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National Endowment for the Arts Receives 2016 Special Tony Award

Jane and Jess and Tony Awards announcement 5.4.16.jpg

6 people in group in front of banner with Tony Awards and CBS logos

NEA Chairman Jane Chu (in orange) and NEA Director of Public Affairs Jessamyn Sarmiento (next to Jane) at the 2016 Tony Awards nominations announcement on May 4, 2016 at Diamond Horseshoe at The Paramount Hotel in New York City. Full caption and details below.

Washington, DC—The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce it has been selected by the Tony Awards® Administration Committee to receive the 2016 Special Tony Award for its “unwavering commitment in paving the road" between Broadway and cities throughout the U.S.

“The National Endowment for the Arts’ contribution to the theatre community is incalculable,” stated Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing, and Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League. “Over the past 50 years, since its inception, the agency has funded 18 Tony Award-winning plays and 15 Tony award-winning musicals, not to mention offering vital support to hundreds of theatre professionals. They are invaluable to our industry, and to our nation’s cultural legacy.”

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “This is a tremendous honor to be recognized by the Tony Awards Administration Committee, The American Theatre Wing, and the Broadway League for our work supporting America’s nonprofit theater. Over five decades, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded more than $331 million in grants and millions more through national initiatives, all to support theater creation, performing, touring, and education. We look forward to another 50 years of helping theater artists and organizations grow and thrive, reaching audiences in every community.”

The National Endowment for the Arts is the largest funder of non-profit theater and musical theater in the country, supporting the field in myriad ways:

  • The NEA was directly responsible for the national infrastructure of American non-profit theater, helping launch organizations such as the Theatre Development Fund in 1968, and strengthening networks in part through funding of Theatre Communications Group.
  • The NEA makes a significant investment in the creation of new plays and musicals. Between 1996 and 2015, the NEA awarded more than $13 million to develop new plays.
  • NEA-supported plays and musicals have transferred to Broadway, and toured throughout the United States, extending the life and commercial success of new work and connecting with wider audiences. Since 1966, NEA-supported plays and musicals have received 100 nominations and 33 wins for the Tony Award for Best Play and Best Musical, including Chicago’s Steppenwolf for August: Osage County, New York City’s Public Theater for Fun Home, and Washington, DC’s Arena Stage for Next to Normal.
  • NEA funding supports playwrights, directors, designers, actors, and composers, as well as lyricists-in-training programs through workshops, readings, and festivals that challenge and advance their craft.

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov.

Complete Photo Caption: NEA Chairman Jane Chu (in orange) and NEA Director of Public Affairs Jessamyn Sarmiento (next to Jane) at the 2016 Tony Awards nominations announcement on May 4, 2016 at Diamond Horseshoe at The Paramount Hotel in New York City. Others from left are: Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League; Robert E. Wankel, chairman of the Broadway League; William Ivey Long, chairman, American Theater Wing to Chairman Chu’s left; and Heather Hitchens, president, American Theater Wing. Photo courtesy of Jessamyn Sarmiento. For a downloadable version of the photo, click here.