Broadway Inspirational Voices, Peter Entin, Joseph Blakely Forbes, and More Will Receive The 2019 Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
The Tony Awards Administration Committee has announced that they will present the 2019 Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre to four outstanding contributors to the Broadway industry Broadway Inspirational Voices founded by Michael McElroy; Peter Entin, retired Vice President of Theatre Operations for The Shubert Organization; Joseph Blakely Forbes, Founder and President, Scenic Art Studios, Inc. and FDNY Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9.
The Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre were established in 1990 and are awarded annually to institutions, individuals and/or organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in theatre, but are not eligible in any of the established Tony Award categories.
We are thrilled to present the 2019 Tony Honors to such an incredible group this year Broadway Inspirational Voices, Peter Entin, Joseph Blakely Forbes and the FDNY Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9 are the unsung heroes of our community, said Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing and Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League. Their contributions to our industry are invaluable and they are each beyond deserving of this recognition.
Broadway Inspirational Voices (BIV) is a diverse, professional choir of Broadway artists, united to change lives through the power of music and service. The company was founded by Michael McElroy in 1994 as the Broadway Gospel Choir and in 1999 reincarnated to its current name. In 2010, BIV became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission consists of providing hope to inspire and transform youth in need through music and the arts. In addition to numerous concerts, the Grammy nominated choir has performed with award winning artists such as Mariah Carey, the Yeah Yeah Yeah's, STING, Elton John, Vanessa Williams, Heather Headley, Billy Porter. BIV has been featured on The David Letterman Show, The Rosie O'Donnell Christmas Special, multiple Tony Awards Telecast, Smash and America's Got Talent.
Peter Entin, a native New Yorker, graduated from Cornell University and received a master's degree in theatre administration from the Yale University School of Drama. He was hired by The Shubert Organization in 1974, beginning a remarkable 43-year career with the company. He made a steady rise through the ranks to the position of Vice President of Theatre Operations, a position he held for more than a decade until his retirement in June, 2017. Peter became one of the most prominent and well-respected executives in the theatre industry, overseeing the operations of 17 historic Broadway theatres owned by The Shubert Organization. Over those years he also directed operations of Shubert-run theatres in Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. As an active member of the theatre community, Peter generously donated his time and talent to a range of not-for-profit arts organizations, as well as playing an active role at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Actors Fund. He also taught theatre management at the Columbia University School of the Arts from 1979 to 2017. He served on the Board of Governors of The Broadway League, as a Trustee of Local 306 Theatre Employees Health Fund and was also a Trustee of the Treasurers & Ticket Sellers Local 751 Pension Fund.
Upon graduating from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, with a BFA in Scene Design, Joseph Forbes moved to New York to attend classes at Lester Polakov's Studio and Forum of Stage Design. Forbes became a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829 in 1979, and began his professional career at Nolans Scenery Studios where he painted several iconic Broadway productions including Annie, Cats, A Chorus Line, and Evita to name a few. In 1994, Forbes founded Scenic Art Studios, Inc. which has become the premiere scene painting studio for Broadway Scenery. Since its inception, the company has created backdrops, sculptures, and painted built scenery for more than 350 Broadway productions. Productions include, Book of Mormon, Kinky Boots, Hello Dolly, A Bronx Tale, School of Rock, Beetlejuice, and Beautiful. In an effort to share his love for scene painting, Joseph founded The Studio and Forum of Scenic Arts in 2004, a not-for-profit school, where he still enjoys being an instructor. It is the studio's mission to teach the traditional skills of scene painting, while incorporating new materials and techniques. His passion for teaching also lead him to Purchase College, where he was a Lecturer in Theatre Design/Technology for 12 years.
FDNY Engine 54 / Ladder 4 / Battalion 9 is located on 8th Avenue between 48th Street and 49th Street right in the heart of the Theatre District and their motto Never Missed a Performance, is reflective of the community they serve. The Pride of Midtown, lost 15 firefighters on September 11th, the most of any firehouse in the city, and they have stood strong ever since with a memorial outside of the firehouse honoring their fallen comrades. The company is a integral part of the theatre community, conducting fire inspections in each of the theatres, and having one of the fastest response times in the city. Since its inception in 1865, FDNY has helped lead efforts to make New York the safest big city in the nation. This accomplishment requires a steadfast and daily commitment to maintaining the Department's core values. To that end, FDNY members are sworn to serve and protect life and property.
The American Theatre Wing's 73rd Annual Tony Awards, hosted by James Corden, will air on the CBS Television Network on Sunday, June 9, 2019 (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/delayed PT) live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The Tony Awards, which honors theatre professionals for distinguished achievement on Broadway, has been broadcast on CBS since 1978. The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.
The Nominations for the 2019 Tony Awards will be announced live, by Bebe Neuwirth and Brandon Victor Dixon, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 from the New York City Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. The event can be watched live on BroadwayWorld at 8:30am ET.