June 1, 2016
Chapter 6 (Tony Awards):
Few people can describe the positives and negatives of the Tony Awards which close more shows than they help. This year, because of Hamilton’s excellence, many shows will lose a lot of money paying for their participation in the Tony Award telecast. However, when a hit show has no available seats, tourists go to other shows – so this may save a few. Comedian/writer Steve Martin said it best this year: “We have lines around the block at our musical Bright Star because the Hamilton line runs right in front of our theatre. We should remember that the Tony Awards is not a competition. It’s a fight to the death.”
By July 4th each year, at least half a dozen shows will have shuttered solely because they won no important Tony Awards and they used up their contingency funds paying for the large production costs of CBS-TV’s low-rated show. Two big musicals are closing before the Tonys: American Psycho and Tuck Everlasting never caught on with audiences and never got the boost that an award nomination might have provided.
The only Tony Award mystery this year is whether Hamilton will break all records. Hello Dolly was nominated in 1964 for 11 Tonys and won 10 (when there were Best Conductor/Musical Director and Best Producer categories). A Chorus Line (40 years ago) was nominated for 12 and won 9 Tonys, and The Producers (15 years ago) was nominated for 15 and won 12 Tonys. Hamilton has a record 16 nominations.
Because Hamilton won many Off-Broadway awards last year (some awards consider both Broadway and Off-Broadway shows together making the Broadway upgraded version ineligible), other musicals can claim the Best Musical prize in 2016 as well. So far Waitress and Bright Star have both won at least once. But nothing has the power of winning Best Play and Best Musical at the Tonys.
The Tony Awards are on June 12, 2016 returning to the smaller Beacon Theatre with fewer than half the number of seats of Radio City Music Hall which it has called home for a number of years. This means many angry “minor” producers who want to invite family members, and many angry fans who can’t even buy a ticket. CBS-TV and the American Theatre Wing who run the Tonys are charging $1,750 per ticket to see the free television broadcast in person. Even the nominees must pay for their seats.