The Playgoer: Tony Preview

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Tony Preview

Riedel has the backstage gossip leading up to Tuesday's nomination decision. Will they find a way to slip in Julia somehow? What are the odds the disastrous Tarzan and Lestat might actually be nominated for consideration as "Best Musical"? Read it and weep.

In another amusing sign, monologist Sarah Jones is already guaranteed a Special Tony since the committee could come up with no other candidates for "Special Theatrical Event". The category has already had a spotty, albeit short, history. As today's Times article unintentionally slips in its neglect of capitalized letters, "There were no eligible special theatrical events in the 2003-4 season, and, as was the case this season, no award was given." Indeed.

Spare your tears, though. Nice for Sarah Jones, sure, whose Bridge and Tunnel, of course, started downtown at the Culture Project, so she's in effect being honored for finding a producer who could amass the capital to move her. Otherwise the "Special" Tony has served to give yet more hype to the likes of Billy Crystal. (But harder to begrudge Def Poetry Jam, I admit.) ...When you consider, though, that the category is officially there to honor "a live theatrical production that is not a play or a musical," just think how many Broadway shows that describes!

I'd nominate Tarzan or Lestat. But then again there's that "Live" word.

Neither of today's articles breathes a word of Best Play. Except that Riedel already confirms that History Boys will win, end of story.

Lastly, it's worth our remembering now, before the nominations are announced, why there will never be "reform" of the Tonys. As long as its main sponsor is the League of American Theaters and Producers these "awards" will remain a veritable trade show for the Broadway industry. To these folks, no nomination is a bad nomination and what's good for Broadway is good for the American theatre.

However, the League's partner in this venture is the nonprofit American Theatre Wing, who founded the awards six decades ago. With a mission statement of "supporting excellence and education in theatre" we can only hope they realize how much has changed since they hatched their little Antoinette Perry Memorial banquet six decades ago, at the outset of Broadway's Golden Age. Those first winners in '46, by the way, included the Miller-Kazan All My Sons, Finian's Rainbow, Jose Ferrer's Cyrano, Kurt Weill for Street Scene, and Ingrid Bergman's Joan of Arc. Talk about Special Theatrical Events.

Yes, the "Wing" still does some more honorable educational outreach work. But I say the Tonys should now call their nonprofit status into question. It certainly no longer counts as any kind of "public service."

More: Playbill has more extensive summation of the Tony Committee's recent rulings. Apparently they've come to their senses to acknowledge the decade-old Three Days of Rain as a revival, even though it never played on Broadway. Then again, that might have been the only chance for Best Play to go to an American!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think this opinion (by a quite well known London new writing director) sheds an interesting light on the recent debate about Isherwood and conservatism..