Playbill

Playbill is a monthly U.S. magazine for theatregoers. Although there is a subscription issue available for home delivery, most copies of Playbill are printed for particular productions and distributed at the door as the show's program.

Playbill was first printed in 1884 for a single theatre on 21st Street in New York City. The magazine is now used at nearly every Broadway theatre, as well as many Off-Broadway productions. Outside New York City, Playbill is used at theatres throughout the United States. Circulation as of September 2012 was 4,073,680.[1]

Playbill
Playbill-cover-logo
EditorMark Peikert
Former editorsBlake Ross
CategoriesTheatre
FrequencyMonthly
Total circulation
(2012)
4,073,680
First issue1884; New Series 1982
CompanyTotalTheater
CountryUnited States
Based inNew York City
LanguageEnglish
Websitewww.playbill.com
ISSN0551-0678

History

The Playbill 1939 cover
Cover of The Playbill for a 1939 production of No Time for Comedy starring Katharine Cornell

The Playbill, as it was called until 1957, was billed as "The Magazine of the Theatre" and was published by an entity known as the New York Theatre Program Corporation.[2]

Format

Each issue features articles focusing on actors, new plays, musicals, and special attractions. This "wraparound" section is the same for all Playbills at all venues each month. Within this wraparound, the Playbill contains listings, photos, and biographies of the cast; biographies of authors, composers, and production staff; a list of scenes, as songs and their performers (for musicals); and a brief description of the setting for the particular show. It also lists the number of intermissions and "At This Theatre", a column with historical information on the theatre housing the production. The Playbill distributed on opening night of a Broadway show is stamped with a seal on the cover and the date appears on the title page within the magazine.

In lieu of the cast and show information, the subscription edition of Playbill contains listings of Broadway and Off-Broadway productions and news from London productions and North American touring companies.

The Playbill banner is yellow with black writing. Each June since 2014, the yellow banner has been replaced with a rainbow banner for LGBT Pride Month.

The Playbill banner has changed the yellow to another color on rare occasions in its history:

  • October 2008 – green for the fifth anniversary of Wicked
  • October 2011 – royal blue for the tenth anniversary of Mamma Mia!
  • October 2013 – green for the tenth anniversary of Wicked[3]
  • April 2018 - white and red for the 5th anniversary of Kinky Boots

Other media

Playbill launched Playbill Online in January 1994. The free website offers news about the theatre industry, focusing on New York shows but including regional theatre, touring, and international stage happenings. It is read by show fans and theatre practitioners, and is updated regularly. It also offers discounts on tickets and dining for its members.

In 2000, Playbill added www.playbillstore.com, an online shopping store offering official Playbill merchandise and merchandise from most current Broadway and touring productions.

In 2006, Playbill released its first records on Playbill Records, an imprint of SonyBMG. Releases included Brian Stokes Mitchell's eponymous solo album and two compilations of show tunes entitled Scene Stealers, The Men and Scene Stealers, The Women.

Playbill Radio, a 24-hour Broadway-themed internet radio station featuring news, podcasts, and a musical library of over 20,000 titles, premiered in 2007.

In 2011, Playbill launched Playbill Vault, a comprehensive online database of Broadway history. Playbill Vault provides records of Broadway productions from 1930 to the present.[4] Information on the website includes original and current casts, actor head shots, production credits, Playbill cover images, scanned Playbill Who's Who pages, production photos, and videos.

Playbill launched its first app, called Playbill Passport, on January 4, 2016.[5]

Competition with Stagebill

For decades, Playbill concentrated on Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters, while Stagebill focused on concerts, opera, and dance in venues such as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.[6] However, by the late 1990s, Playbill was highly profitable; Stagebill was not, losing millions of dollars annually by 1998.[7] To increase revenue, Stagebill entered Playbill's turf. The truce was first breached in 1995, when The Public Theater quietly defected to Stagebill, and more noisily in 1997, when Disney contracted Stagebill for its musical The Lion King at its newly reopened New Amsterdam Theatre.[8] The main point of contention in the latter case was control over advertising content: Playbill is distributed free to theaters, relying on advertising revenue that is completely under its authority, whereas, per company policy, Disney required a program without cigarette or liquor ads.[9]

