The Tony Honors "recognize contributions to the field of theatre for individuals and organizations that are not eligible in any of the established Tony categories." In addition to the BMI Workshop, Forbidden Broadway and its creator Gerard Alessandrini, a BMI composer and Workshop alum, will also be feted. Other honorees include William Morris Agency Senior VP Samuel Liff and La MaMa E.T.C. Founder/Director Ellen Stewart.
Deemed "the Harvard of musical theatre" by The New York Times, the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop was founded in 1961 by the late Lehman Engel, dean of American musical theatre, to create a setting where new writers could learn their craft. The Workshop consists of approximately 250 composers, lyricists and bookwriters, most of whom are actively writing new works for the musical theatre. Noted alumni include Tony Award winners Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (Avenue Q), Edward Kleban (A Chorus Line), Maury Yeston (Titanic, Grand Hotel, Nine), Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors) and Michael John LaChiusa (Hello Again, Marie Christine, The Wild Party).
The Workshop's 2006 Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre adds to an impressive trophy shelf that already boasts a special 2006 Drama Desk Award "for nurturing, developing and promoting new talent for the musical theater" and the 2005 Drama League Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre.