Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Shortsighted move by the Tonys

So I guess President and Mrs. Obama will have to watch online Sunday evening if they want to find out whether Joe Turner's Come and Gone takes home the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.

That's one of the categories shunted from primetime on CBS to the nontelevised segment of the show. It joins an ever-expanding list, including choreography, costume design, set design and best book of a musical.

And for what? So they can make room for performances from touring productions of Legally Blonde and Jersey Boys?!

Frankly, I think it's shameful and shortsighted for Broadway that plays can't be better represented on the telecast.

The Tonys should be about showcasing what's best on Broadway this season - that includes plays and musicals. It's especially sad this year - when so many of the best-reviewed shows are revivals of plays, including several I'll be seeing over the next few days.

Since my first Broadway show was a play, starring Kevin Spacey, I was thrilled to read this quote in Michael Riedel's New York Post column. You tell 'em, Kevin!

Kevin Spacey, the head of the Old Vic, lead producer of The Norman Conquests, which is up for Best Revival, has this to say:

"This is boneheaded, outrageous, infuriating and insulting not just to everyone who has worked so hard on these productions, but to the entire theater community.

"It is another example of the systematic chipping away, for financial gain, of what the Tonys are supposed to be about.

"Plays make up something like 43 or 44 percent of the box office on Broadway -- and they would make up even more if more people heard about them from the Tony Awards."

According to Riedel, CBS honcho Les Moonves wants the show to be more about singing and dancing. If that's true, couldn't the American Theatre Wing at least have made room for the winner of the Best Choreography prize to accept his or her award onstage in primetime?


Vance said...

I'm all for more musical segments, even if it is from Legally Blonde, but seriously, how long does it take to give out an award? Or why cant they do it with PBS again and split the show into PBS/CBS show like before?

Esther said...

I think maybe that would be a good idea - put the first hour on PBS so that at least everyone could watch it without having to go to their computers for a choppy live streaming webcast. And you're right - how long would it take to include a couple more categories.