UPDATE: Do Tony Nominators & Voters Forget The Fall? Part I

Back in 2009, just a few months after the world got rocked by the financial markets, Broadway was rocked by an unusual set of Tony nominations.

There were a number of significant shows that had opened in the fall of that season, and several of them were missing from the list.

At first, it just looked like a one-off aberration, but it got me thinking.  Is a Broadway show more likely to get a nomination . . . and a win . . . if it opens in the spring versus the fall?

With that question in the back of my mind, we did some digging.  And, well, we proved that the answer was an undeniable yes, which I wrote about here.

It has been seven years since I released that report . . . and, well, statistics are like the clothes in your closet.  They gotta be updated every so often if you wanna stay current.

So, back we went into the annals of Tony nomination and winner history to determine if shows that opened in the spring (and the lead performers in those shows) had an advantage solely because of the time of the show’s opening.

And, we compared our results from 2009-2015 digging to the results from the original blog.

Here we go . . .

Nominations first . . .

Best Musical
  • 64% of the nominees from 1989-2008 opened in the spring
  • 68% of the nominees from 2009-2015 opened in the spring
Best Musical Revival
  • 60% of the nominees from 1994-2008 opened in the spring
  • 67% of the nominees from 2009-2016 opened in the spring
Best Play
  • 72% of the nominees from 1989-2008 opened in the spring
  • 79% of the nominees from 2009-2015 opened in the spring
Best Play Revival
  • 68% of the nominees from 1994-2008 opened in the spring
  • 64% of the nominees from 2009-2016 opened in the spring
Best Actor/Actress in a Musical
  • 60% of the nominees from 1989-2008 were from spring shows
  • 68% of the nominees from 2009-2015 were from spring shows
Best Actor/Actress in a Play
  • 71% of the nominees from 1989-2008 were from spring shows
  • 78% of the nominees from 2009-2015 were from spring shows

Need a second to go back?  Go ahead.  Take your time.  But however much time you take, the answer is still the shocking same.  Not only are shows that open in the spring still more likely to get nominations for Tony Awards in all categories, the % advantage has increased since we last looked at the data in every category but best play revival!  I mean look at that Best Play number!  Almost 80%!

Ok, let’s go to the winners.  What do you think?  Same results?  Place your bets, because here we go . . .

 Tony for Best Musical
  • 65% of the winners from 1989-2008 opened in the spring
  • 57% of the winners from 2009-2015 opened in the spring
Tony for Best Musical Revival
  • 67% of the winners from 1994-2008 opened in the spring
  • 100% of the winners from 2009-2015 opened in the spring
Tony for Best Play
  • 60% of the winners from 1989-2008 opened in the spring
  • 86% of the winners from 2009-2015 opened in the spring
Tony for Best Play Revival
  • 87% of the winners from 1994-2008 opened in the spring
  • 86% of the winners from 2009-2015 opened in the spring
Best Actor/Actress in a Musical
  • 63% of the winners from 1989-2008 were from spring shows
  • 86% of the winners from 2009-2015 were from spring shows
Best Actor/Actress in a Play
  • 75% of the winners from 1989-2008 were from spring shows
  • 79% of the winners from 2009-2015 were from spring shows

I mean, do we have a trend or what?

First, yes, if you want to win a Tony, then you’re still better off opening in the spring.

Second, yes, except for Best Play revival, which remained flat, and Best Musical, which dropped, your chances of winning have increased if your show opens in the spring since we last looked at the data.  And look at these numbers.

100% of the winners of Best Musical Revival were spring shows.  100%!!!  86% of Actor/Actress in a Musical were from spring shows.  These aren’t small advantages.  These are pretty major.

Now, a couple of data disclaimers.  Yes, the period of time we’re microscoping now is a shorter period than we looked at last time, so you could argue we’re just in a spring state of mind.  But I don’t think so, and we’ll get to why I don’t think so soon enough.

And you might also say that more shows open in the spring, so of course it is more likely that more spring shows will be nominated and more spring shows will win.  And you’d be slightly right.  The fact is that in the first period we studied, 49% of Broadway shows opened in the spring and 51% opened in the fall.  In the latter period, 56% of shows opened in the spring and 44% opened in the fall.  But it’s not nearly enough of a difference to explain why 80% of winners are spring shows.

So, the conclusion of the blog is that not only are shows that open in the fall at a disadvantage . . . it’s getting worse.

Why?  And what can we do about it?

That’s for tomorrow’s blog.  (Click here to read Part II now.)

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

– – – – –

FUN STUFF:

– Get everything you need to help get your show off the ground when you join TheProducersPerspectivePro for free.  Join the club today.

– Listen to Podcast Episode #67 with the Executive Director of Samuel French, Bruce Lazarus!  Click here.

– Submit your play to the 4th Annual Davenport Theatrical 10 Minute Play Contest by Friday, April 15th for the chance to win $500!  Click here.

Keep your show organized with the Theatermaker's fool-proof management system

Improve your success rate for getting produced with daily strategy tips.

Send me the system

Related Posts

Podcasting

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.

LEARN MORE