Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Tony Awards - one more thing...

Yesterday, I gave my take on Sunday night's Tony Awards.

I didn't really mince words and basically blamed the craptastic telecast on the fact that this year's Broadway season was chock full of out-of-work Hollywood Elite that couldn't give a rats ass about Broadway - or the actors that work tirelessly but are pushed out in order to get a certain "A-List" name on the Marquee.

There is also a cyclical problem that I see being sparked by the fact that stage critics and journalists were stripped of their Tony voting rights this year, which made for some incredibly jaded critics. Where you have jaded critics, you have terrible reviews. Where you have terrible reviews, you have empty seats (and an overwhelming need for an "A-List" name on the Marquee). Not to mention the fact the absence of objective input in the voting process.

Interestingly enough, I just discovered a little piece by Patrick Healy that ran in the New York Times yesterday. Healy says in part:
Broadway once had many homegrown stars who committed to working on a show for a year, as Nathan Lane has for the The Addams Family. This year, some theater heavyweights like Mr. Lane were not even nominated; instead, several Tony Awards were given for productions that were always intended to be short-timers on Broadway, given that many of their film-star performers had to move on to other commitments.

This has happened in past years, of course. The Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush left Broadway a week after winning the 2009 best actor Tony for the play
Exit the King. But the number of 2010 Tony winners going on to other projects quickly is especially high this time around.

The CBS telecast of the Tonys leaned heavily on celebrity appearances; the ratings were modest, however, with an average of just over 7 million viewers, compared to 7.4 million last year.

“You could read the outcome of the Tonys this year as indicating that some shows have become Tony Awards smash-and-grab productions, where they come in for 12 or 16 weeks, get eligible for a Tony, win it and leave,” said Ken Davenport, a theater producer who writes a blog, the Producer’s Perspective, about Broadway.

“You start to wonder,” he said, “when that will bleed over to theater mainstays like Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth in
Addams Family, or John Gallagher Jr. in American Idiot,’ who might say, ‘Wait a minute, I’m doing long runs of shows and not getting nominated but these other folks are only doing 14 weeks and winning?’"
Healy even goes on to discuss the ramifications of critics having their voting rights stripped:
What concerned [Adam Feldman, the president of the New York Drama Critics’ Circle] more, he said, was the decision by Tony administrators to exclude about 100 theater critics and journalists from voting on the awards this year because of concerns about conflicts of interest, since critics openly state their views on shows and Tony voters are supposed to keep their views private. This year, there 769 eligible voters, most of whom were theater professionals, including producers, directors, designers and touring company presenters.

Echoing some producers, Mr. Feldman said that a couple of Tony races might have turned out differently if the 100 critics and journalists had been allowed to vote — like the best musical contest between the leading contenders,
Fela! (a critical favorite) and Memphis (the winner), and perhaps the best play duel between the winner Red, a British import, and Next Fall, a transfer from Off Broadway. Next season, members of Mr. Feldman’s drama critics’ group will be allowed to vote — as many as 25 people, he expected.
So, I'm not crazy after all. Good to know.

1 comment:

Susan Eichhorn-Young said...

no you are NOT crazy. I AGREE COMPLETELY! Thanks!

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