Theatre News, Reviews, Commentary
...by Michael Riedel.One source describes this once-lofty minded endeavor as descending into Golden-Globes-wannabee territory.One thing we don't need in theatre is more awards.At least non-monetary awards.
Not sure why we do not need more awards - there just isn't that much community-wide marketing; and if you think awards are anything more than good PR, you may just be setting yourself up for a let down anyway.And why not have the DDs be the theater version of the Globes? Since they invented the 17 performance minimum rule that excludes AEA showcases, I have little reason to care if they over-play their hand.Couldn't this be a chance to make some lemonade? Meaning, maybe they will create a vacum that pulls up the visibility of the NYIT Awards or some other edgy upstart. NYIT on NY1 anyone?And bring on more $$$Awards, always!
My response to this innocuousness -- for which there's a modicum of truth -- at The Clyde Fitch Report (clydefitch.blogspot.com).
It looks as if one of Michael Phillips's complaints could potentially be proved or disproved: his contention that last year's nominating ballot was altered by Barbara Siegel to replace Twist with Mary Poppins. That is, if the Drama Desk group keeps records, they might be able to release the original tally of the nominating committee's vote (with member names redacted), so we could compare it with the final, publicly announced list of Drama Desk nominations. The press agent's remark quoted in Riedel's story, that the Drama Desk awards are "trying to be like the Golden Globes," is trickier to assess, though we might look back over the years, as Leonard Jacobs suggests in his blog post, and see how many Off-Off-Broadway (or even merely Off-Broadway) shows have been nominated. The rest of Phillips's complaints seem like the kind of stew that's nearly impossible to judge.Nor does any of this interest me very much, to descend to the merely personal. Despite having worked, earlier in my life, to establish theater awards in a city that didn't have any, I don't see a lot of sense or value in awards once you reach the point where there are a bunch of them. Especially when, as is almost universally the case, they presume to pick one best drama, leading performance, and the like. (The awards I helped set up commended three choices, not one.)
I don't know how much awards like the Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Lortel, etc. matter to the big commercial shows, but for smaller shows, emerging artists or growing companies, they do give a feeling of credibility. This does mean something, especially when that company is fighting for every ticket sale or donation. The NYIT serves small companies with very small budget shows. There are a lot of companies and shows caught in the middle.
As the creator - for better or worse - of "Twist", do I die laughing or crying? It would have meant so much to have had a Best Musical nom. But honestly - a submissive, gorgeous gay Oliver and a Fagin in Domina Drag? It would have been, shall we say, SURPRISING, especially watching the DD working so hard to go All Broadway All the Time.
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