Tonys 2015: Honors for Excellence Recipients Announced

Scenic artist Arnold Abramson, publicist Adrian Bryan-Brown and theater technician Gene O'Donovan will receive this year's honors at the Tony Honors Cocktail Party on June 1.
Margot Schulman
Bryan-Brown's company is representing 'Gigi' and several other shows this season

Scenic artist Arnold Abramson, publicist Adrian Bryan-Brown and theater technician Gene O'Donovan will receive this year's Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre, the Tony Awards Administration Committee announced on Tuesday. The accolades will be presented at the Tony Honors Cocktail Party on June 1 — the week before the 69th Tony Awards — at the Paramount Hotel's Diamond Horseshoe.

Abramson has painted the sets for hundreds of Broadway shows over the last half-century, including The King and I, My Fair Lady, Sweeney Todd and Cats. He also taught scene painting at Yale University and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts before moving to Florida in 1991 to open Studio South, a union shop from which he painted backdrops for the New York City Ballet, Miami City Ballet and numerous other productions until 2005. He then painted at Coconut Studios until his retirement in 2012.

Bryan-Brown is a partner in the theatrical public relations firm Boneau/Bryan-Brown, which has grown — over the course of work on hundreds of shows since Bryan-Brown and his business partner Chris Boneau founded it in 1991 — into one of the most prolific and venerated of show business PR operations. BBB-repped shows have won eight Pulitzer Prizes and 195 Tony Awards, and this year include The Elephant Man, Constellations, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeDisgraced, Airline Highway, An American in Paris, Gigi and Something Rotten!. Bryan-Brown has also taught theatrical PR as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College. His wife, theater photographer Joan Marcus, received a Tony Honor last year.

O'Donovan has been a revered theatre technician for more than 40 years, working on technically challenging productions including The Phantom of the Opera, Titanic and The Book of Mormon. He began his career with highly regarded Feller Scenery before becoming a Local One stagehand, a production carpenter and the founder of one of the most important scene shops of the past 30-plus years, Hudson Scenic Studio. He also founded Aurora Productions, which has supervised hundreds of productions over the past 20 years, including this year's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and teaches at SUNY Purchase and Columbia University.

The Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre were established in 1990 and are awarded annually "to institutions, individuals and/or organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in theatre, but are not eligible in any of the established Tony Award categories."

This year's three recipients were described in glowing terms by the heads of the two groups that put on the Tonys. "They exemplify the dedication, creativity and tireless work that goes on behind-the-scenes to make attending a Broadway show the sensational and unforgettable experience we know it to be. We could not be more proud to honor these three outstanding individuals with this year's Tony Honors," said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of The Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, president of the American Theatre Wing, in a statement.

The 69th annual Tony Awards will take place at Radio City Music Hall on June 7. The show will be telecast live on CBS.

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