Skip to content

Tony Awards announce 2023 recipients of Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre

Established in 1990, the honors recognize individuals who aren’t eligible for Tonys but have made significant contributions to Broadway.

Lisa Dawn Cave, Victoria Bailey and Robert Fried (Credit: Courtesy of Lisa Dawn Cave and TDF)

The Tony Awards Administration Committee has announced the recipients of the 2023 Honors for Excellence in the Theatre, which acknowledge individuals and organizations who, while not eligible in established Tony Awards categories, have made significant contributions to the theater industry.

The trio of winners includes production stage manager Lisa Dawn Cave, Theatre Development Fund’s outgoing executive director Victoria Bailey and theatrical accountant Robert Fried.

Cave began her theater career onstage, performing on Broadway in “Cats” and touring with several other productions. She then transitioned offstage and has amassed over a dozen Broadway and touring credits in positions that include production stage manager and production supervisor. Currently, Cave is the production supervisor for “The Lion King” and “Frozen” worldwide. Additionally, she served on the board of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and is a founding member of both Black Theatre United and Broadway & Beyond: Access for Stage Managers of Color.

“This is an amazing acknowledgment to me, personally, [for] all my years of hard work of doing my best for an industry I love and for my (along with my partners) recent work to open doors for stage managers of color," Cave told Broadway News in a statement. “The importance to the stage management community... To be recognized as if we were on the stage along with all the actors means a great deal.”

Bailey has served as TDF’s executive director since 2001. Among her accomplishments during her tenure, Bailey aided in the construction of the TKTS booth at Duffy Square, launched the Autism Theatre Initiative and increased the number of students served by TDF’s Education Programs. Prior to her time at TDF, Bailey served as general manager on nearly 150 productions in association with Manhattan Theatre Club.

“I am deeply honored to receive this Tony Honor and am so grateful to the Tony Awards Administration Committee, the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League for this recognition,” Bailey told Broadway News in a statement. “Our work in the theater is built on collaboration and I have to acknowledge all my colleagues in the field who have worked with me and with TDF in a variety of efforts. And last but in no way least, I am so grateful to my colleagues at TDF. It is their passion for our mission and their commitment and tireless efforts on behalf of our programs that has made my work possible. This award is particularly meaningful as it comes from the Broadway community and demonstrates an understanding of TDF’s deep impact in the industry. And of course it is a thrilling way for me to mark the end of my tenure at TDF. It has been a true privilege to support so many theatremakers and help make their stories available to so many.”

Fried has been a practicing certified public accountant for nearly four decades, during which he has provided a variety of services to the theater industry. In his current position at Withum Smith & Brown, Fried represents more than a dozen currently running Broadway productions. Beyond his duties, Fried also advises producers and general managers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Fried worked closely with the Broadway League to obtain relief and federal funding through the PPP and SVOG programs. His work with the League has also included amending tax laws and drafting and interpreting legislation for the NYC Theatrical tax credit. Fried serves as the vice chair and treasurer of TDF.  

“It is the culmination of my life’s work,” Fried shared in a statement with Broadway News. “To be recognized for the honor exceeds my wildest expectations and I am so incredibly thankful to all of the people who have made it possible. It represents how dedication in the industry, regardless of the role played in a production, can be recognized and applauded.”

The 76th Annual Tony Awards will take place on June 11 at the United Palace in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood. The event will begin with exclusive content streaming live on Pluto TV from 6:30 p.m. to ET. The ceremony will be broadcast beginning at 8 p.m. ET on CBS in addition to a livestream available on Paramount+.

Last year’s Tony honorees for Excellence in Theatre included Feinstein’s/54 Below; United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829, IATSE; Asian American Performers Action Coalition (AAPAC); Broadway for All and music copyist Emily Grishman.