The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are named after Antoinette Perry, co-founder of the American Theatre Wing. The awards are given for Broadway productions and performances, and an award is given for regional theatre. Several discretionary non-competitive awards are also given, including a Special Tony Award, the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre, and the Isabelle Stevenson Award.
The first awards ceremony was held on April 6, 1947, at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. The first prizes were “a scroll, cigarette lighter and articles of jewelry such as 14-carat gold compacts and bracelets for the women, and money clips for the men.” It was not until the third awards ceremony in 1949 that the first Tony medallion was given to award winners.
As of 2011 there are presently 26 categories of awards, plus several special awards. Starting with 11 awards in 1947, the names and number of categories have changed over the years; a complete history of each award category was published in 2005.