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American Theatre Wing to Honor Tony Winner Cicely Tyson at Fall Gala


The American Theatre Wing has announced that its annual Gala, to be held on Monday, September 26, 2016 at The Plaza Hotel (Fifth Avenue at Central Park South), will honor legendary Tony Award-winning actress Cicely Tyson.

Honorary Co-Chairs include Kathy Bates, LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee, Pauletta and Denzel Washington, and Alfre Woodard and Roderick Spencer. Marva A. Smalls, CeCe Black, and Anki Leeds will serve as Gala Chairs.

"Cicely Tyson exemplifies what the American Theatre Wing is all about, from her career-defining performances, to her passionate commitment to arts education via her namesake performing and fine arts school," said Heather Hitchens, President and CEO of the Wing. "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to honor her at this year's Gala."

The funds raised at the Gala will provide vital support for the Wing's programs, which champion and celebrate American Theatre and ensure that the next generation is on the stage, behind the scenes, and in the audience. These programs include SpringboardNYC, the Theatre Intern Network, the National Theatre Company Grants, the Jonathan Larson Grants, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative, and free access for students, aspiring professionals, and the general public to programming on, including the long running show "Working in the Theatre."

Past honorees have included James Earl Jones, Dame Angela Lansbury, Harold Prince, the Redgrave Family, Sir Howard Stringer, Frank Loesser, Jerry Herman,Carol Channing, Tommy Tune, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Les Moonves, Isabelle Stevenson, Jerry Bock, Cy Coleman, John Kander, Fred Ebb, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Marvin Hamlisch, Sheldon Harnick, Stephen Sondheim, Charles Strouse, Graciela Daniele, Kathleen Marshall, Susan Stroman, Julie Taymor, and many more.

The evening includes cocktails, dinner, and performances. For tickets and more information, please contact Jeremiah Hernandez by calling 212.765.0606 or

Actress, advocate, and humanitarian, Cicely Tyson is renowned for her portrayals of strong female characters on the screen, on television, and on the stage - from her stunning New York theatre debut as Barbara Allen in Dark of the Moon to her triumphant return to Broadway in 2013. After a 30-year hiatus from the New York stage, Ms. Tyson portrayed Carrie Watts in Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful, for which she received rave reviews and the 2013 Tony Award® for Best Actress in a Play. Other theatre credits include Moon on a Rainbow Shawl, Trumpets of the Lord, To Be Young, Gifted and Black, and The Corn Is Green. Most recently, she was in The Gin Gamealongside James Earl Jones. Ms. Tyson may be best known for her double Emmy Award-winning performance as Jane in "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman" (Best Lead Actress in a Drama as well as an unprecedented Special Emmy for Actress of the Year). She garnered an Academy Award nomination for Sounder, and received her third Emmy Award for "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All." Other notable television and film credits include "Roots," "King," "Sweet Justice," "The Road to Galveston," Hoodlum, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, The Help, "How to Get Away with Murder," and "House of Cards." Ms. Tyson has been the recipient of numerous Honorary Doctorates (from The Julliard School and Howard University in 2016, among others) and countless NAACP Image Awards, including its highest honor, the prestigious Spingarn Award. She received the John F. Kennedy Center Honor in December 2015. As a staunch supporter of arts education, she serves as the guiding force of the Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts in East Orange, New Jersey.

The American Theatre Wing (Heather Hitchens, President and CEO) is dedicated to advancing artistic excellence and nurturing theatre's next generation: on the stage, behind the scenes, and in the audience. For nearly a century, the Wing has pursued this mission with programs that span the nation to invest in the growth and evolution of American Theatre. Traditionally, the Wing has encouraged members of the theatre community to share their off-stage time and talent directly with the theatre audience at large--whether it was singing for the troops in the Stage Door Canteen of the 1940s, or sharing their stories on a podcast today. As the founders of The Tony Awards®, the American Theatre Wing has developed the foremost national platform for the recognition of theatrical achievement on Broadway. Yet the Wing's reach extends beyond Broadway and beyond New York. The American Theatre Wing is now in the third year of a long-term partnership with The Village Voice to co-present The Obie Awards, off-Broadway's Highest Honor. The Wing also develops the next generation of theatre professionals through the SpringboardNYC and Theatre Intern Network programs, incubates innovative theatre across the country through the National Theatre Company Grants, fosters the song of American theatre through the Jonathan Larson Grants, honors the best in New York theatrical design with the Henry Hewes Design Award, illuminates the creative process through the "Working in the Theatre" program and media archive, and supports theatre education opportunities for underserved young people and under-resourced public schools around the United States with the newly launched Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative. Visitors to can gain inspiration and insight into the artistic process through the Wing's extensive media collection, and learn more about its programming for students, aspiring and working professionals, and audiences.

Pictured: Cicely Tyson in THE GIN GAME on Broadway. Photo by Joan Marcus.

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