The Broadway League, formerly the League of American Theatres and Producers and League of New York Theatres and Producers, is the national trade association for the Broadway theatre industry based in New York, New York. Its members include theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters, and general managers in New York and more than 250 other North American cities, as well as suppliers of goods and services to the theatre industry.
Founded in 1930 primarily to counter ticket speculation and scalping, the Broadway League has expanded its mission and programs over time. In addition to negotiating labor agreements with 14 unions in New York City and engaging in lobbying initiatives throughout the country, the League recognizes excellent works and artists through award programs such as Tony Awards, promotes the Broadway theatre industry through audience development programs such as Kids' Night on Broadway and Viva Broadway, and provides periodical studies and industry information such as box office grosses and demographic surveys for journalists, scholars, and the general public.
|The Broadway League, Inc.|
Logo of the Broadway League.
|Type||Trade Association 501(c)(6)|
|Charlotte St. Martin|
|The League of American Theatres and Producers (1985-2007)
The League of New York Theatres and Producers (1973-1985)The League of New York Theatres (1930-1973)
In addition to theatre owners, producers, presenters, and general managers who create productions and operate theatres across the country, industry specialists and vendors such as press agents, booking agents, advertising agencies, and scenery, costume, and prop shops are eligible for membership.
The League was founded in 1930 as the "League of New York Theatres and Producers". It was founded by Broadway theatre operators to further common interests, with the main purpose of fighting ticket speculation and scalping. The original purpose of the League described in its charter was to “protect the general public patrons of the theater, owners of theatrical entertainments, operators of theaters and reputable theater ticket brokers against the evils of speculation of theater tickets.” The League's first successful act was the writing of the Theater Ticket Code of Fair Practice (together with Actors' Equity) which became a state law in 1940. These efforts are still relevant today, as ticket resellers in New York State are required to obtain a license from the Department of State and are prohibited from reselling tickets within 500 feet of theatres or box offices.
In the following years the League expanded its charter several times. In 1938, the League became the official collective bargaining unit representing the theatre owners and producers on Broadway to negotiate labor agreements with unions such as Actors' Equity.
With the decline of Broadway in the 1980s the League changed its name to the "League of American Theatres and Producers" and began to expand its domain to theatres across the United States. On December 18, 2007 the League adopted its current name, "The Broadway League". In a press statement announcing the name change, the League explained that its membership is "not limited to theatre owners and producers, but includes Broadway presenters, general managers and other Broadway industry professionals," and the new name "more aptly reflects the composition of the League's membership." 
The Broadway League is a collective bargaining unit representing Broadway producers and theatre owners, and negotiates labor agreements with 14 unions in New York City to set the minimum terms (fees, salaries, work rules, etc.) for hiring union members. Broadway productions are fully unionized, and all employees are members of unions such as Actors' Equity Association (AEA), Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), Local 802 of American Federation of Musicians (AFM), and Local One of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). The Broadway League also works with the Dramatists Guild of America, an organization composed of playwrights, composers, and lyricists, to engage authors for Broadway productions. Even though the Guild is not a union because authors are not employees of producers or theatres, the Guild provides the Approved Production Contract, a contract template for authors to use in negotiations with producers.
Out of 40 existing Broadway theatres, the collectively bargained agreements the League negotiates with unions only apply to the theatres owned by the Shubert Organization, Jujamcyn Theaters, and the Nederlander Organization. Theatres owned and operated by not-for-profit organizations such as the Roundabout Theatre Company, Lincoln Center Theater, and Manhattan Theatre Club are under the jurisdiction of the League of Resident Theatres which negotiates separate agreements with unions. Disney Theatrical Group, which owns the New Amsterdam Theatre, also negotiates labor agreements independently, as well as a handful of others.
The most recent strike on Broadway occurred in November 2007, when the Broadway League and the stagehands union, Local One of IATSE, failed to come to agreement after months of negotiation. Local One was joined by other Broadway unions such as AEA and SDC, and 27 shows running on Broadway were shut down. This marked the first strike on Broadway in Local One’s 120-year history, and the strike lasted for 19 days, recording the longest strike on Broadway since 1975.
The economic impact of the strike spread beyond the Broadway shows, to nearby restaurants, hotels, gift shops, and bars. Tim Tompkins, the head of the Times Square Business Improvement District, explained that “a lot of folks come to New York specifically to go to a Broadway show and with this cloud of uncertainty, they postpone or cancel their trips. So that’s a double hit."  According to the New York City comptroller’s office, the strike resulted in $2 million in lost revenue per day in addition to the lost ticket sales, mounting to $40 million total.
