The Tony Awards acceptance speeches are starting early this year—and no, we're not talking about the recorded speeches WGA members have reportedly been told to prepare in lieu of attending the ceremony in person this year. Acceptance speeches for this year's Tony Honors, announced earlier this month, have been released in advance of this year's Tony Awards ceremony, set for June 11 at United Palace in Washington Heights.
2023 Tony Honoree Lisa Dawn Cave was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She attended the High School of Performing Arts and received her BFA in Dance from SUNY Purchase. Her professional theatre career started as a dancer-singer, performing in Cats, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, the 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls, Bubblin’ Brown Sugar, and Golden Boy.
Watch Cave's acceptance speech above.
After 10 years of performing on the stage, Cave’s career transitioned to behind the scenes, where she has worked consistently in stage management. These credits include the Broadway productions of Frozen; Shuffle Along; Fun Home; Rocky; The Humans; Cat On a Hot Tin Roof; Bring It On; West Side Story; Come Fly Away; The Color Purple; Hot Feet; The Caine Mutiny Court Martial; The Woman in White; Julius Caesar; Caroline, Or Change; Hollywood Arms; Into the Woods; The Wild Party; Parade; Smokey Joe’s Café; and the 1994 revival of Show Boat.
Cave is currently the production supervisor for Disney’s The Lion King and Frozen worldwide, along with the re-imagined Aida, which is currently playing in The Netherlands. In addition to her theatre credits, Ms. Cave serves on the Board of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. She is a founding member of both Black Theatre United and Broadway & Beyond: Access for Stage Managers of Color, and has served as an elected Councilor for Actors Equity Association for 11 years.
Robert Fried, a practicing certified public accountant for almost four decades, has provided tax, consulting, and accounting services almost exclusively to the theatre industry for over 32 years. Working on hundreds of theatrical productions during his career, his childhood aspirations of being a professional musician grounded him in the arts and helped drive his passion for the theatre industry.
Watch Fried's acceptance speech above.
During the early part of his career, while a partner at the accounting firm that tabulated the Tony Awards ballots, Fried attended the annual Tony Awards ceremony and handed winner envelopes to presenters backstage. In 2002, he founded his own firm with his partner Karen Kowgios, focusing solely on the commercial and not-for-profit theatre industry. Together their firm represented the majority of commercial productions and not-for-profit theatres in New York City. They also launched an association with U.K. professionals, which significantly expanded their services internationally. Fried currently works on the majority of productions that transfer from the U.S. to the U.K., and for theatrical producers whose shows from the U.K. are produced within the U.S.
In his current position with the firm of Withum Smith & Brown, which has a team of over 35 professionals dedicated to the theatre industry, Fried works with and represents some of the most prominent and successful Broadway musicals, including Wicked; Hamilton; The Book of Mormon; New York, New York; MJ; Some Like It Hot; & Juliet; Funny Girl; Hadestown; Harry Potter; Six; Kimberly Akimbo; Moulin Rouge; A Beautiful Noise; Sweeney Todd; Shucked; Parade; and others. He also works with and advises many of the industry leading producers and general managers.
Victoria Bailey has been the executive director of TDF since 2001. TDF sustains live theatre and dance by engaging and cultivating a broad and diverse audience and eliminating barriers to attendance. It envisions a world where the transformative experience of attending live theatre and dance is essential, relevant, accessible, and inspirational. TDF fulfills its mission by expanding access through ticketing, accessibility, and information initiatives; by cultivating communities through school and community engagement programs; and by supporting theatre makers through training, professional development programs, and national audience research.
Watch Bailey's acceptance speech above.
Highlights of Bailey’s tenure include playing a key role in the construction of the award-winning TKTS booth at Duffy Square; a 100 percent increase in NYC high school students served in TDF’s Education Programs; the launch of the Autism Theatre Initiative; the Access.NYC website in partnership with Broadway League and the Veterans Theatregoing Program; the creation of Community Engagement Programs; the implementation of the Passports Program to support The New York City Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit ticketing requirements; and a 100 percent increase in TDF members.
Prior to her appointment at TDF, she had a nearly 20-year association with Manhattan Theatre Club, where she served as general manager for close to 150 productions. Bailey is Theatre Management and Producing Advisor and Adjunct Professor at the School of the Arts at Columbia University, and a member of the board at the Times Square Alliance. She has served several terms on the Tony Awards Nominating Committee. In addition, she has served on several Broadway League Committees, most recently the Equity, Diversion and Inclusion Committee. Bailey received a B.A. in history from Yale College.
“It is our absolute honor to present Lisa Dawn, Victoria, and Robert with the Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre,” said American Theatre Wing President and CEO Heather Hitchens and Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin in an earlier joint statement. “We are thrilled to recognize their outstanding achievements in each of their respective fields; and their unwavering dedication to our Broadway community.”
Winners will be named in a starry ceremony at Washington Heights' United Palace Theatre June 11. The Tony Awards: Act One, a 90-minute pre-show of live and exclusive content, will stream on Pluto TV beginning at 6:30 PM ET, with hosts and further details to be announced. The main awards ceremony will follow at 8 PM ET, hosted by West Side Story Oscar winner Ariana DeBose. The awards portion will broadcast live on CBS, and stream live (for premium-level subscribers) via Paramount+. All Paramount+ subscribers will have on demand access to the broadcast beginning June 12.