Actress Rosemary Harris, playwright Terrence McNally and composer Harold Wheeler – Tony Award winners all – each will received a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, the Tony administration company announced today.
“We are thrilled to recognize Rosemary, Terrence and Harold with the Special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre,” said Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing and Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League. “They are pioneers in each of their crafts and their contributions to American Theatre and culture has been immeasurable.”
Harris, who won the Tony for Best Actress for The Lion in Winter (1965), is currently starring as Mrs. Higgins in Lincoln Center Theater’s revival of My Fair Lady. Her other 25 Broadway credits include Tony-nominated performances in The Royal Family (2009), Waiting in the Wings (1999), Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance (1996), Hay Fever (1985), Pack of Lies (1984), Heartbreak House (1983) and Old Times (1972). Her many London stage roles include Dame Laurentia McLachlan in The Best of Friends (1988), opposite John Gielgud in his farewell stage performance. Film roles include Aunt May in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and her Oscar-nominated performance in Tom and Viv.
In honoring McNally, the Tony committee noted that the playwright has had at least one new work on Broadway in each of the last six decades. A revival of his Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune begins its Broadway run on May 4, starring Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon. He has won four Tony Awards for his plays Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class and his musical books for Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime. TV scripts include his Emmy-winning Andre’s Mother. In 1996 he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame, has written the libretto for operas Great Scott and Dead Man Walking, and other stage credits include Mothers and Sons; Lips Together, Teeth Apart; The Lisbon Traviata; A Perfect Ganesh; The Visit; The Full Monty; Corpus Christi; Bad Habits; Next; The Ritz; Anastasia; It’s Only a Play; Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone?; and The Stendhal Syndrome.
Wheeler’s career as an orchestrator, composer, conductor, record producer and arranger spans more than five decades, from being the youngest conductor on Broadway with Burt Bacharach’s Promises, Promises, to 17 seasons as musical director for the ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Broadway credits include Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death, A Chorus Line, The Wiz , Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music and Dreamgirls, with six Tony Award nominations for The Life, Little Me , Swing, The Full Monty, Hairspray and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. In 2018, he earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Music Direction for his work on the 90th Academy Awards, and he has arranged and produced for Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Peabo Bryson, Della Reese, Nina Simone, B.B. King, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Freda Payne, Kathleen Battle, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Joe Cocker, Dizzy Gillespie, Gloria Gaynor, Whitney Houston, Stephanie Mills, and Debbie Allen, among many others.
The American Theatre Wing’s 73rd Annual Tony Awards, hosted by James Corden, will air on CBS Sunday, June 9, 8 PM ET/delayed PT), live from New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Nominations will be announced Tuesday, April 30.
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