The main conflict in the negotiation was the work rules regarding load-ins. The existing contract required producers to determine a number of stagehands needed for the load-in ahead of time, and hire and pay all of them every day for the entire load-in period, which could take weeks to months for large-scale productions. However, because the workload differs everyday, many stagehands often just stayed in the theatres with nothing to do. The new contract set the daily minimum during the load-in to 17 stagehands, allowing the producers to hire stagehands based on daily workload.
The Local 802 of AFM, the union representing the musicians on Broadway, entered into a strike in March 2003 and was joined by other Broadway unions such as AEA and IATSE. The strike lasted from Friday, March 7, 2003, to early Tuesday morning, March 11, 2003.
The focus of the negotiation was the minimum number of musicians required to be employed in Broadway theatres. The labor agreement required 24 to 25 musicians to be employed in largest theatres, regardless of the needs of the actual productions presented. Under the new agreement, the minimums were reduced to 18 to 19.
The Broadway League has advocated for the needs of commercial theatre industry with local, state and national elected officials throughout its history, beginning with writing of the Theater Ticket Code of Fair Practice which became a state law in 1940. Recent lobbying efforts by the League include opposing an 8 percent levy on theatre tickets proposed by Governor David Paterson in 2009, and securing tax deductions for suppliers of physical goods used by theatrical productions. 
The Broadway League, in conjunction with the National Football League and large churches, is protesting against the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s plans to auction the frequencies used by wireless microphones used in theatres and venues throughout the U.S.
As a result of lobbying initiatives by the Broadway League, in February 2015, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) reintroduced legislation named The Support Theaters in America Growth and Expansion Act that would provide Broadway and live theatrical productions federal tax benefits already given to film and TV productions. Under Section 181 of the tax code, U.S.-based film and TV productions are able to immediately expense up to $15 million and do not pay taxes on income until the $15 million is recouped. The League hopes that the benefits of Section 181 would make attracting investors easier, because the investors are currently paying income taxes before recoupment, without making any profit from projects.
The Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as the Tony Awards, recognize achievement in live American theatre. The Tony Awards are presented by the Tony Award Productions, a joint venture of American Theatre Wing and the League, at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are mostly for Broadway productions and performances, though an award for regional theatres and discretionary non-competitive Special Tony Award and the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre are also given. The awards were founded by the Wing in 1947, and the League became a co-presenter in 1967.
Prior to 2000, membership in what was then the League of American Theaters and Producers was lifetime for all dues-paying above-the-title producers of Broadway shows. Members received two free tickets to all Broadway shows, and ballots for the Tony Awards, vouching that they had seen all shows in every category in which they voted. In 2000, the League changed membership eligibility to "active" producers, those who had been above-the-title in the previous 10 years. This action dis-enfranchised scores of Tony voters, including Gail Berman, Harve Brosten, Dick Button, Tony Lo Bianco, and Raymond Serra.
The Touring Broadway Awards (TBAs) recognized outstanding achievement in touring productions of Broadway plays and musicals in North America from 2000 to 2009. Founded in 2000-2001 season by the League, the awards were known until 2004 as the National Broadway Theatre Awards. The awards were presented by the League to "celebrate excellence in touring Broadway by honoring the artists and productions that visit cities across the country each year."
The Broadway League produces various concert programs such as Broadway on Broadway and Stars in the Alley to promote productions currently running on Broadway.
Broadway on Broadway was a free annual outdoor concert kicking off the Broadway season each September, usually on the first Sunday after Labor Day, produced by the League and the Times Square Alliance. Initially conceived as a welcome party for delegates to the 1992 Democratic National Convention in New York, the event took place on a special stage created for the event in Times Square, featuring musical numbers from current Broadway shows as well as upcoming shows opening in the new season. The concert returned in July 1993 and 1994 and moved to September on 1995. The League canceled Broadway on Broadway in 2013 and it did not return in 2014.
Stars in the Alley is a free annual outdoor concert in Shubert Alley in the heart of Manhattan’s Theatre District, produced by the League. It is usually held during the week of the Tony Awards, and marks the official end of the Broadway season. The 21st annual event was held on June 6, 2007, and the casts of dozens of Broadway shows took part. Though the event was not held from 2008 to 2013, it returned in 2014 featuring Norm Lewis as the host.
