Three theatre titans have been named recipients of the Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre honor at the 2019 Tony Awards. Joining the roster of stage luminaries to earn the distinction, are playwright Terrence McNally, actor Rosemary Harris, and orchestrator Harold Wheeler.
McNally earned Tony Awards for his plays Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class, as well as for the books to the musicals Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime. His 1987 play Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune will return to Broadway in a new production starring Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon; performances will begin May 4 at the Broadhurst Theatre (most recently home to another McNally-penned musical, Anastasia).
Harris currently appears in the Lincoln Center Theater revival of My Fair Lady as Mrs. Higgins. After winning a Tony in 1966 for her performance in the original Broadway production of The Lion in Winter, she earned subsequent nominations for Old Times, 1975's The Royal Family, Heartbreak House, Pack of Lies, Hay Fever, A Delicate Balance, Waiting in the Wings and 2009's The Royal Family .
Wheeler has fleshed out myriad memorable Broadway scores as orchestrator, including The Wiz, Dreamgirls, The Full Monty, Hairspray, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, frequently acting as music supervisor as well. He is represented on Broadway this season with the Temptations musical Ain't Too Proud. In addition to his theatrical accolades, Wheeler served as longtime music director for ABC's Dancing With the Stars. He is a frequent attendee of such ceremonies as the Tonys and Oscars, though not in the audience—rather, at the conductor's podium.
Additional honorary Tony recipients, including recipients of the Isabelle Stevenson Award, Special Tony Awards, Regional Theatre Award, and Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre, will be announced later.