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Theater Excellence Tony Award Winners Announced

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The creator of kids' versions of Broadway works, a production supervisor who has overseen more than 200 Broadway shows and a mentoring program that pairs up theater professionals with New York City public high school students are among this year's recipients of the Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre.

2012 winners are Freddie Gershon, Artie Siccardi and the TDF Open Doors program.

The awards are given to institutions, individuals and organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in theatre. Past recipients include Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (1993), Betty Corwin and the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (2001) and Ellen Stewart (2006).

Gershon was given the award this year, according to the Tony Awards Administration Committee's press release breaking the news, in part because he created Broadway KIDS/Broadway JR. in 1994. The program brings 30- and 60-minute adaptations of Broadway musicals, including “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Guys and Dolls,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and "Annie," to elementary and middle school student performers.

Siccardi got the honor for overseeing production of more than 200 Broadway shows, including "Gypsy," "Grease," "A Chorus Line," "Chicago," "Dreamgirls," "My Fair Lady" and "Mamma Mia!". He has worked with theater directors Mike Nichols and Jerome Robbins, among others.

A third Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre went to TDF Open Doors, a mentoring program that pairs working theater professionals with New York City public high school students. Students in the program get to attend six Broadway or Off Broadway performances over the course of the school year.

The achievement awards will be presented at a cocktail party on June 9, the night before the 2012 Tony Awards take place on June 10.