Theatre Thursdays: Tony Time!

Tony Award

Yes, once again it’s that most exciting season for Broadway fans: Tony Time! Nominations have just been announced, kicking off speculation and debate among thespians everywhere pulling for their favorite shows/performers/creators and lamenting the inevitable snub of those who didn’t make it onto the ballot.

You can check the nominees (and pick your favorites) here on the New York Times’ site. I’ve gotta say, I’m a bit surprised by the nominations for Best Musical. For one, there’s not a single original musical to be found in the group: Bring it On, Kinky Boots and A Christmas Story are based on movies and Matilda is based on a book. While I have no problem with musical adaptations of existing works (Wicked, The Secret Garden, and Billy Elliot are firmly in my top ten favorite musicals) I do believe that original musicals need the publicity boost that comes from a Tony nomination more than a musical with built-in name recognition does, and let’s be honest: these awards are a business. I enjoy the event and am glad when my favorites win, but I honestly don’t believe that these awards honor excellence so much as they honor marketability.

That, however, is another reason I’m a bit surprised by the nominations: two of the nominated musicals (Bring it On and A Christmas Story) were limited run events which have already ended and won’t be boosted by this PR, at least not as readily as the currently running shows. Bring it On is supposed to go back out on the road again and A Christmas Story is likely to return as a seasonal event like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but neither of those are happening right now and would probably sell very well with or without the nomination.

Do I sound too jaded? I’m a little jaded. Let’s throw it over to The Onion for their much more lighthearted, if still critical, article on Tony noms. As for me, I’ll do what I always do: watch the broadcast for the musical performances and take the actual awards with a grain of salt. Congratulations to all nominees and to fellow fans, remember: the award (or lack thereof) doesn’t prove or disprove the quality of the show/performer/creator, so try not to take it too hard if your favorite doesn’t win.