The Post Tony Fallout: 2 Less Awards and a Few More Trophies

Post Tony Fallout used to mean which shows would close after the Producers did their analyses of their Monday sales, with many praying for bumps from the telecast before, or a ton of awards they could trumpet in the press.

And now, it also includes the new rulings established by the Tony Administration Committee for the next year’s awards.

The Committee wastes no time in making changes these days, often making the announcements while the acceptance speeches are still ringing in our ears (this year’s came yesterday, three days after the ceremony), and I gotta say, I love how fast they operate.  They take into account what happened last year, and they switch it up to try to make it better.  That’s great producing, actually.  See what’s working.  See what isn’t.  Change what isn’t until it is.

I haven’t always agreed with them (I still miss the Special Theatrical Event Tony), but I love their desire to shake things up, even when they know it might upset a ton of people.

And this year’s announcement did just that.

First, it was decided that “Authors of plays and musicals that have not been previously produced on Broadway, but at the committee’s determination are part of the popular repertoire, will be included in the Best Revival of a Play/Musical categories along with their producers.”  That means, John Cameron Mitchell and his Composer, Stephen Trask, would have gotten Tonys this year, along with their Producer, David Binder (way to go, David!).

Second, it was decided that for a trial period of one year, the ban on the types of promo material sent to voters would be lifted.  So instead of being kept to just scripts, souvenir books, reviews and recordings, Producers can now send umbrellas, foodstuffs, and circus performers to voters if they think it would help.  Curious to see what arrives in my mailbox next year!

And lastly, and here comes the one that was tough for a lot of people to hear (pun intended – you’ll get it in a second).  Even though these two awards are only seven years old,  the Committee eliminated the Sound Design Tony Awards for both Best Play and Best Musical.

There was an asterisk next to that ruling, however, that said the Committee “holds the right to determine a special Tony award for certain productions that have excelled in this particular design realm.”  So, there could be one if they deemed a design worthy.  Of course, years ago they also said there could be a Special Theatrical Event Tony in a year they thought it was deserved.  But there hasn’t been one . . . so, there’s that.

I was a bit shocked by the announcement, because as sound becomes so much more driven by technology, the Designer becomes so much more important.

So what drove the decision?

Maybe it was that the Committee saw it as more technical?  But what about lighting?  Surely that’s more driven by technology these days too?

Was it to just reduce the number of awards with the hopes of giving everyone air time next year?

Honestly, I think it was neither.

I think the decision was made based on the sheer number of designers out there doing this kind of work.

While we’ve only had a designer win twice, there have been several designers that have received four nominations each, out of only seven years.  I think the fear was that the trophies would seem to be just traded back and forth between a small group of folks.

Whatever the decision was, there are a lot of folks sounding off (pun intended again) about the issue.

So what do you think?  Should the Sound Designers have their own Tony?  Should they not?

Tell me what you think in the comments below.

And if you agree with the Sound Designers, click here to sign their petition to bring it back.


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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.