The American Theatre Wing celebrated Tony winner Cicely Tyson last night as part of their annual Gala. The Plaza Hotel never looked so good as Ms. Tyson in her long silver gown by designer B Michael, looked radient.
Spike Lee introduced Ms. Tyson, and Broadway stars including Cynthia Erivo (whogala-hoped), Danielle Brooks, Saycon Sengbloh and Adriane Lenox sang rousing tributes to her throughout the ballroom. These artists were joined by the Cicely Tyson Celebration Choir, a group formed for this event.
Tyson, who was last on Broadway opposite James Earl Jones in a revival of The Gin Game. After a 30-year hiatus from the New York stage, Tyson portrayed Carrie Watts in Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful, for which she received rave reviews and the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. Tyson may be best known for her double Emmy Award-winning performance as Jane in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (Best Lead Actress in a Drama as well as an unprecedented Special Emmy for Actress of the Year). She garnered an Academy Award nomination for Sounder and received her third Emmy Award for Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.
“Cicely Tyson exemplifies what the American Theatre Wing is all about, from her career-defining performances, to her passionate commitment to arts education via her namesake performing and fine arts school,” said Heather Hitchens, president and CEO of the Wing, in an earlier statement. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to honor her at this year’s Gala.”
The funds raised at the annual event will provide support for the Wing’s programs, which champion and celebrate American theatre and ensure that the next generation is “on the stage, behind the scenes, and in the audience,” according to a statement.
Past honorees have included James Earl Jones, Dame Angela Lansbury, Harold Prince, the Redgrave Family, Sir Howard Stringer, Frank Loesser, Jerry Herman, Carol Channing, Tommy Tune, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Les Moonves, Isabelle Stevenson, Jerry Bock, Cy Coleman, John Kander, Fred Ebb, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Marvin Hamlisch, Sheldon Harnick, Stephen Sondheim, Charles Strouse, Graciela Daniele, Kathleen Marshall, Susan Stroman and Julie Taymor, among others.