During an unforgettable night at New York’s famed Winter Garden Theater, TC alumna Katie Kresek (M.E. '05, Ed.D. '18, Music and Music Education) won her first Tony Award for Best Orchestrations alongside her colleagues for their work on Moulin Rouge! The Musical.

“I'm thrilled, to be honest,” says Kresek, a show-biz regular and violinist for whom Moulin Rouge! is her first orchestration credit. “This is a category that has gone mostly to men historically, so it means a great deal to be the first American woman to win it, and to be the second woman to win in the category overall. I believe I'm also only the fourth woman ever nominated, and so I hope that we're moving towards a Broadway that routinely employs and also encourages women in this area.“

Kresek won the award alongside colleagues Charlie Rosen, Matt Stine and Justin Levine. The honor, which Kresek met with elation and surprise considering the “incredible company” of fellow nominees who do “extraordinary work,” was presented by pop-icon turned Broadway giant Cyndi Lauper.

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Katie Kresek (M.E. '05, Ed.D. '18, Music and Music Education) and colleagues Charlie Rosen, Matt Stine and Justin Levine won the Tony Award for Best Orchestrations for "Moulin Rouge! The Musical." (Photo courtesy of Getty Images).

“She's been a pop heroine of mine since I was 8 years old, when I purchased her album and played it until I probably wore it out,” Kresek explained. “In one of my classes at TC, I remember doing a small project on her as one of the people who sparked my love of music, so it was absolutely amazing to get to tell her how much she means to me.”

Kresek’s Tony win follows substitution performances in several Broadway hits, including the original run of Hamilton, The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera. Her artistic career has also included numerous performances with Grammy-winning recording artists like Beyoncé, John Mayer and many others, as well as on television programs such as Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show. At Teachers College, Kresek also teaches ensemble classes in the Music Education department, provides music lessons and recently served as the community liaison for TC’s Teaching Artist Certificate Program.

“It's very important to listen to whatever that instinct is in yourself that wants to run towards something that you desperately love,” Kresek explains when asked about what kind of advice she would give her younger self about pursuing music professionally at the highest levels. “I would also say to make sure to take care of yourself and your needs along the way...I think it's important to surround yourself with people who support you and who value your support of them.”