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2023 Tony Honors for Excellence recipients share acceptance speeches

Lisa Dawn Cave, Victoria Bailey and Robert Fried have been honored with the 2023 awards.

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

The previously announced recipients of the 2023 Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre have accepted their awards in pre-taped speeches ahead of the June 11 Tonys ceremony.

This year’s honorees include production stage manager Lisa Dawn Cave, Theatre Development Fund outgoing executive director Victoria Bailey and theatrical accountant Robert Fried. Established in 1990, the honors recognize individuals who aren’t eligible for Tonys but have made significant contributions to Broadway.

Since beginning her theatrical career onstage, Cave has amassed more than 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.

“Who would have imagined this little Black girl from the projects of Brownsville, Brooklyn would be receiving a Tony Honor of Excellence for becoming what she always dreamed of — a success in the theater world,” Cave said in her speech.

Bailey has served as TDF’s executive director since 2001, launching numerous programs during her tenure. Prior to her time at TDF, Bailey served as general manager on nearly 150 productions in association with Manhattan Theatre Club.

“It has been a true privilege to spend so many years supporting so many theatermakers helping to produce their stories and helping make those stories accessible to so many,” Bailey said in her speech.

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. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Fried worked closely with the Broadway League to obtain relief and federal funding through the PPP and SVOG programs. Fried serves as the vice chair and treasurer of TDF.

“While being an accountant may not seem to many to be the most exciting career, the opportunity to work in an industry full of talented, passionate and creative people who are always so focused on this incredible art form has been an honor and a privilege,” Fried said in his speech.

Watch all three speeches below.