And the nominees for this award which is sponsored by . . .

The Olivier Awards (London’s Tonys) announced their nominations last week.

If you didn’t catch them, click here to see the complete list.

And then let me know if you noticed anything . . . ummmmm . . . interesting.

A quick click on the Olivier Awards site will give you a giant clue.  They got a sponser.  And a huuuuge one, in Mastercard.

The Tonys have sponsors too, of course . . . like IBM, and Audemars Piguet, and even The Old Gray Lady, the NY Times .  . . but those sponsors stop at signage, speakers at the awards, and so on.

But Mastercard and the Olivier’s took their sponsorship one step further.

Take a look at that list of nominees once again.  Specificially the Best New Play Award.

Which is not the Best New Play Award.

It’s the Mastercard Best New Play Award.

Yep, MC got naming rights.  On an award.  An award that’s also named after Sir Laurence Olivier.  (throat clear)

It’s a big move, that obviously adds a lot of commercialization especially to something so prestigious and especially to something so British.  I mean, let’s face it, it seems like something Americans would do.  No?

So, I gotta assume that this big move came with a big check.  Or, the Oliviers really, really needed the cash.

And I gotta hope that we are never in the same situation.  Because the American Express Tony Award for Best Musical just doesn’t make me want to win one as much.  You?


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.