Trivia Time - The Tony Awards


  • The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre.
  •  The awards are named after Antoinette Perry, co-founder of the American Theatre Wing.
  • The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City
  • The first awards ceremony was held on April 6, 1947, at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. The first prizes were "a scroll, cigarette lighter and articles of jewellery such as 14-carat gold compacts and bracelets for the women, and money clips for the men." It was not until the third awards ceremony in 1949 that the first Tony medallion was given to award winners.
  • Awarded by a panel of approximately 700 judges from various areas of the entertainment industry and press, the Tony Award is generally regarded as the theatre's equivalent to the Oscars, for excellence in film; the Grammys for the music industry, and the Emmys for excellence in television. In British theatre, the equivalent of the Tony Award is the Laurence Olivier Award. A number of the world's longest-running and most successful shows, as well as some actors, directors, choreographers and designers, have received both Tony Awards and Olivier Awards.
  • The Tony Award medallion was designed by Herman Rosse and is a mix of mostly brass and a little bronze, with a nickel plating on the outside; a black acrylic glass base, and the nickel-plated pewter swivel. The face of the medallion portrayed an adaptation of the comedy and tragedy masks and, as noted, the reverse side had a relief profile of Antoinette Perry.
  •  There are presently 26 categories of awards, plus several special awards. Starting with 11 awards in 1947, the names and number of categories have changed over the years; a complete history of each award category was published in 2005.
  • A newly established non-competitive award, The Isabelle Stevenson Award, was given for the first time at the awards ceremony in 2009. The award is for an individual who has made a "substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations."
  • While the theatre-going public may consider the Tony Awards to be the Oscars of live theatre, critics have suggested that the Tony Awards are primarily a promotional vehicle for a small number of large production companies and theatre owners in New York City. Only shows playing in one of 40 large "Broadway" theatres (500 seats or more) designated by the Tony Awards Management Committee are eligible for the Tony Awards. Only a portion of the Broadway theatres feature a "new" production in any given season, and there are 27 award categories, so most new shows receive one or more nominations.
  • Producers say that the Tony Award is the only award that sells tickets. "Winning best musical or best play, they say, means money in the bank."