In response to Stagebill's upstart incursion, Playbill began to produce Showbill, a sister publication that conformed to Disney's advertising requirements for all publications distributed in its properties.[6] Now with an alternative, Disney switched from Stagebill to Showbill for The Lion King late in its run at the New Amsterdam. (When the musical moved to the Minskoff Theatre, which Disney does not own, it was obligated to use Playbill, as are Disney productions at other theaters.[6]) The Ford Center for the Performing Arts also commissioned Showbill for its inaugural production of Ragtime, presumably to exclude other automakers' ads.[6] In a different circumstance, the producers of the Broadway revival of Cabaret wished to maintain the atmosphere of a sleazy nightclub at its Studio 54 venue, and insisted on handing out Playbills after the performance. Playbill, sensing missed exposure for its advertisers, offered the show's producers "Showbill" instead.[10]

Additionally, Playbill responded further by producing publications for classic arts venues, aggressively courting many venues that were once Stagebill clients. In the spring of 2002, Playbill signed a contract with Carnegie Hall; this milestone was bookended by the earlier acquisition of the valuable Metropolitan Opera program and the ensuing contract with the New York Philharmonic—both tenants of Stagebill's erstwhile stronghold Lincoln Center.[8] With the acquisition of the programs for performing arts venues, Playbill broke from its typical format and began publishing completely customized programs in the vein of Stagebill.[9] This, coupled with continuing fiscal troubles, signaled the end of Stagebill as a publishing entity; later that year, Stagebill became insolvent after five years of head-to-head competition with Playbill, which acquired the Stagebill trademark.[11]

References

  1. ^ "National Rate Card" (PDF). Playbill. January 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  2. ^ "Inside description of ownership". The Playbill. 1939.
  3. ^ "Wicked Playbill Will Be Greenified for 10th Anniversary on Broadway". Playbill. 30 September 2013. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  4. ^ Dries, Kate. "Daily Rehearsal: Theater nerds rejoice over Playbill Vault". WBEZ Onstage/Backstage. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  5. ^ Playbill Staff (6 March 2016). "Playbill Passport App Launches: The First-Ever Mobile Companion to Broadway Programs". Playbill. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d Pincus-Roth, Zachary (18 October 2007). "Ask Playbill". Playbill.com. Archived from the original on 14 September 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  7. ^ Jones, Chris (10 June 2002). "Stagebill is sold to rival Playbill". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Brodesser, Claude; Jones, Oliver (9 March 1999). "Melodrama at Met". Variety. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Mandell, Jonathan (25 August 2002). "Theater's memory bank expands". The New York Times. NYTimes.com. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  10. ^ "Playbill? Showbill? Stagebill?". Talkinbroadway.com. 19 March 1998. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  11. ^ Hofler, Robert (9 June 2002). "Playbill corners legit market". Variety. Retrieved November 14, 2013.

External links

Anthony Rapp

Anthony Deane Rapp (born October 26, 1971) is an American actor and singer known for originating the role of Mark Cohen in the Broadway production of Rent. Following his original performance of the role in 1996, Rapp reprised it in the film version of the show and then the show's United States Tour in 2009. He also performed the role of Charlie Brown in the 1999 Broadway revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and originated the role of Lucas in the musical If/Then in 2014. His screen roles include Lieutenant Commander Paul Stamets on the television series Star Trek: Discovery.

