American Theatre Wing, an Oral History: 100 Years, 100 Voices, 100 Million Miracles
In 1943, a wounded soldier aided by a cane limped into the Stage Door Canteen, the American Theatre Wing s fabled New York club created to entertain the Allied forces. Two hours later, he was said to have left with a spring in his step and without the cane. This miracle is recounted in the lavish new book, The American Theatre Wing, an Oral History: 100 Years, 100 Voices, 100 Million Miracles. The other 999,999 miracles are more commonplace, if no less remarkable, told by the impassioned artists and theatre advocates who created and sustained this preeminent theatrical organization founded in 1917. While the American Theatre Wing is best known as the founder of the Tony Awards, its mission is also dedicated to preserving the past, celebrating the present, and fostering the future of American theatre by developing educational programs and distributing national grants and awards each year to performers and theatre companies. The organization also recently took under its wing the irreverent OBIE awards, the top honours for off-Broadway that has become a dynamic pipeline for Broadway. This coffee-table book, celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the American Theatre Wing, is a fascinating cornucopia of untold lore and never-before-seen photos as prismatic and unexpected as the theatre itself. The oral history traces the American Theatre Wing as a defender of the country s most romantic ideals through two world wars, presciently establishing an interracial policy at the Stage Door Canteen despite being denounced from the well of the United States Senate. In succeeding decades the ATW has burnished those ideals through its unflagging support of artists from Broadway, Off Broadway, and regional theatre many of whom vividly tell their own stories in the book, including Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, Harold Prince, Neil Patrick Harris, James Corden, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.