Carnegie Mellon University
October 31, 2019

Pittsburgh City Council Declares Oct. 31 "Tony Awards Day"

Carnegie Mellon University and The Tony Awards promote arts and theatre education

By Pam Wigley

Pam Wigley
  • College of Fine Arts
  • 412-268-1047

Pittsburgh City Councilperson Erika Strassburger sponsored a proclamation in City Council today declaring Oct. 31 "Tony Awards Day" in Pittsburgh, in recognition of Carnegie Mellon University's unique and ongoing collaboration with the American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards.

Carnegie Mellon University and The Tony Awards have a longstanding shared mission to advocate for and to promote the importance of arts and theatre education. The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

Carnegie Mellon University is the exclusive higher education partner of the Tony Awards. CMU and the Tony Awards co-founded and annually co-present the Excellence in Theatre Education Award to a K-12 drama teacher from anywhere in the United States following a rigorous nationwide search. Next spring marks the seventh year of this partnership, and the search for a 2020 honoree is already under way. Submissions are being accepted now at; deadline is Dec. 6.

A panel of judges composed of the American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, Carnegie Mellon and other leaders from the theatre industry annually select the winner from hundreds of submissions representing nearly every state. The Excellence in Theatre Education Award winner receives a $10,000 grant for his or her drama program, a visiting Master Class taught by CMU drama professors and two scholarships to the university's acclaimed Drama Pre-College Program.

"With 50 Tony Awards to date, Carnegie Mellon alumni continue to shine a favorable spotlight on Pittsburgh, particularly each spring when Tony nominations are announced," said Councilperson Erika Strassburger. "Importantly, the campaign to promote arts and theatre education is year-round, and we applaud the Tony Awards and CMU for this vital effort."

In recognition of this shared mission, top officials from The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing made their first joint visit to Pittsburgh and to CMU's campus this week. President of The Broadway League Charlotte St. Martin and President & CEO of the American Theatre Wing Heather Hitchens met with CMU President Farnam Jahanian upon arrival and were greeted by other university officials. St. Martin and Hitchens also participated in an exclusive "Business of Acting" panel discussion for CMU School of Drama students and students in the Masters of Arts Management and Masters of Entertainment Industry Management programs. The latter is a joint program of the College of Fine Arts and the Heinz College.

"It's an honor to host Charlotte and Heather, both luminaries of the Broadway community, on their first of hopefully many more visits to Pittsburgh," said President Jahanian. "CMU's ongoing partnership with the Tony Awards underscores the essential role arts and theatre education play in our schools today nationwide. We're also grateful to Councilperson Strassburger and to the Pittsburgh City Council for their continued support."

CMU's School of Drama is the first degree-granting drama institution in the United States. Notable Tony-winning CMU alumni include Judith Light, Billy Porter, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Leslie Odom Jr., Cherry Jones, Stephen Schwartz, Patina Miller, Jamie deRoy, Christian Borle, Jules Fisher, Peggy Eisenhauer and Ann Roth, to name only a few.

"Pittsburgh is a stunning city and well-known for producing amazing talent," said Hitchens and St. Martin. "We're very proud of our collaboration with CMU, and we look forward to discovering the next unsung drama teacher somewhere in the U.S. and to keeping arts and theatre education center stage."

The Antoinette Perry "Tony" Award, which was founded by the American Theatre Wing in 1947, is bestowed annually on theatre professionals for distinguished achievements on Broadway. The 74th Annual Tony Awards will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Sunday, June 7, 2020 on CBS. The Excellence in Theatre Education Award is presented during the telecast on Tony night.