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Athol Fugard to receive Tony Award for lifetime achievement

April 6, 2011 |  8:11 am

Athol FugardWhen the Tonys are doled out June 12, special lifetime achievement awards will be bestowed on South African playwright Athol Fugard and Shubert chairman Philip J. Smith

Fugard has never won a Tony Award, but four of his works were nominated for best play: "Sizwe Banzi Is Dead and the Island" (1975), "A Lesson from Aloes" (1981), "Master Harold … and the Boys" (1982) and "Blood Knot" (1986). He also received bids for directing "Sizwe Banzi" and "Master Harold."

Philip J. Smith was president of the Shubert Organization from 1996 to 2008 prior to becoming chairman. Shubert directs the management and operation of 17 Broadway theaters in addition to theaters in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Smith is a member of the executive committee of the Broadway League, which oversees the Tonys along with the American Theatre Wing.

Also to be honored by the Tonys on June 12 will be Eve Ensler, playwright of "The Vagina Monologues," who'll receive the Isabelle Stevenson Award in honor of charitable and humanitarian work. Ensler is the founder of V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls that's raised more than $80 million.

The Tony honors for excellence in the theater will go to Bill Berloni, a trainer whose animals have appeared in more than a dozen Broadway productions, including "Annie," "Camelot" and "Legally Blonde." Also acknowledged will be the Drama Book Shop, which has served as the preeminent venue for book and script sales in the Broadway zone for decades.

Sharon Jensen and the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts will be recognized for efforts to promote diversity in theatrical portrayals of persons of color and people with disabilities.

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Athol Fugard. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times