Audra McDonald

Audra Ann McDonald (born July 3, 1970) is a German-born American actress and singer. Primarily known for her work on the Broadway stage, she has won six Tony Awards, more performance wins than any other actor, and is the only person to win all four acting categories. She has performed in musicals, operas, and dramas such as A Moon for the Misbegotten, 110 in the Shade, Carousel, Ragtime, Master Class and Porgy and Bess. As a classical soprano, she has performed in staged operas with the Houston Grand Opera and the Los Angeles Opera and in concerts with symphony orchestras like the Berlin Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic. In 2008 her recording of Kurt Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny with the Los Angeles Opera won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Album and the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. She has a close working relationship with composer Michael John LaChiusa who has written several works for her, including the Broadway musical Marie Christine, the opera Send (who are you? i love you), and The Seven Deadly Sins: A Song Cycle. With her full lyric soprano voice, she maintains an active concert and recording career throughout the United States performing a wide repertoire from classical to musical theater to jazz and popular songs. In 2016, McDonald was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama. In 2017 she was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.On television, McDonald portrayed Dr. Naomi Bennett as a main cast member of Shonda Rhimes's ABC television drama Private Practice from 2007-2011. She also portrayed the recurring character of Liz Lawrence in Season 4 of The Good Wife; a role that she reprises as a main cast member in the spinoff series The Good Fight. In 2013 she performed the role of Mother Superior in The Sound of Music Live! opposite Carrie Underwood as Maria. She has twice been nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her portrayals of Susie Monahan in Wit opposite Emma Thompson in 2001 and for her performance of Ruth Younger in A Raisin in the Sun in 2008. In 2016 she was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill for HBO in which McDonald portrayed jazz legend Billie Holiday. She won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Program in 2015 for her work hosting the program Live from Lincoln Center. On film she is best known for her portrayals of Maureen in Ricki and the Flash (2015) opposite Meryl Streep and Madame de Garderobe in the 2017 film version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. She has been nominated five times for the NAACP Image Awards for her work in television and film.

Bernadette Peters

Bernadette Peters (born Bernadette Lazzara; February 28, 1948) is an American actress, singer and children's book author. Over the course of a career that has spanned five decades, she has starred in musical theatre, television and film, performing in solo concerts and recordings. She is one of the most critically acclaimed Broadway performers, having received nominations for seven Tony Awards, winning two (plus an honorary award), and nine Drama Desk Awards, winning three. Four of the Broadway cast albums on which she has starred have won Grammy Awards.

Regarded by many as the foremost interpreter of the works of Stephen Sondheim, Peters is particularly noted for her roles on the Broadway stage, including in the musicals Mack and Mabel, Sunday in the Park with George, Song and Dance, Into the Woods, The Goodbye Girl, Annie Get Your Gun, Gypsy and Hello, Dolly!.Peters first performed on the stage as a child and then a teenage actress in the 1960s, and in film and television in the 1970s. She was praised for this early work and for appearances on The Muppet Show, The Carol Burnett Show and in other television work, and for her roles in films including Silent Movie, The Jerk, Pennies from Heaven and Annie. In the 1980s, she returned to the theatre, where she became one of the best-known Broadway stars over the next three decades. She also has recorded six solo albums and several singles, as well as many cast albums, and performs regularly in her own solo concert act. In the 2010s, Peters continues to act on stage, in films and television in such series as Smash and Mozart in the Jungle. She has been nominated for three Emmy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards, winning once.

Billy Porter (entertainer)

Billy Porter (born September 21, 1969) is an American stage performer, pop singer, and actor. He attended the Musical Theatre program at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School's School of Drama and achieved fame performing on Broadway before starting a solo career as a singer.

Porter won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role as Lola in Kinky Boots at the 67th Tony Awards. For the role, Porter also won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical.

Brian Stokes Mitchell

Brian Stokes Mitchell (born October 31, 1957) is an American actor and singer. A powerful baritone, he has been one of the central leading men of the Broadway theatre since the 1990s. He won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 2000 for his performance in Kiss Me, Kate.

Broadway theatre

Broadway theatre, commonly known as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.

The Theater District is a popular tourist attraction in New York City. According to The Broadway League, for the 2017–2018 season (which ended May 27, 2018) total attendance was 13,792,614 and Broadway shows had US$1,697,458,795 in grosses, with attendance up 3.9%, grosses up 17.1%, and playing weeks up 2.8%.The majority of Broadway shows are musicals. Historian Martin Shefter argues "'Broadway musicals,' culminating in the productions of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, became enormously influential forms of American popular culture" and helped make New York City the cultural capital of the nation.

Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Evan Hansen is a stage musical with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and book by Steven Levenson. It tells the story of a young man with social difficulties that inhibit his ability to connect with other people and make friends. He yearns to make a connection with his peers and fabricates a relationship with a deceased student to become closer to the boy’s family.

The musical opened on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre in December 2016, after its world premiere at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. in July 2015 and an Off-Broadway production at Second Stage Theatre in March to May 2016.

At the 71st Tony Awards, it was nominated for nine awards, winning six, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Actor in a Musical for Ben Platt, and Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Rachel Bay Jones.

