Playwrights Athol Fugard and Eve Ensler honored at Tony Awards

Playwrights Athol Fugard and Eve Ensler are to be honored at this year’s Tony Awards.

Winning a lifetime achievement award for his brilliant plays “‘Master Harold’… and the Boys” and “The Road to Mecca,” South African author Athol Fugard saw four of his plays nominated in the best of category: “Sizwe Banzi Is Dead and the Island” (1975), “A Lesson from Aloes” (1981), “Master Harold … and the Boys” (1982) and “Blood Knot” (1986). Fugard was also nominated for his work directing “Sizwe Banzi” and “Master Harold.”

Eve Ensler, most famous for her celebrity studded play, “The Vagina Monologues,” will receive the Isabelle Stevenson Award, which honors members of the theater community for their humanitarian efforts.  Ensler is the founder of V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls that’s raised over $80 million.

Tony Award nominations are revealed May 3. The awards ceremony is June 12.

Other awards announced include a lifetime achievement award to Philip J. Smith, chairman of the Shubert Organization.  Also announced are honors recognizing the work of Bill Berloni, a trainer whose animals have appeared in more than a dozen Broadway productions, including “Annie,” “Camelot” and “Legally Blonde.”  Sharon Jensen and the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts will also be recognized for efforts to promote diversity in theatrical portrayals of persons of color and people with disabilities.