Tonys: Sonny Tilders and Creature Technology Company, More to Receive Special Awards

Sonny Tilders the Creature Designer speaks during a "King Kong" Production media call -Getty-H 2019
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Marin Mazzie and Jason Michael Webb also will be honored during this year's celebration of Broadway's best, to be held June 9 and hosted by James Corden.

The Tony Awards Administration Committee on Monday announced that Sonny Tilders and Creature Technology Company — the creators of the larger-than-life gorilla puppet in Broadway's King Kong — will receive a special Tony Award for Tilders' outstanding contribution to New York's theater community.

Musical director and arranger Jason Michael Webb and late actress and advocate Marin Mazzie, a three-time Tony nominee who died last September, also will be presented with special honors.

Specifically, Tilders and his company are being recognized for the technical design of Kong — which is 20 feet tall, weighs 2,000 pounds, comprises 1,000 feet of electrical cable and 16 microprocessors and is operated by a team of 13 puppeteers.

Webb is being awarded for his outstanding arrangements for Choir Boy at Manhattan Theatre Club. The play features 10 songs, a combination of gospel, hymns and ballads.

Mazzie is being honored posthumously for her advocacy within the theater community as a voice for women's health issues, along with her dedication to organizations such as the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. She received Tony nominations in 1994 for Passion, in 1998 for Ragtime and in 2000 for Kiss Me, Kate.

"We are honored to recognize these three Special Tony Awards this season. These artists have demonstrated outstanding passion and dedication," Heather Hitchens, president of the American Theatre Wing, and Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, said Monday in a joint statement. "Sonny and Creature Technology Company’s 'Kong' embodies extraordinary design, technical complexities and sophisticated emotional capabilities. Jason’s a capella arrangements in Choir Boy are transformative. Marin was and is a beacon of light for our community, by advocating for women’s health issues."

The nominations in the competitive categories of the 2019 Tony Awards will be announced by Bebe Neuwirth and Brandon Victor Dixon on Tuesday from the New York City Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

Last week, the Tonys announced that Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to Rosemary Harris, Terrence McNally and Harold Wheeler, while this year's Isabelle Stevenson Award will go to Judith Light. It was also announced that the San Francisco Bay Area-based TheatreWorks Silicon Valley will receive the 2019 Regional Theatre Tony Award.

The American Theatre Wing’s 73rd annual Tony Awards, hosted by James Corden, will air live from New York's Radio City Music Hall on June 9 at 8 p.m. ET (tape delayed PT) on CBS.