Drama League Award

The Drama League Awards, created in 1922, honor distinguished productions and performances both on Broadway and Off-Broadway, in addition to recognizing exemplary career achievements in theatre, musical theatre, and directing. Each May, the awards are presented by The Drama League at the Annual Awards Luncheon with performers, directors, producers, and Drama League members in attendance. The Drama League membership comprises the entire theater community, including award-winning actors, designers, directors, playwrights, producers, industry veterans, critics and theater-going audiences from across the U.S.The Drama League Awards are the oldest awards honoring theater in North America. The awards were established in 1922, and formalized in 1935. Katharine Cornell was the recipient of the first award in 1935, for Distinguished Performance. Five competitive awards are presented: Outstanding Production of a Play, Outstanding Production of a Musical, Outstanding Revival of a Play, Outstanding Revival of a Musical, and the Distinguished Performance Award. The Distinguished Performance Award is presented to one performer every year, and the recipient can only receive the award once in his or her career. The Drama League also bestow three special honors at the awards ceremony: Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater, Unique Contribution to the Theater, and The Founders Award for Excellence in Directing. The award statues are designed by New York firm Society Awards.

Hairspray (musical)

Hairspray is an American musical with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman and a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, based on John Waters’s 1988 film of the same name. The songs include 1960s-style dance music and "downtown" rhythm and blues. In 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, plump teenager Tracy Turnblad's dream is to dance on The Corny Collins Show, a local TV dance program based on the real-life Buddy Deane Show. When Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight, and meets a colorful group of characters, leading to social change as Tracy campaigns for the show's integration.

In 2003 it won eight Tony Awards, including one for Best Musical, out of 13 nominations. It ran for 2,642 performances, and closed on January 4, 2009. Hairspray has also had national tours, a West End production, and numerous foreign productions and was adapted as a 2007 musical film. The London production was nominated for a record-setting eleven Laurence Olivier Awards, winning four, including Best New Musical.

Hamilton (musical)

Hamilton: An American Musical is a sung- and rapped-through musical about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, with music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda, inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by author and historian Ron Chernow. Incorporating hip hop, R&B, pop, soul, traditional-style show tunes, and color-conscious casting of non-white actors as the Founding Fathers and other historical figures, the musical achieved both critical acclaim and box office success.

The musical made its Off-Broadway debut at The Public Theater in February 2015, where its engagement was sold out. The show transferred to Broadway in August 2015 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. On Broadway, it received enthusiastic critical reception and unprecedented advance box office sales. In 2016, Hamilton received a record-setting 16 Tony nominations, winning 11, including Best Musical, and was also the recipient of the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The prior Off-Broadway production of Hamilton won the 2015 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical as well as seven other Drama Desk Awards out of 14 total nominated categories.

The Chicago production of Hamilton began preview performances at the CIBC Theatre in September 2016 and officially opened the following month. The West End production of Hamilton opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London in December 2017, winning seven Olivier Awards in 2018, including Best New Musical. The first U.S. national tour of the show began performances in March 2017. A second U.S. tour opened in February 2018. Hamilton's third U.S. tour began with a special 3 week engagement beginning January 11, 2019 in Puerto Rico, with Miranda returning to the show for the special engagement.

Hello, Dolly! (musical)

Hello, Dolly! is a 1964 musical with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder's 1938 farce The Merchant of Yonkers, which Wilder revised and retitled The Matchmaker in 1955. The musical follows the story of Dolly Gallagher Levi, a strong-willed matchmaker, as she travels to Yonkers, New York to find a match for the miserly "well-known unmarried half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder.

Hello, Dolly! was first produced on Broadway by David Merrick in 1964, winning 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. This set a record which the play held for 37 years. The show album Hello, Dolly! An Original Cast Recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002. The album reached number one on the Billboard album chart on June 6, 1964, and was replaced the next week by Louis Armstrong's album Hello, Dolly!The show has become one of the most enduring musical theater hits, with four Broadway revivals and international success. It was also made into the 1969 film Hello Dolly! which won three Academy Awards.

Kinky Boots (musical)

Kinky Boots is a Broadway musical with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein.

