Playwrights Athol Fugard and Eve Ensler will receive special honours at the Tony Awards this June, organizers announced on Wednesday.
The 78-year-old Fugard is one of two lifetime achievement winners for 2011. The South African writer's oeuvre spans plays like Master Harold... and the Boys and The Road to Mecca as well as the novel Tsotsi, made into an Oscar-winning film by Gavin Hood.
The Tonys will also honour theatre executive Philip J. Smith for career achievement. Now chair of the Shubert Organization — which produces theatrical productions and manages more than a dozen venues on Broadway and in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington — he also helped develop the ticket-purchasing system Telecharge.
Ensler, award-winning author of The Vagina Monologues, will receive the Isabelle Stevenson Award in part to recognize her creation of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls. Theatre groups and community organizers often stage readings of The Vagina Monologues, and other plays that give women's perspective, as V-Day fund-raisers and consciousness-raising events.
The Stevenson honour is presented to a theatre community member who devotes substantial time to humanitarian, social service or charitable efforts.
Each year, organizers also bestow special prizes celebrating individuals or institutions ineligible for the established Tony categories. This year's recipients will be longtime animal trainer Bill Berloni, Manhattan's Drama Book Shop and diversity promoters Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts.
The nominees for the 2011 Tony Awards will be announced May 3, with the annual gala to follow on June 12.