Tony Awards Preview Concert was a cabaret-style concert featuring songs from Tony-nominated shows held in 2008, 2009 and 2013.  The 2013 concert, hosted by Mario Lopez, was aired at various times and dates in 18 cities across the United States and included interviews from the then Tony nominees such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Andrea Martin, Mark Rylance, and Rob Ashford.
Other concert programs include Broadway Under the Stars, an annual evening concert held from 2002 to 2006, and a benefit concert for Viva Broadway, an audience development initiative specifically targeted to Hispanic communities.
The Broadway League leads audience development programs targeting specific communities to broaden the audience base for Broadway productions. For example, Kids' Night on Broadway was created by the League and the Theater Development Fund to provide families across the U.S. affordable access to Broadway productions. On Kids' Night On Broadway, children between ages 6 to 18 receive free tickets to participating Broadway shows when accompanied by a paying adult. Similarly, Family First Nights introduce economically at-risk families to Broadway productions in New York as well as around the country through subsidized tickets.
In 2012, the League launched a new audience development program named Viva Broadway, which focuses on Hispanic communities around the country. Working with Hispanic media outlets, Viva Broadway aims to promote Broadway to Hispanic families, proposing theatergoing experiences that fit their lifestyles and cultural traditions to engage in family activities involving multiple generations. Broadway Speakers Bureau, a program that encourages high school and college students to pursue non-performance careers in theatre, was also created as a part of Viva Broadway.
Operated by the research department of the League, The Internet Broadway Database (IBDB) is an online database of Broadway theatre productions and their personnel, including lengths of runs, lists of casts and creators, awards and nominations, and past box office grosses. It is "a definitive source for the facts on Broadway musicals and plays from Aristophanes to Ziegfeld," according to the New York Public Library. In 2012, the League introduced a free iOS app for IBDB that contain much of the same information as the website, as well as photos and videos from current Broadway productions.
The League serves as the central hub for statistical information about Broadway theatre production in North America. Its research department maintains historical data on individual playhouses and productions. In addition, many reference documents, including weekly box office grosses and season-by-season statistics, are available to the public, journalists, and scholars via the website. Theatre publications such as The New York Times, Playbill, and Variety publish databases and articles using data provided by the League.
The research department also publishes annual reports that track trends in the industry over time including the Demographics of the Broadway Audience and Broadway’s Economic Contribution. To obtain demographic information, the League hands out questionnaires at select performances to directly survey audience members. The survey tracks basic demographic information such as their gender, age, place of residence, and ethnicity, as well as theatergoing behaviors such as the number of plays and musicals they have attended in the past six months. For example, The New York Times reported that "tourists accounted for nearly two-thirds of the tickets sold for Broadway shows" and "those who saw 15 shows or more made up only 5 percent of the overall audience, but accounted for 29 percent of admissions" in 2010-11 season based on the studies published by the League.
The 21st Annual Tony Awards ceremony was broadcast on March 26, 1967, from the Shubert Theatre in New York City on the ABC Television network. This was the Awards ceremony's inaugural broadcast on U.S. network television. The hosts were Mary Martin and Robert Preston. This year marked the first joint presentation of the awards by the American Theatre Wing with The Broadway League (formerly The League of American Theatres and Producers).Anna Held
Helene Anna Held (19 March 1872 – 12 August 1918), known professionally as Anna Held, was a Polish-born French and later Broadway stage performer and singer, most often associated with impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, her common-law husband.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 that "'Broadway musicals', culminating in the productions of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, became enormously influential forms of American popular culture" and contributed to making New York City the cultural capital of the Western Hemisphere.Doris Roberts
Doris Roberts (born Doris May Green; November 4, 1925 – April 17, 2016) was an American actress, author, and philanthropist whose career spanned six decades of television and film. She received five Emmy Awards and a Screen Actors Guild award during her acting career, which began in 1951.
Roberts studied acting at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City and started in films in 1961. She had several prominent roles in movies, including playing opposite Shirley Stoler in The Honeymoon Killers (1969), Elliott Gould in Little Murders (1971), Steven Keats in Hester Street (1975), Billy Crystal in Rabbit Test (1978), Robert Carradine in Number One with a Bullet (1987), and Cady McClain in Simple Justice (1989), among many others.
She achieved continuing success in television, becoming known for her role as Mildred Krebs in Remington Steele from 1983 to 1987 and her co-starring role as Raymond Barone's mother, Marie Barone, on the long-running CBS sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond (1996–2005). Towards the end of her acting career, she also had a prominent role opposite Tyler Perry in Madea's Witness Protection (2012).