Based on the 2005 British film Kinky Boots, written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth and inspired by true events, the musical tells the story of Charlie Price. Having inherited a shoe factory from his father, Charlie forms an unlikely partnership with cabaret performer and drag queen Lola to produce a line of high-heeled boots and save the business. In the process, Charlie and Lola discover that they are not so different after all.

Following the show's conception in 2006, the creative team was assembled by 2010. The original production of Kinky Boots premiered at the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago in October 2012, with both direction and choreography by Jerry Mitchell, and starring Stark Sands and Billy Porter as Charlie and Lola, respectively. It made its Broadway debut at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on April 4, 2013, following previews that began on March 3, 2013. The musical began its US tour in 2014.

Having initially been less well received by theatre critics and at the box office than another 2013 Broadway production, Matilda the Musical, Kinky Boots entered the 2013 awards season as an underdog. However, less than a month after opening, Kinky Boots surpassed this rival with audiences in weekly box office gross and later enjoyed a post-Tony boost in advance sales. The production earned a season-high 13 nominations and 6 Tony wins, including Best Musical and Best Score for Lauper in her first outing as a Broadway songwriter, making her the first woman to win alone in that category. The musical's cast album premiered at number one on the Billboard Cast Albums Chart and number fifty-one on the Billboard 200 chart. In 2016, it won three Laurence Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical.

Kristin Chenoweth

Kristin Dawn Chenoweth (; born Kristi Dawn Chenoweth, July 24, 1968) is an American actress and singer, with credits in musical theatre, film and television. In 1999, she won a Tony Award for her performance as Sally Brown in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown on Broadway. In 2003, she received wide notice for originating the role of Glinda in the musical Wicked, including a nomination for another Tony. Her television roles have included Annabeth Schott in NBC's The West Wing and Olive Snook on the ABC comedy-drama Pushing Daisies, for which she won a 2009 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Chenoweth also starred in the ABC TV series GCB in 2012.

Chenoweth sang gospel music as a child in Oklahoma and studied opera before deciding to pursue a career in musical theatre. In 1997, she made her Broadway debut in Steel Pier, winning a Theatre World Award. Besides You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Wicked, Chenoweth's stage work includes five City Center Encores! productions, Broadway's The Apple Tree in 2006, Promises, Promises in 2010 and On the Twentieth Century in 2015, as well as Off-Broadway and regional theatre productions.

Chenoweth had her own sitcom, Kristin, in 2001, and has guest-starred on many shows, including Sesame Street and Glee, for which she was nominated for Emmy Awards in 2010 and 2011. In films, she has played mostly character roles, such as in Bewitched (2005), The Pink Panther (2006) and RV (2006). She has played roles in made-for-TV movies, such as Descendants (2015); done voice work in animated films such as Rio 2 (2014) and The Peanuts Movie (2015) along with the animated TV series Sit Down, Shut Up; hosted several award shows; and released several albums of songs, including A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas (2008), Some Lessons Learned (2011), Coming Home (2014) and The Art of Elegance (2016). Chenoweth also penned a 2009 memoir, A Little Bit Wicked.

Lea Salonga

Maria Lea Carmen Imutan Salonga, KLD (; born February 22, 1971) is a Filipina singer and actress best known for her roles in musical theatre, for supplying the singing voices of two Disney Princesses, and as a recording artist and television performer.

At age 18, she originated the lead role of Kim in the musical Miss Saigon, first in the West End and then on Broadway, winning the Olivier and Theatre World Awards, and becoming the first Asian woman to win a Tony Award. Salonga is the first Filipino artist to sign with an international record label (Atlantic Records in 1993). She is also the first Philippine-based artist to have received a major album release and distribution deal in the United States, and one of the best-selling Filipino artists of all time, having sold over 19 million copies of her albums worldwide.Salonga was the first actress of Asian descent to play the roles of Éponine and Fantine in the musical Les Misérables on Broadway. She also portrayed Éponine and Fantine, respectively, in the musical's 10th and 25th anniversary concerts in London. She provided the singing voices of two official Disney Princesses: Jasmine in Aladdin (1992) and Fa Mulan in Mulan (1998). She was named a Disney Legend in 2011 for her work with The Walt Disney Company. Salonga starred as Mei-li in the 2002 Broadway version of Flower Drum Song. She has played numerous other stage, film and TV roles in the US, the Philippines and elsewhere. She has toured widely in the title role of Cinderella, among other roles, and as a concert artist. From 2015 to 2016, she returned to Broadway in Allegiance, and from 2017 to 2019 she appeared in the Broadway revival of Once on This Island.

