Exceptionally desirable American Theater Wing Antoinette Perry Award, commonly known as the ‘Tony,’ the medal measuring 2.75? in diameter and held in its original 8.25″ tall stand, engraved on the reverse, “The League of New York Theatres and Producers, Inc. Presents to Virginia Capers, Actress—Musical Star, ‘Raisin,’ For Distinguished Achievement in Theatre, 1974.” The front of the medal features the traditional symbolic dramatic masks raised in relief, encircled with the text, “Antoinette Perry Award.” The black base measures 3.75 x 3.75 and bears an affixed plaque engraved, “American Theatre Wing Tony Award.” Some scattered tarnishing, otherwise fine condition. Accompanied by four unsigned photos of Capers.
Virginia Capers (1925–2004) was an accomplished African-American actress who studied voice at Julliard and made her Broadway debut in 1957. In Raisin, the musical theatre adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, Capers captivated audiences as Mama Lena Younger in the lead role and earned this esteemed Tony Award for her efforts. On the whole, the production was widely acclaimed and received a total of nine Tony nominations, also winning for Best Musical. While Dihann Carroll and Leslie Uggams had received Tonys prior to Capers, they were not the sole recipients in those years; in 1962, both Carroll and Anna Maria Alberghetti won in the same category, and in 1968 Uggams won along with Patricia Routledge. Capers was the first African-American woman to be the sole recipient of this distinguished award. Considering the musical’s relevant subject matter in an era when civil rights remained at the forefront of domestic politics, this highly desirable award holds a special place in both Broadway and American history.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.