What Tony Nominations Can Do For A Show

There’s more Tony nomination talk this year than ever before.


There are more people eligible for Tony nominations than almost ever before.

There are 15 new musicals eligible. There are 6 revivals of musicals. 11 plays and 4 revivals of plays.

Those Tony Nominators haven’t been home for a regular dinner time in months. (Being a Nominator feels like one of those jobs we all would want – but I feel for them. Seasons like this can’t be easy on their lives. And having to binge-watch all these shows in April has got to zap some of the joy out of seeing theater. So to the Nominators: thank you for your service!)

But what do Nominations do for a show?

Tony Nominations are a Good Housekeeping seal of approval for a show. It’s a stamp from our version of “The Academy” that says, “Bam! This is one of the best of the best of the best of the best.” And to quote the Sally Field cliche, “it is an honor to be nominated.”

But do Nominations move the business needle?

They certainly can.

First, when you’re nominated for one of the big ones, Best Musical or Best Play, you get put on a list within a list.

Let me explain.

I believe that every theatergoer keeps a list of shows they want to see in their head.

Nominations are their own list. And many theatergoers will want to check off each show to make sure they’ve seen the best of the best. They want to see what the industry is celebrating. They want to participate in conversations about the nominees. They want to enter Tony pools!

So get a nomination for a big one and your business will go up . . . but maybe not visibly.

Second, a nomination can help your visibility from a B2B perspective. Tony-nominated shows are more likely to get tours, get licensing deals and be produced around the world. Same with performers, designers, directors and any creative. The words “Tony Nominee” help secure more gigs going forward.

Third . . . and the way that Tony Nominations can help a show at the box office is this . . .

It’s not about the specific nomination a show may get . . . but the number of nominations a show gets.

More is better. Not just because it makes a theatergoer say, “Wow – there must be a lot of excellence in that production.”

But because . . . and here’s the sleeper secret to getting a boost at the box office from Tony nominations . . . it’s because of the press shows with a lot of nominations get.

The Tony Awards are a global event. And when the nominations are announced, they get a massive amount of media coverage.

And the shows that get the most? Well, they don’t just get mentioned in the article. They get the headlines.

Like this real example from last year:

“Tony Award Nominations 2023: ‘Some Like It Hot’ Dominates, Followed by ‘& Juliet,’ ‘Shucked,’ ‘New York, New York’”

And when your title appears in a headline in multiple major publications all over the world, your box office goes up. (Doesn’t mean it’ll stay up – that depends on word-of-mouth AFTER the folks that read the headlines come – but it’ll get a steroid shot for sure.)

Here’s one of my favorite case studies of this trend from years ago – the year that Gentleman’s Guide and Beautiful duked it out. Click here to see how both of these shows (that hadn’t yet found their groove), got a bump on Nomination Day and never looked back.

Nominations matter. Which is why there is so much chatter every year . . . and this year more than ever.

Tune in to the nominations on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. And see what captures the headlines later that day.

Related Posts


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.