Nathan Lane

Nathan Lane (born Joseph Lane; February 3, 1956) is an American actor and writer. He has played the roles of Albert in The Birdcage, Max Bialystock in the musical The Producers, Ernie Smuntz in MouseHunt, Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, and Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. His voice work includes The Lion King as Timon and Stuart Little as Snowbell, and has played recurring roles on Modern Family, The Good Wife, and The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story as F. Lee Bailey.

He has received three Tony Awards: he won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Producers and the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for Angels in America, as well as six Drama Desk awards, six Outer Critics Circle awards, two Obies, the Lucille Lortel Award and the Olivier Award. He has also received two Golden Globe nominations, six Primetime Emmy nominations, a Screen Actors Guild Award, two Daytime Emmy Awards, and a People's Choice Award. In 2006, Lane received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2008, he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

Obie Award

The Obie Awards or Off-Broadway Theater Awards are annual awards originally given by The Village Voice newspaper to theatre artists and groups in New York City. In September 2014, the awards were jointly presented and administered with the American Theatre Wing. As the Tony Awards cover Broadway productions, the Obie Awards cover Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway productions.

Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Joshua Sondheim (; born March 22, 1930) is an American composer and lyricist known for more than a half-century of contributions to musical theatre. Sondheim has received an Academy Award, eight Tony Awards (more than any other composer, including a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre), eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award, and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has been described by Frank Rich of The New York Times as "now the greatest and perhaps best-known artist in the American musical theater". His best-known works as composer and lyricist include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Pacific Overtures (1976), Sweeney Todd (1979), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Into the Woods (1987), Assassins (1990), and Passion (1994). He also wrote the lyrics for West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959).

Sondheim has written film music, contributing "Goodbye for Now" for Warren Beatty's 1981 Reds. He wrote five songs for 1990's Dick Tracy, including "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)" by Madonna, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Sondheim was president of the Dramatists Guild from 1973 to 1981. To celebrate his 80th birthday, the former Henry Miller's Theatre was renamed the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on September 15, 2010, and the BBC Proms held a concert in his honor. Cameron Mackintosh has called Sondheim "possibly the greatest lyricist ever".

Sutton Foster

Sutton Lenore Foster (born March 18, 1975) is an American actress, singer and dancer. She is known for her work on the Broadway stage, for which she has received two Tony Awards for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, in 2002 for her role as Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie, and in 2011 for her performance as Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes. Her other Broadway credits include Little Women, The Drowsy Chaperone, Young Frankenstein, Shrek the Musical, and Violet. On television, Foster played the lead role in the short-lived ABC Family comedy-drama Bunheads from 2012 to 2013. Since March 2015, she has starred in the TV Land comedy-drama Younger.

Tony Award

The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre, more commonly known as the Tony Award, recognizes excellence in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway productions and performances, and an award is given for regional theatre. Several discretionary non-competitive awards are also given, including a Special Tony Award, the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre, and the Isabelle Stevenson Award. The awards are named after Antoinette "Tony" Perry, co-founder of the American Theatre Wing.

The rules for the Tony Awards are set forth in the official document "Rules and Regulations of The American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards", which applies for that season only. The Tony Awards are considered the highest U.S. theatre honor, the New York theatre industry's equivalent to the Academy Awards (Oscars) for film, the Emmy Awards for television, and the Grammy Awards for music. It also forms the fourth spoke in the EGOT, that is, someone who has won all four awards. The Tony Awards are also considered the equivalent of the Laurence Olivier Awards in the United Kingdom and the Molière Awards in France.

From 1997 to 2010, the Tony Awards ceremony was held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City in June and broadcast live on CBS television, except in 1999, when it was held at the Gershwin Theatre. In 2011 and 2012, the ceremony was held at the Beacon Theatre. From 2013 to 2015, the 67th, 68th, and 69th ceremonies returned to Radio City Music Hall. The 70th Tony Awards was held on June 12, 2016 at the Beacon Theatre. The 71st Tony Awards and 72nd Tony Awards were held at Radio City Music Hall in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

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