Looks like someone wasn’t invited to the Lortel Awards.

Lortel Awards Off BroadwayAwards season is upon us!  And Off Broadway’s honors, The Lucille Lortel Awards, fashionably early as always, announced their nominations last week.

But someone . . . or something . . . got snubbed.

Sort of.

Of all the shows nominated for one of the big prizes (Play/Musical)?  Only one . . . uno . . . was a commercial, for-profit, production.

The rest of the nominees were all produced by non-profit productions.

Don’t believe me?  Click here to see the list.

(The one commercial production that did snag a nom was the British Import C*CK, which, ironically, started at a NP in the UK.)

Overall, a total of four commercial productions received noms in one category or another.

What does this mean?  Were for-profit productions snubbed?

Sort of.

Certainly there were other for-profit Off Broadway productions out there, but the cold hard fact of the matter is that the number of them (especially plays) is now so inconsequential that they can’t even get be a part of the awards conversation.

In fact, of the 102 Lortel eligible shows, only 15 were commercial productions.  15!  (Thanks to the Off Broadway League for this sobering yet accurate statistics.)

It’s not the Lortels fault.

But it’s all of our problem.

Off Broadway has become a land of non-profit productions.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Unless you’re a producer looking to produce a show Off Broadway.  Or a playwright that can’t get their play read by a NP reader.  Or an actor looking for a job that could last six months or more.

Commercial Off Broadway Producers need incentives to produce there . . . from the government, from the theater owners, from the unions, from the ad agencies, and more.

Without help, next year’s Lortels will be an exclusive NP party without a for-profit production in sight.


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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.