She appeared as a guest on many talk and variety shows, along with appearing as a panelist on several game shows. She was an advocate of animal rights and animal-rights activism, supporting groups such as the United Activists for Animal Rights.Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (November 30, 1918 – May 2, 2014) was an American actor known for his starring roles in the television series 77 Sunset Strip and The F.B.I. He is also known as recurring character "Dandy Jim Buckley" in the series Maverick and as the voice behind the character Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: The Animated Series and associated spin-offs. He also voiced Doctor Octopus in the 1990s Spider-Man animated series and the 2000 PC, Dreamcast and PlayStation Spider-Man action-adventure video game, and Justin Hammer from the second season of the 1994 Iron Man animated series.Gale Sondergaard
Gale Sondergaard (born Edith Holm Sondergaard; February 15, 1899 – August 14, 1985) was an American actress.
Sondergaard began her acting career in theater, and progressed to films in 1936. She was the first recipient of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her film debut in Anthony Adverse (1936). She regularly played supporting roles in films during the late 1930s and 1940s, including The Cat and the Canary (1939), The Mark of Zorro (1940) and The Letter (1940). For her role in Anna and the King of Siam (1946), she was nominated for her second Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. After the late 1940s, her screen work came to an abrupt end for the next 20 years.
Married to the director Herbert Biberman, Sondergaard supported him when he was accused of communism and named as one of the Hollywood Ten in the early 1950s. She moved with Biberman to New York City and worked in theatre, and acted in film and television occasionally from the late 1960s. She moved back to Los Angeles where she died from cerebrovascular thrombosis.Howard Da Silva
Howard Da Silva (born Howard Silverblatt, May 4, 1909 – February 16, 1986) was an American actor, director and musical performer on stage, film, television and radio. He was cast in dozens of productions on the New York stage, appeared in more than two dozen television programs, and acted in more than fifty feature films. Adept at both drama and musicals on the stage, he originated the role of Jud Fry in the original 1943 run of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma!, and also portrayed the prosecuting attorney in the 1957 stage production of Compulsion. Da Silva was nominated for a 1960 Tony Award as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his work in Fiorello!, a musical about New York City mayor LaGuardia. In 1961, Da Silva directed Purlie Victorious, by Ossie Davis.
Many of his early feature films were of the noir genre in which he often played the villain, such as that of Eddie Harwood in The Blue Dahlia and the sadistic Captain Francis Thompson in Two Years Before the Mast (both 1946). Da Silva's characterization of historic figures are among some of his most notable work: he was Lincoln's brawling friend Jack Armstrong in both play (1939) and film (1940) versions of Abe Lincoln in Illinois written by Robert Sherwood; Benjamin Franklin in the 1969–1972 stage musical 1776 and a reprisal of the role for the 1972 film version of the production; Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in The Missiles of October (1974); Franklin D. Roosevelt in The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977); and Louis B. Mayer in Mommie Dearest (1981).
Da Silva's American television character work included the defense attorney representing the robot in The Outer Limits episode "I, Robot" (1964), and district attorney Anthony Cleese in For the People (1965). For his performance as Eddie in the Great Performances production of Verna: USO Girl (1978), the actor received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Drama Special.In the 1970s, Da Silva appeared in 26 episodes of the radio series, the CBS Radio Mystery Theater.Internet Broadway Database
The Internet Broadway Database (IBDB) is an online database of Broadway theatre productions and their personnel. It was conceived and created by Karen Hauser in 1996 and is operated by the Research Department of The Broadway League, a trade association for the North American commercial theatre community. The website also has a corresponding app for both the IOS and Android.This comprehensive history of Broadway provides records of productions from the beginnings of New York theatre in the 18th century up to today. Details include cast and creative lists for opening night and current day, song lists, awards and other interesting facts about every Broadway production. Other features of IBDB include an extensive archive of photos from past and present Broadway productions, headshots, links to cast recordings on iTunes or Amazon, gross and attendance information.
Its mission was to be an interactive, user-friendly, searchable database for League members, journalists, researchers, and Broadway fans.
The League recently added Broadway Touring shows to the database for ease of tracking shows that play in theatres across the country.
