The Tony Awards have announced a quartet of recipients for the latest Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre: veteran press agent Irene Gandy, stage manager Beverly Jenkins, PRG Scenic Technologies President Fred Gallo, and New Federal Theatre (founded by Woodie King, Jr.). The accolade is traditionally presented to individuals and institutions in the industry not eligible in the established competitive Tony categories.
The four join a group of previously reported honorees to be recognized as part of the 74th annual ceremony: Lifetime Achievement recipient Graciela Daniele, Isabelle Stevenson Award recipient Julie Halston, and Special Tony honorees American Utopia, Freestyle Love Supreme, and Broadway Advocacy Coalition.
The ceremony, originally scheduled for June 2020 but put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, will take place September 26 in a two-part broadcast, with a majority of awards given out in a Paramount+ presentation prior to a performance-filled celebration on both CBS and the streamer.
Gandy, who can often be spotted at press previews in furs (her own line coming soon), has worked on over 100 Broadway shows, many as part of her three-decade collaboration with producer Jeffrey Richards. In addition to her publicity work, she frequently serves as a producer, with credits including The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, and the national tour of Sarafina. She began her career in 1968 as a publicist for the Negro Ensemble Company.
Jenkins has been a professional stage manager for over 30 years, currently with the Broadway production of Hadestown. Her numerous previous credits include A Bronx Tale, Fully Committed, Living on Love, Holler If Ya Hear Me, In the Heights, Avenue Q, and The Lion King. Like Gandy, Jenkins has roots with the Negro Ensemble Company, having served as the group’s company manager.
Gallo’s PRG is one of the premier suppliers of scenery and set automation. His work, part of a family legacy of Broadway stagehands, includes patenting various theatre scenery and rigging equipment, technically directing such spectacles as Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and supervising design builds for The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast, Wicked, King Kong, and dozens more.
Founded in 1970 by Woodie King, Jr., New Federal Theatre was born out of a Mobilization for Youth program, receiving initial funding from the Henry Street Settlement and the New York State Council on the Arts to introduce multicultural audiences to artists of color and women and bring them into the mainstream. Among their numerous breakthrough successes are J.E. Franklin’s Black Girl, Ed Bullins’ The Taking of Miss Janie, and Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf; a revival of the third is eyeing a Broadway bow.