Two-time Tony Award winner Judith Light will receive a special accolade at this year’s Tony Award’s ceremony. Light will be bestowed the Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award, which is presented annually to a member of the theatre community who has made a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service, or charitable organizations. Light will be recognized for for her advocacy to end HIV/AIDS and her support for LGBTQ+ and human rights.
“The HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ+ communities are inspirations and demonstrations of how to be and live in the world; courageous, honorable, and uplifting. They inspire me and it is my privilege to be of service to them. I am humbled by this recognition from my theatre family, whom I so respect, honor, and love.”
Light weighed in on the honor “To be so generously acknowledged by The American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League and the Tony Awards, and to be included with these outstanding individuals who have received this honor before me, has been one of the most extraordinary gifts I have ever received in my life. The HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ+ communities are inspirations and demonstrations of how to be and live in the world; courageous, honorable, and uplifting. They inspire me and it is my privilege to be of service to them. I am humbled by this recognition from my theatre family, whom I so respect, honor, and love.”
Light, who is a Tony Winner for her work in the Broadway plays Other Desert Cities and The Assembled Parties, has also appeared on Broadway in Thérèse Raquin. Television audiences of course know her from her work on such diverse series as Who’s the Boss?, Ugly Betty, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, and Transparent.
“Judith is one of the most beloved members of our theatre community,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League and Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing, in a statement. “Her talent is as big as her heart and spirit – and her tireless commitment to HIV/AIDS organizations and to the LGBTQ community, are unparalleled. We are honored to salute Judith at this year’s Tony Awards!”
“Since the early days of the AIDS pandemic, Light has reacted to the divisive response towards the LGTBQ+ community by speaking out and aligning herself with numerous organizations, including Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, GLAAD, NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, Project Angel Food, Elton John AIDS Foundation, among many others.
Light’s commitment to each cause has come in various forms throughout the years. In 1993, she spoke at the LGBT March in Washington. In 1995, Light rode her bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the California AIDS Ride to support HIV/AIDS Programs for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. In 1996 she joined Elizabeth Taylor, who served as grand marshal, at the National Mall in Washington DC for the display of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. In 1998, GLAAD recognized Light with the Vision Award for her dedication to fight HIV/AIDS alongside the LGBTQ+ community. Light traveled to South Africa for the AIDS walk to raise awareness for on the ground care in South Africa and research in the United States. Countless times, Light has lent her voice at Outfest, the LGBTQ+-oriented film festival in Los Angeles, and she sits on the honorary board of Point Foundation, which is the National LGBTQ+ Scholarship Fund. She has participated in Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Gypsy of the Year competition and Broadway Bares.”
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals and maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.