American Theater Hall of Fame
The American Theater Hall of Fame in New York City was founded in 1972. Earl Blackwell was the first head of the Executive Committee. In an announcement at a luncheon meeting on March 1972, he said that the new Theater Hall of Fame would be located in the Uris Theatre (then under construction, now the Gershwin). James M. Nederlander and Gerard Oestreicher, who leased the theatre, donated the space for the Hall of Fame; Arnold Weissberger was another founder. Blackwell noted that the first 90 members of the Hall of Fame had been chosen, with their names "to be embossed in bronze-gold lettering on the theater's entrance walls flanking its grand staircase and escalator." The first group of inductees to be elected, 23 in all, were announced in October 1972.
Eligible inductees come from disciplines including actors, playwrights, song writers, designers, directors and producers who have had a career on Broadway spanning at least twenty-five years with a minimum of five major theatrical credits. Selections are made by approximately 400 voting members from the Theater Hall of Fame and the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA).
Since 1998, the fullest accounts of the annual induction ceremonies, with quotes from both inductees and their presenters, have appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The best index to these articles is on the ATCA website.
The 2009 inductees were Jim Dale, John McMartin, Roger Berlind, Theodore Mann, Stephen Schwartz, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and posthumously, Lynn Redgrave and Charles Ludlam. The ceremony took place on January 25, 2010.
The 2010 inductees were Brian Dennehy, Linda Lavin, Fritz Weaver, Michael Blakemore, Caryl Churchill, Paul Gemignani; James Lapine and, posthumously, Joseph Chaikin. The ceremony took place on January 24, 2011, hosted by Pia Lindstrom.
The 2011 inductees were Tyne Daly, Ben Vereen, Ann Roth, Daniel Sullivan, producers George White, Elliot Martin and Woodie King Jr. and, posthumously, Paul Sills. The ceremony took place on January 20, 2012, hosted by Estelle Parsons.
The 2012 inductees were Betty Buckley, Sam Waterston, Trevor Nunn, Michael Kahn, Andre Bishop, Paula Vogel, Christopher Durang and, posthumously, Martin Pakledinaz. The ceremony was held on January 28, 2013.
The 2013 inductees were Ellen Burstyn, Lorraine Hansbury, David Hays, Cherry Jones, Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Lynne Meadow, George C. Wolfe and Jerry Zaks. The ceremony was held on January 27, 2014, with Joel Grey as host.
The 2014 inductees were: Susan Stroman, F. Murray Abraham, Alvin Epstein, Blythe Danner, Frank Rich, Chairman of the Shubert Organization Philip J. Smith, Alfred Uhry and director Marshall W. Mason. The Induction Ceremony was held on May 4, 2015, at the Gershwin Theatre, hosted by Pia Lindstrom. The originally scheduled ceremony, on January 26, 2015, was postponed due to a blizzard.
The 2015 inductees are Tony Kushner, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Julie Taymor, Robert Falls, Stacy Keach, Ken Billington, Broadway publicist Merle Debuskey and, posthumously, Roger Rees. The Theater Hall of Fame Ceremony will be held on November 16, 2015 at the Gershwin Theatre, hosted by Estelle Parsons.
Theater Hall of Fame Fellowship Luncheon
A Theater Hall of Fame Fellowship Luncheon has been held annually since 2004. The luncheon "salutes a member of the Theater Hall of Fame who continues to work on Broadway and also presents grants to emerging theatre artists." The 9th Annual Luncheon, which was held on June 15, 2012 at the New York Friars Club, honored Joel Grey.
Original Inductees (those added to the Hall of Fame upon its opening in 1972), for the complete list see:
- George Abbott (director, producer, playwright)
- Fred Astaire (actor, singer, choreographer) 
- Tallulah Bankhead (actress)
- Ethel Barrymore (actress)
- John Barrymore (actor)
- Lionel Barrymore (actor)
- Norman Bel Geddes (designer)
- Leonard Bernstein (composer)
- Edwin Booth (actor)
- Katharine Cornell (actress)
- Noël Coward (playwright)
- Lynn Fontanne (actress)
- Eva Le Gallienne (actress, producer, director)
- George Gershwin (composer)
- Ira Gershwin (lyricist)
- Dorothy Gish (actress)
- Lillian Gish (actress)
- Oscar Hammerstein II (librettist, producer, director)
- Moss Hart (playwright, director)
- Helen Hayes (actress)
- Frank Loesser (lyricist)
- Alfred Lunt (director, actor)
- Ethel Merman (actress, singer)
- George Jean Nathan (critic, editor)
- Gertrude Lawrence (actress)
- Eugene O'Neill (playwright)
- Richard Rodgers (composer)
There is also a special Theater Hall of Fame Founders Award, established in 1993 in honor of the 3 founders, and awarded for an individual's outstanding contribution to the theatre.
Founders Award Awardees
- Gans, Andrew."Hamlisch, Lane, Birch, Tunick and Azenberg Among Theater Hall of Fame Inductees" playbill.com, October 10, 2008
- Calta, Louis. "A Hall of Fame for the Theater To Honor Outstanding Figures", New York Times, March 7, 1972, ISSN 03624331, p. 45
- "Uris Hall of Fame Names First Group". New York Times. October 27, 1972.
- Hodges, Ben."The Theater Hall of Fame"Theatre World (2008-2009) (Vol. 65), Hal Leonard Corporation, 2009, ISBN 1-4234-7369-8, p.393-394
- "Hall of Fame: theater veterans get a night in limelight"Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 30, 2008
- Gans, Andrew."Redgrave, Schwartz and Lloyd Webber Among Theater Hall of Fame Inductees" playbill.com, October 8, 2009
- Gans, Andrew and Peter, Thomas."Theater Hall of Fame Ceremony, Honoring Linda Lavin, Brian Dennehy, Michael Blakemore, Presented Jan. 24" playbill.com, January 24, 2011
- Gans, Andrew and Gioia, Michael. "Tyne Daly, Ben Vereen, Ann Roth, Daniel Sullivan and More Inducted Into Theater Hall of Fame Jan. 30" playbill.com, January 30, 2012
- Gans, Andrew and Gioia, Michael. "Exclusive: Betty Buckley, Sam Waterston, Trevor Nunn, Christopher Durang, Andre Bishop Among Theater Hall of Fame Inductees" playbill.com, September 24, 2012
- "Cherry Jones, Ellen Burstyn, Cameron Mackintosh, and More Inducted Into Broadway's Theater Hall of Fame" theatermania.com, January 27, 2014
- Gans, Andrew. "Theater Hall of Fame Ceremony, Honoring Susan Stroman, F. Murray Abraham, Philip J. Smith and More, Presented Tonight"" playbill.com, May 4, 2015
- Gans, Andrew. "Presenters Announced for Starry Theater Hall of Fame Ceremony" Playbill, November 11, 2015
- Gans, Andrew."Bernadette Peters, Bebe Neuwirth, Stephen Schwartz Will Salute Joel Grey at Theater Hall of Fame Luncheon" playbill.com, May 29, 2012
- "Fred Astaire inducted into Theater Hall of Fame."
- Willis, John."The Theater Hall of Fame Founders Award"Theater World 2001-2002, Volume 58, Hal Leonard Corporation, 2004, ISBN 1-55783-625-6, p. 210
- Official web site
- Complete List of Theater Hall of Fame Members
- Playbill.com Article, January 28, 2008, "Fierstein, Ivey, O'Brien and More Inducted Into Theater Hall of Fame Jan. 28; Tune Hosts"