When they're handing out statuettes at the Tony Awards on June 12, a South Floridian will be one of the recipients.
Miami Beach's Miles Wilkin will be honored with a 2016 Special Tony Award for his work with Broadway Across America, a touring company for musicals and plays in North America, including bringing the Great White Way to both Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
"Our take was that audiences and communities in North America, particularly in middle America, should have the same access to first class Broadway theater as New York, L.A. and Chicago," Wilkin explains.
The 70th annual Tony Awards will be broadcast on Sunday, June 12, from the Beacon Theatre in New York City on CBS starting at 8 p.m. The host this year is James Corden, and scheduled appearances include Barbra Streisand, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Martin, Cate Blanchett, Nathan Lane and Carole King.
Here's a little more about Wilkin.
He already has six Tony Awards as a producer:
Wilkin was part of the producing teams behind "Spamalot," "Hairspray," "The Producers," "Fiddler on the Roof," "Gypsy" and "Jerome Robbins' Broadway." He has produced or co-produced 300 shows.
Why he thinks he's being honored:
"First of all, I was very surprised and overjoyed in getting it at all. Hopefully it's a recognition - you know it's often said in the Broadway community in New York, they talk about …going on the road – and I think people now associate the road with our organization [and] making [the business of touring] vital and robust. I'm guessing that their reason is the recognition for making that network and building that institution for the last 35 years."
He adds, "And we also thought that Broadway could be as important as the symphony, the opera and ballet and things like the NBA or other sport franchises, etcetera. It was our job…to do so on a season ticket basis, to make them as essential as other art forms in these communities. There was a void to create something and we went about doing it."
On the special South Florida market:
"Anytime you have three major performing arts centers in less than a 90-mile radius…that creates a vibrancy that few areas in the country can point to. I think that's really exceptional."
He's always been in the business of show business:
Wilkin grew up in central Florida and attended the University of Florida, graduating with a degree in business administration in 1971. He worked for the University until 1978.
"I was fortunate during my college experience to be exposed to working in [producing] all kinds of events - whether it was theater, concerts, lectures – large, big events."
After college, he managed venues in New Orleans, Orlando and Gainesville. In the 1980s, he was with the company that is now called Live Nation before getting bitten by the theater bug while working with a theater producer.
Wilkin says, "I became infatuated by theater and I learned the business by asking lots and lots of questions. I've always thought there was something wonderful and fascinating about theater."