade until his retirement in June 2017. Entin oversaw the operations of 17 Broadway theatres owned by The Shubert Organization. Over those years, he also directed operations of Shubert-run theatres in Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. He donated his time and talent to a range of not-for-profit arts organizations, as well as playing an active role at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Actors Fund. He also taught theatre management at the Columbia University School of the Arts from 1979 to 2017. He served on the Board of Governors of The Broadway League, as a Trustee of Local 306 Theatre Employees Health Fund, and was also a Trustee of the Treasurers & Ticket Sellers Local 751 Pension Fund.
Joseph Forbes became a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829 in 1979, and began his professional career at Nolans Scenery Studios, where he painted several Broadway productions including Annie, Cats, A Chorus Line, and Evita. In 1994, Forbes founded Scenic Art Studios, Inc. which has become the premiere scene painting studio for Broadway scenery. Since its inception, the company has created backdrops, sculptures, and painted built scenery for more than 350 Broadway productions. Productions include Book of Mormon, Kinky Boots, Hello Dolly, A Bronx Tale, School of Rock, Beetlejuice, and Beautiful. Forbes founded The Studio and Forum of Scenic Arts in 2004, a not-for-profit school, where he still is an instructor.
FDNY – Engine 54/Ladder 4/Battalion 9 is located on 8th Avenue between 48th Street and 49th Street in the heart of the theatre district, and their motto “Never Missed a Performance,” is reflective of the community they serve. The “Pride of Midtown,” lost 15 firefighters on September 11, the most of any firehouse in the city, and they have stood strong ever since with a memorial outside of the firehouse honoring their fallen comrades. The company is a integral part of the theatre community, conducting fire inspections in each of the theatres, and having one of the fastest response times in the city.
The news follows the announcement of this year's trio of Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre recipients—Terrence McNally, Rosemary Harris, and Harold Wheeler—as well as the recipient of the 2019 Isabelle Stevenson Award, Judith Light.
The 73rd Annual Tony Awards, hosted by James Corden, will air on CBS June 9 at 8 PM ET. Nominations for the competitive categories will be announced April 30.