Veteran legiters Bernard Gersten, Ming Cho Lee and Paul Libin have each scored the 2013 Tony Awards’ special kudo for lifetime achievement in the theater.
Trio of prominent industry figures have all had long, storied careers in legit. The Tonys’ annual lifetime achievement award has in past years only been handed out to a single person; last year it went to Shubert Org chair Philip J. Smith.
Gersten has been the exec producer of Lincoln Center Theater since the org was rebooted in 1985, working with artistic directors Gregory Mosher (until 1991) and then Andre Bishop, the current a.d. Gersten’s tenure there saw the troupe grow into one of the city’s major nonprofits, producing notable titles including “The House of Blue Leaves,” “The Light in the Piazza,” “The Coast of Utopia,” “South Pacific” and “War Horse.”
Prior to that, he was associate producer at the New York Shakespeare Festival and the Public Theater between 1960 and 1978, spanning landmark outings including “Hair” and “A Chorus Line.”
Lee, meanwhile, is one of the legit world’s most influential set designers, not only for his long list of design credits at theaters in New York, in the regions and around the world, but also for his gig as a professor at the Yale School of Drama, where he’s taught for 44 years.
Libin, currently the exec veep of Broadway theater owner Jujamcyn Theaters (where he’s worked since 1990), spent 30 years as the producing director of the Circle in the Square Theater and is also a former chair of the Broadway League. He’s worked in gigs both onstage and off, producing his first play in 1958 and going on to take home nine Tonys. He’s also currently prexy of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, among other orgs in which he plays significant roles.
The three lifetime achievement honorees will receive their awards during the June 10 ceremony. Nominations for the kudofest’s competitive categories are announced April 30, which is also when the Tonys will announced the recipients of the Tony Honors, the laurels awarded to industry types whose work doesn’t fall into the competish categories.