The 2023 Tony Awards are presenting two theater titans with an honorary lifetime achievement award: original “Cabaret” collaborators Joel Grey, who starred as the Emcee, and John Kander, who composed the musical’s score.
To be presented at the live ceremony in New York City on June 11, these special Tonys add to two already sterling careers that have earned competitive Tonys, Oscars, Golden Globes and more upon their shelves.
“We are immensely thrilled to honor two legends in their own rights. John Kander has composed the soundtrack to all of our lives – meeting us in every decade – creating unforgettable scores for Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and his current Broadway hit New York, New York,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, said in a statement.
Speaking Grey’s praises, Heather Hitchens, president and CEO of the American Theatre Wing, added: “As a legendary actor and director, Joel Grey has made an everlasting impact, from Cabaret, to Goodtime Charley, The Normal Heart and his acclaimed Yiddish production of Fiddler on the Roof.”
“Mr. Grey and Mr. Kander are true giants of the theatre,” Hitchens continued, “and we are honored to say Wilkommen as the recipients of the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Awards.”
A veteran of film, TV and theatre, Grey’s career dates back over 70 years. His best-known film role as the Emcee in “Cabaret” earned him the Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor, which itself was preceded by him originating the role on Broadway, taking home the competitive Tony for Featured Actor in a Musical.
In addition to his work on “Cabaret,” for which he earned the Tony Award for score, Kander’s other Tony-winning work includes “Woman of the Year” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”
The two men are in fine company going into the 76th annual ceremony. Announced Tuesday, the biggest nominees — Best Play, Best Musical, Best Revival of a Play and Best Revival of a Musical — went to the following: “Ain’t No Mo’,” “Between Riverside and Crazy,” “Cost of Living,” “Fat Ham” and “Leopoldstadt” for Best Play; “& Juliet,” “Kimberly Akimbo,” “New York, New York,” “Shucked” and “Some Like It Hot” for Best Musical; “August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson,” “A Doll’s House,” “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” and “Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog” for Best Revival of a Play; and “Into the Woods,” “Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot,” “Parade” and “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” for Best Revival of a Musical.
As previously announced, the 2023 Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre will be presented to Lisa Dawn Cave, Victoria Bailey and Robert Fried. The Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award will be presented to Jerry Mitchell.
The 76th Annual Tony Awards are scheduled for Sunday, June 11, and will air live on CBS at 8 p.m.–11 p.m. Eastern. Presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing and executive produced by Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss/White Cherry Entertainment (the latter of whom also directs), the ceremony will also stream live and on-demand on Paramount+. “West Side Story” Oscar winner Ariana DeBose will return to host just one year after hosting the 75th annual awards in 2022.