It is managed by Karen Hauser, Michael Abourizk, and Mark Smith of the Broadway League.Joseph Mascolo
Joseph Peter Mascolo (March 13, 1929 – December 8, 2016) was an American musician and dramatic actor. During his long career, he acted in numerous motion pictures and television series. He was best known for playing supervillain Stefano DiMera, a role he originated in 1982 on NBC's Days of Our Lives.Ken Howard
Kenneth Joseph Howard Jr. (March 28, 1944 – March 23, 2016) was an American actor, best known for his roles as Thomas Jefferson in 1776 and as basketball coach and former Chicago Bulls player Ken Reeves in the television show The White Shadow (1978–1981). Howard won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play in 1970 for his performance in Child's Play, and later won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his work in Grey Gardens (2009).
Howard was elected president of the actors' union, Screen Actors Guild (SAG), in September 2009 and reelected to a second term, in September 2011. He was the last president of the Screen Actors Guild and the first president of the newly formed union, SAG-AFTRA, after the Screen Actors Guild and another union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), voted to merge in 2012. He was reelected in 2015.Latin Quarter (nightclub)
Latin Quarter (also known as LQ) is a nightclub in New York City. The club which originally opened in 1942 featured big-name acts. In recent years it has been a focus of hip hop, reggaeton and salsa music. Its history is similar to that of its competitor the Copacabana.Lee Patrick (actress)
Lee Patrick (November 22, 1901 – November 21, 1982) was an American actress whose career began in 1922 on the New York stage with her role in The Bunch and Judy which headlined Adele Astaire and featured Adele's brother Fred Astaire. Patrick continued to perform in dozens of roles on the stage for the next decade, frequently in musicals and comedies, but also in dramatic parts like her 1931 performance as Meg in Little Women. She began to branch out into films in 1929. For half a century she created a credible body of cinematic work, her most memorable being in 1941 as Sam Spade's assistant Effie in The Maltese Falcon, and her reprise of the role in the George Segal 1975 comedy sequel The Black Bird. Her talents were showcased in comedies such as the 1942 Jack Benny film George Washington Slept Here and in 1958 as one of the foils of Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame. Dramatic parts such as an asylum inmate in the 1948 The Snake Pit and as Pamela Tiffin's mother in the 1961 Summer and Smoke were another facet of her repertoire. She made numerous guest roles in American television, but became a staple for that medium during the two-year run of Topper. As Henrietta Topper, her comedic timing played well against Leo G. Carroll as her husband, and against that of the two ghosts played by Robert Sterling and Anne Jeffreys. Patrick lent her voice to various animated characters of The Alvin Show in the early 1960s.Maurice Evans (actor)
Maurice Herbert Evans (3 June 1901 – 12 March 1989) was a British actor, noted for his interpretations of Shakespearean characters. His best-known screen roles are Dr. Zaius in the 1968 film Planet of the Apes and as Samantha Stephens's father, Maurice, on Bewitched.Patricia Elliott
Patricia Elliott (July 21, 1938 – December 20, 2015) was an American theatre, film, soap opera, and television actress.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 Manhattan. 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.Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play
The Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play is an honor presented at the Tony Awards, a ceremony established in 1947 as the Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre, to actors for quality leading roles in a Broadway play. The awards are named after Antoinette Perry, an American actress who died in 1946. Honors in several categories are presented at the ceremony annually by the Tony Award Productions, a joint venture of The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, to "honor the best performances and stage productions of the previous year." Despite the award first being presented in 1947, there were no nominees announced until 1956.Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play
The Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play is an honor presented at the Tony Awards, a ceremony established in 1947 as the Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre, to actors for quality supporting roles in a Broadway play. Honors in several categories are presented at the ceremony annually by the Tony Award Productions, a joint venture of The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, to "honor the best performances and stage productions of the previous year." Originally called the Tony Award for Actor, Supporting or Featured (Dramatic), it was later changed to its current title in 1976. Before 1956, nominees' names were not made public. The change was made by the awards committee to "have a greater impact on theatregoers".Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play
The Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play is an honor presented at the Tony Awards, a ceremony established in 1947 as the Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre, to actresses for quality supporting roles in a Broadway play. The awards are named after Antoinette Perry, an American actress who died in 1946. Honors in several categories are presented at the ceremony annually by the Tony Award Productions, a joint venture of The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, to "honor the best performances and stage productions of the previous year." Originally called the Tony Award for Actress, Supporting or Featured (Dramatic), it was later changed to its current title in 1976. Before 1956, nominees' names were not made public. The change was made by the awards committee to "have a greater impact on theatregoers".Zelda Sears
Zelda Sears (née Paldi; January 21, 1873 — February 19, 1935) was an American actress, screenwriter, novelist and businesswoman.