How often do the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Winners predict the Tony Award winners?
When you have a set of awards that precede a bigger set of awards, people start asking . . . “Does the winner of the first mean that they are a shoe-in for the second?”
The Oscars have The Golden Globes.
And The Tonys have The Drama Desks. And the Outer Critics.
Now that both of those trophies have been given out, I couldn’t help but wonder, how often do the winners of those awards go on to win the Tony Award???
In other words, I’m handicapping this race like this Saturday’s Belmont Stakes!
To figure out the odds, I looked back at the winners for the past 15 years of The Big Four Awards: Best Musical, Best Play, Best Revival of a Play, and Best Revival of a Musical.
Here’s what I found out:
- 66.7% of the Drama Desk Award Winners for Best Musical also went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical.
- 80% of the Outer Critics Circle Award Winners for Best Musical also went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical.
- 80% of the Drama Desk Winners for Best Play also went on to win the Tony Award for Best Play.
- 86.7% of the Outer Critics Circle Award Winners for Best Play also went on to win the Tony Award for Best Play.
So, a big couple of trends are already showing up just by looking at these two categories.
First, in the grand scheme of things, winners of both awards do go on to win The Tony the majority of the time, so it does give you an odds-edge to take home one of these awards.
More specifically, both the Drama Desk Awards and The Outer Critics Awards are better predictors of the Play category than the Musical Category.
And, surprise, surprise, the Outer Critics Award is a better predictor of the Best Musical Tony Award by a significant margin.
Let’s take a look at the revival categories:
BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
- 80% of the Drama Desk Winners for Best Revival of a Musical also went on to win the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.
- 73.3% of the Outer Critics Circle Award Winners for Best Revival of a Musical also went on to win the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.
BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
- 80% of the Drama Desk Winners for Best Revival of a Play also went on to win the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.
- 53.3% of the Outer Critics Circle Award Winners for Best Revival of a Play also went on to win the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.
First off, same thing as the originals . . . the winners in these categories do go on to take home the big prize on Tony night more often than not.
But, in the case of the revivals, the Drama Desks are the much better predictors of both the Musical and the Play category.
Now, sure, all three sets of awards are not identical – the DDs merge Off Broadway and Broadway shows together, shows that were eligible Off Broadway last year and then transfer to Broadway the next year, can’t be eligible again, but those differences don’t actually matter . . . because we’re just calculating how many times one winner goes on to win the other, with all those idiocracies intact.
What does this mean for this year’s awards?
Well, obviously the above gives you an indication of which shows are favorites for the Tony . . . but there is one other stat that applies specifically to this year’s awards. And it’s a doozy!
See, this year, the same show won the Drama Desk Award for Best Musical and the Outer Critics Award for Best Musical (Gentleman’s Guide). And the same show won the Drama Desk Award for Best Play and the Outer Critics Award for Best Play (All The Way).
So I couldn’t help but wonder . . . how many times has that happened, and how often does the same show go on to win the Tony? Does a two-time winner before the Tonys indicate a high probability for the Broadway Triple Crown?
First, let’s look at the Best Musical award.
Well, it turns out that in the last 15 years, the same musical has won the DD and the OC Best Musical prize 10 times. That’s a lot.
But get this, of those ten, 9 of them or 90% went on to win the Tony. (If that doesn’t make the Producers of Gentleman’s Guide prep their speech, I don’t know what will.)
But wait, there’s more.
In the last 15 years, the same play has won both awards a whopping 12 times! And, of those 12, all of them, or a perfect 100% have gone on to win the Tony Award. 100%. That’s a pretty startling stat.
Interestingly enough, the revivals aren’t as on target:
84.6% of the Revival Musicals that won both awards went on to win the Tony.
72.7% of the Revival Plays that won both awards went on to win the Tony.
Why does this happen? Is it because the Tony Voters think the same shows are actually the best of the season? Or, is it because the Tony Voters are influenced by the announcements of the previous awards winners? Should these shows be winning just because they won before?
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions (and feel free to comment them!), and feel free to use these statistics as you make your Tony picks (have you entered my Tony pool yet?).
But do remember, that even though these stats certainly can’t be ignored, a 15 year sample size isn’t the biggest on the planet of statistics, and . . . a trend is only a trend until it isn’t.
Tune in to The Tonys this Sunday to find out if the trends will hold. Because I’m not so sure.
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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.