April 6 – The Birth of the Tonys

Tony Award

Tony Award

1947

Today marked the very first American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards ceremony.

On the evening of Easter Sunday 1947 in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria in New York, the American Theatre Wing established an awards program to celebrate excellence in the theatre in an evening of dinner, dancing and entertainment by some of the best in the business.

They were named for the dynamic war time leader of the Wing, actress, director and producer Antoinette Perry and the evening was presided over by her successor Vera Allen Perry. Eleven Tonys were presented and there were eight special awards, including one for Vincent Sardi, proprietor of the famous theatrical haunt on West 44th Street. Among the winners that night were José Ferrer, Arthur Miller, Ingrid Bergman and Agnes de Mille.

The idea took off and this year will be the 68th annual awards.

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