Exclusive: Watch Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, Wendall K. Harrington, More Accept Their 2024 Tony Honors | Playbill

Video Exclusive: Watch Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, Wendall K. Harrington, More Accept Their 2024 Tony Honors

This year's honorees also include Judith O. Rubin, the Dramatists Guild Foundation, and the Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts.

Colleen Jennings-Roggensack Vi Dang

The Tony Awards are still a few weeks away, but the acceptance speeches have already begun. Speeches have been released for this year's Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre, which are being awarded to ASU Gammage Executive Director and Broadway League member Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, scenic projection designer Wendall K. Harrington, outgoing Playwrights Horizons Board Chair Judith O. Rubin, the Dramatists Guild Foundation, and the Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts. Watch each speech below.

“It is a pleasure to present the 2024 Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre to these five unsung heroes doing invaluable work behind the scenes in the theatre community,” said American Theatre Wing President and CEO Heather Hitchens in an earlier statement. “Wendall K. Harrington’s projection design masterpieces; Colleen Jennings-Roggernsack’s unwavering dedication to promoting artists and advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and access in the theatre; Judith O. Rubin’s passionate advocacy for culture; the Dramatists Guild Foundation’s life-changing support to theatre writers; and the Friedman Health Center’s commitment to the wellness of the community have been pivotal to the success of countless productions, and we are thrilled they are getting the recognition they deserve with this special honor."

Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, arts leader and visionary, is Vice President for Cultural Affairs at ASU and Executive Director of ASU Gammage, and leads artistic and administrative responsibilities for ASU Gammage and other venues. She co-leads ASU’s Advisory Council on African American Affairs, serves on The Broadway League’s Board of Governors as Vice Chair of the Road, has participated in the American Theatre Wing video panels, and is Arizona’s only Tony voter. Additionally, Colleen serves on the Broadway Green Alliance, ATPAM/Broadway Diversity Initiative and Creative Connections with SDCF. She also serves on the Black Theatre United Summit and the 7G Committee.

In 2020, she served on multiple panels addressing human rights; justice; diversity, equity, and inclusion and the future of Broadway—including interviews with Tony-winning director Kenny Leon related to the pandemic and racism—and participated in the TheaterMakers Summit on getting Broadway touring productions back on the road. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2023 Distinguished Service Award from The Broadway League and The 2023 Broadway League Leadership Award for COVID Service Award, among others.

See Jennings-Roggensack accept the honor below:

Wendall K. Harrington’s career has embraced diverse disciplines, including theatre, publishing, and multi-image/video design and production and academia. As a designer of scenic projections for the stage, her work has been seen on Broadway in Paradise Square, Annie, All the Way, Driving Miss Daisy, Grey Gardens, In My Life, The Good Body, Drowning Crow, They’re Playing Our Song, and The Elephant Man, among others. In 1993, Harrington designed the projections for the award-winning The Who’s Tommy on Broadway, which toured the U.S. in 1994, and has had productions in Toronto, London, and Frankfurt, Germany.

See Harrington accept the honor below:

Judith O. Rubin has been involved in various cultural arts organizations for decades. Board Chair of Playwrights Horizons, she also served on the National Council on the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts. She’s also been a member of several advisory commissions and boards, including the Tony Awards Administration Committee and the American Theatre Wing. Rubin is a trustee of Mount Sinai Health System and its School of Medicine, and has been involved in numerous other organizations such as the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation and Public Radio International. She was also a commissioner for protocol for the City of New York during the Dinkins administration. Next month, Rubin will step down as board chair of Playwrights Horizons after a 32-year tenure.

See Rubin accept the honor below:

Dramatists Guild Foundation is a national charity that fuels the future of American theatre by supporting the writers and composers who create it. Founded in 1962 by Alan Jay Lerner, DGF was created with two goals in mind: to provide grants to theatre writers and to support theatres producing original works by American playwrights. Now, DGF supports playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists at all stages of their careers through educational programs; awards, grants, and stipends; free space to create new works; and emergency aid to writers in need of immediate support.

Beginning with Gretchen Cryer’s presidency in 2005, DGF began a period of growth to help more and more writers. In 2015, DGF opened The Music Hall, made possible by a gift of Carol Hall, as a free space for dramatists to write, rehearse, and present new work. 2015 also marked the beginning Andrew Lippa’s tenure as DGF’s Board president. Since then, Lippa, Executive Director Rachel Routh, and the entire Board and staff have grown DGF’s impact, including opening more free writing spaces in midtown Manhattan—The Music Hall, Composers Corner, and Writers Den. With the help of the theatre community, including support from C. Graham Berwind III, DGF was able to distribute more than $3.5 million in immediate financial relief to theatre writers throughout the theatrical shutdown during the pandemic. Since that time, DGF has expanded grant opportunities to include Housing Assistance, Bridge Grants, and Natural Disaster Grants. The Foundation also launched new programs, including Catalyst Fellows, National Fellows, and Community Partnerships. DGF fiscally sponsors and administers the Lucille Lortel Indigenous Theatermaker Award, the Hansberry-Lilly Fellowship, and the Legacy Playwrights Initiative Awards.

See Executive Director Rachel Routh and Board President Andrew Lippa accept the honor below:

Operated in partnership with The Entertainment Community Fund and Mount Sinai Doctors and located in Times Square, The Friedman Health Center is the only health center in NYC solely focused on the particular health-care needs of those who work in performing arts and entertainment. It offers primary and specialty care, expedited referrals within the Mount Sinai Health System, extended hours and continuity of care for those who experience regular changes in health insurance coverage.

Although he had a passion for the theatre and participated in many high school productions, Dr. Jason Kindt, medical director of the Friedman Health Center, quickly realized that his enthusiasm for musical theatre does not make up for his lack of pitch. So, he went to medical school. He graduated from Ursinus College in 1995 and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1999. He is board certified in Family Medicine and worked for the Reading Health System in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, where he was voted “best family practice” five years in a row. In 2013 he moved to New York City and worked in urgent care in Manhattan, leaving him plenty of opportunity to catch all the shows in town. Dr. Kindt is a theatre person at heart, and so being the medical director of the Friedman Health Center since it opened in 2017 and providing care to this community is his dream job. Dr. Kindt is a two-time Cullman Family Award winner, which honors Excellence in Patient Communication.

See Dr. Kindt accept the honor below:

Nominations for the 2024 Tony Awards were revealed April 30, with Hell's Kitchen and Stereophonic taking the mantle as the most Tony-nominated productions of the seasons with 13 nods each. See the full list of nominations here.

Winners will be named at The 77th Annual Tony Awards, set for June 16 at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater. The evening will kick off with The Tony Awards: Act One, streaming for free on Pluto TV. Details are to be announced. The 77th Annual Tony Awards will follow beginning at 8 PM ET, broadcasting live on CBS (check local listings) and streaming live (for premium-level subscribers) via Paramount+. All Paramount+ subscribers will have on demand access to the broadcast beginning June 17. Stage and screen star Ariana DeBose will be back for the third consecutive year to host.

Visit Playbill.com/Tonys for more.

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