Born and raised in Denver, Antoinette (Tony) Perry-Frueauff made her mark in the theater as a leading actress and director who opened doors for other women directors. Her place in theatrical history was guaranteed by her reputation as an activist and humanitarian who got things done, often against impossible odds. Broadway’s most distinguished honor for excellence in the theater, the Tony Award (officially the Antoinette Perry Award), was established in 1947 by the American Theatre Wing, which she had co-founded to recognize her lifelong efforts to encourage young talent.Tony chaired the American Theater Wing Council’s Committee on the Apprentice Theatre and supervised auditions for 7,000 young people.
During World War II she formed the American Theater Wing War Service, which held benefits to raise money for the war effort while Stage Door Canteens provided hospitality to homesick servicemen. Tony also coordinated 1,500 auditorium programs and 6,700 hospital ward entertainment units at home and abroad.
Teaming with Brock Pemberton, she produced and directed a great run of Broadway hits, including Harvey, the Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy by Mary Chase that ran for seven years. Salt Works Ranch, the family’s ranch in South Park, is the oldest in Colorado and a historical landmark.