What do Mary Alice, Athol Fugard, Otis Guernsey, June Havoc, Jon Jory, Liza Minnelli, and Al Pacino have in common? They are the living artists who will be inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame (ATHF) Jan. 29. Those names, plus those of the late actress Nancy Marchand and the late producer Robert Fryer, were announced this month by the ATHF board of directors and Board Chair Joy Abbott, widow of the legendary writer-director George Abbott.
Candidates for the Hall of Fame must have five major theatre credits over a span of at least 25 years. The nine theatre professionals selected this year were chosen from 78 nominees by the 275 members of the American Theatre Critics Associa-tion, members of the Hall of Fame, and selected other critics and theatre historians who vote on the honors. The names of the inductees will be engraved in gold on the walls of the Gershwin Theatre's upper lobby, joining nearly 400 names that have been set in the walls already.
Of the new recipients, Alice is a Tony Award winner for "Fences"; Fugard is the author of the plays "Master Harold … and the Boys," "Sizwe Bansi Is Dead," and "Boesman and Lena," among others; Guernsey has edited the "Best Plays" book series since 1964; Havoc was a star of the original production of "Pal Joey," as well as the real-life basis for the character of June in "Gypsy"; Jory is the former producing director of the Actors Theatre of Louisville and founder of that theatre's Humana Festival of New American Plays; Minnelli is a three-time Tony Award recipient for "Flora the Red Menace," "The Act," and her one-person show; and Pacino has won two Tonys, for "The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel" and "Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?" Marchand, who died in June, won Obie Awards 29 years apart for "The Balcony" and "The Cocktail Hour," and appeared in scores of Broadway plays. Fryer, who also died in June, produced or co-produced shows that won 37 Tony Awards, including "Auntie Mame," "Mame," "Sweeney Todd," "Noises Off," and "Sweet Charity."
A limited number of tickets are available for the ceremony and honorees' dinner at Sardi's. Tickets are $250 each, and may be ordered through the event's producer, Terry Hodge Taylor, by calling (212) 307-1226 or writing to 200 W. 50th St., #17R, New York, NY 10019.