Last year’s honor was presented to Marilyn McCormick, a drama teacher at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Mich. McCormick’s students, along with colleagues at Cass Technical High School, submitted heartfelt letters, tributes and videos through the application process. McCormick and the Cass Tech students were informed of her selection by a surprise visit to McCormick’s classroom by Renée Elise Goldsberry, a 2016 Tony Award winner for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for her starring role in Broadway’s “Hamilton.” Goldsberry is a CMU alumna and served on last year’s judge’s panel.
“We are thrilled to be able to continue to shine a light on some incredible teachers – whose influence we see on our stages every night. Often times, teachers are the first ones thanked in Tony Awards acceptance speeches,” said Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing and Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League. “And we look forward to hearing more inspiring stories from around the country for this year’s Excellence in Theatre Education Award.”
“Awarding a deserving teacher with this honor is the highlight of our Tony Awards partnership,” said Daniel J. Martin, Dean, College of Fine Arts at CMU. “It’s rewarding for us to recognize the talents and dedication of teachers who inspire students to express themselves through the creative arts and, in many cases, go on to do great things.”
A panel of judges comprised of the American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, Carnegie Mellon University and other leaders from the theatre industry will select the winner. The winner will receive a cash grant prize for his or her school, flights to New York City, hotel accommodations and a pair of tickets to the 2017 Tony Awards Ceremony and Gala.
Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama is the oldest drama degree-granting program in the United States and celebrated its centennial in 2014. In the past century, CMU has produced hundreds of Tony nominees, and its alumni have won more than 40 awards to date. During the 2014 live Tony Awards telecast, CMU alumni Zachary Quinto and Matt Bomer introduced the educator award initiative. At the 2015 Tony Awards, CMU alumnus Joe Manganiello announced the Excellence in Theatre Education Award winner; and in 2016, the winner was announced by CMU alumnus Blair Underwood.
The 2017 Tony Awards, presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, will air live on CBS on Sunday, June 11th. For more information on the Tony Awards, visit TonyAwards.com and Facebook.com/TheTonyAwards and follow @ on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.