The 2018 Special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre will be presented to Chita Rivera and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Beloved veteran performer Rivera made her Broadway debut as a dancer in the original 1950 production of Guys and Dolls, and found her breakout role in 1957 in West Side Story, as the original Anita. She has received 10 Tony nominations over her seven-decade stage career, most recently as lead actress in a musical in 2015 for The Visit. She won that award twice previously, for The Rink in 1984 and Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1993. Rivera also originated roles in Bye Bye Birdie, Chicago and Nine, among others.
Celebrated British composer and producer Lloyd Webber has been behind some of the major landmark hits of musical theater in the past 50 years, including Jesus Christ Superstar, The Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Cats and Sunset Boulevard, racking up seven Tony Awards.
He is currently represented on Broadway by Phantom, which recently marked its 30th anniversary, and School of Rock, now in its third year. Both those shows also are on tour in the U.S., along with the Phantom sequel Love Never Dies. Following the success of NBC’s Easter Sunday broadcast Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, a national tour of that iconic rock opera has been announced to launch next year.
“I could never have imagined the amazing journey I have had in the theater,” said Rivera in a statement. “I would not trade my life in the theater for anything as the theater is life.”
Said Lloyd Webber: “I am completely overwhelmed as a Brit to be honored by the Broadway community at the Tonys, particularly at the time when musicals are flying higher in their spiritual home New York than they have for two generations.”
The 72 Annual Tony Awards, honoring the best of the 2017-18 Broadway season, will be presented June 10 at Radio City Music Hall in a ceremony co-hosted by Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban and airing live on CBS.
Nominations in the competitive categories will be announced May 1 by Leslie Odom Jr., a 2016 Tony winner for Hamilton, and Katharine McPhee, currently appearing on Broadway in Waitress.