The Fairy Princess had a Broadway day the other day- dinner and a show. Magical, yes?
Actually, yes it was – she went to see IF/THEN and if one was looking for any indication of PTTS (Post Traumatic TONY Syndrome), you could not find it at this viewing. The audience gave standing ovations to the entire company, and no, jaded theater critics, the house was not full of 14 year old fans of FROZEN, it was an adult audience.
Because it’s written for adults. Adults who used to worry about rent, but who now worry about a lot more…like being alone.
Maybe the kids went to the matinee? Who cares? Let’s let it go.
When you see jaded New Yorkers overcome by a show, and hear them ‘ugly cry’ during some dramatic scenes in Act 2, and then seen what looked to be over 100 people waiting at the stage door for the leads, it makes it hard to walk away not feeling confused, given what happened this past awards show.
Though Hugh Jackman was ‘hopping’ as a host, and The Fairy Princess liked all the musical numbers coming where they did,
there seemed to be underlying tension throughout. If one did not follow the show on Twitter, one may not have known that there were some very cool things going on – people winning awards for the first time,
or for the second, or third because you were not seeing it on the small screen. There were oddly made decisions as to who warranted small screen time that made the show at times seem, well… petty.
Not to mention odd choices for ‘entertainment’
Meredith Wilson garnering accolades for being a rap composer, when they refused to televise the composer who won for a musical that was actually on Broadway this season was a time suck that The Fairy Princess could have done without.
Yes, BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY closed, we all knew that – but why wouldn’t BEST ORIGINAL SCORE or BEST ORCHESTRATION be televised? Aren’t BEST ORIGINAL SCORE and BEST ORCHESTRATION the cornerstones of Musical Theater?
Who can do a musical without scores or orchestrations?
Plus, Jason Robert Brown gave good speech:
While JRB was ‘shouting out’ to women and acknowledging the relatively small number of women on Broadway in all the different aspects, The Fairy Princess would like to ‘shout out’ to him, that she appreciates that in what must have been a very bittersweet moment – accepting individual awards when your show has already closed – he took time to speak on the issue of representation and diversity.
That was classy.
However, having viewed JRB’s speech, and now seen IF/THEN, The Fairy Princess is truly wondering why some potential nominees were all but shut out of the process?
Mathematically, yes, it is explainable – there are 50 members on the Nominating Committee.
They have to see everything and then, of course, they vote. Their votes are tallied and then get turned over to the general TONY voting population of just under 900 people. Those under 900 vote by another secret ballot, which is how we get our winners.
They have, the Nominating Committee, certain instructions in the category of Best Show:
1. Where there are are 9 or more potential nominees, the NC must vote for 4 shows, and the 4 shows with the most votes are automatically in the BEST SHOW category.
2. If there are 5 or FEWER shows in the category, the NC must vote for 3 shows, and nominations are awarded accordingly.
Now HOW and WHO decides if there should be a FIFTH nomination? Or a FOURTH nomination in a year with less choices?
An Accounting firm.
The Accounting Firm that counts the secret ballots is the one who gets to decide – and there must be a difference of only 3 votes from the lowest ranking of the nominees.
It is not an Artistic Decision, which seems odd given that these awards are given to and given by Artistic People.
The Fairy Princess is not disagreeing with any of the Nominations, but what she is disagreeing with is that there is no ability for the Nominating Committee – not to take away, but to add, or for them to debate the use of that 5th spot.
Perhaps it is adding an additional level that the TONYS does not want to be bothered with, but in a season packed to the gills with talented people in excellent musicals – and with the amount of money a show brings to the New York economy, why could not there be an addendum vote?
Isn’t there room for an Executive Decision – not as to what show to put IN that last spot, but an Executive Decision to say yes, that last one should be used let’s keep our top four, and let’s vote again for the last one?
There was an additional spot open in the BEST MUSICAL category, and if only for the good of the New York Economy (and yes, there are plenty of other reasons), it should be filled if at all possible.
A BEST MUSICAL nomination can keep the doors open and keep people employed – and not just “people who need people‘ – there are dozens of people who make every Broadway show work every night from the ticket takers to the Teamsters, who, when they are working, are adding to the general prosperity of the theater district as well as pulling in a paycheck themselves. Broadway and it’s denizens contributed $11.9 BILLION to the New York economy and 87,000 jobs.
A TONY Nomination all but screams “IF YOU LOVE THEATER BUY A TICKET”.
Every day someone walks up to a ticket window who has never been to a Broadway show, and they buy their first ticket, and what usually makes them ‘jump’ to do so is the number of TONY Nominations or Wins a show has. Likewise when the show goes on an AEA Tour, the amount of Nominations or Awards helps with the pre-sale. Which one could argue, might have an impact in keeping shows on AEA Contracts? Worth a thought.
We of the theater should be invested in that theatergoer, because it is a cyclical thing – they have to love us to keep coming back. Giving them, as Sondheim once wrote “More to see….“, is a better business plan. Strict adherence to numbers – in short, strict counting of 50 votes, is limiting their ability to ‘fall in love’ with a new show.
The Tony Nominating Committee did their jobs, they voted – the numbers just did not add up, and now, shows are closing. Shows have closed.
Maybe a nomination would have made a difference to a particular shows fate? It is worth thinking about.
The Fairy Princess loved, loved, loved A GENTLEMEN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER, and she was thrilled when it won BEST MUSICAL, but she also would have been thrilled to have seen the fifth spot used.
The choice to not revisit if the fifth spot should be used left Broadway with Casts feeling, oh HOW did Julie Andrews put it?
The Fairy Princess knows that ‘rules are rules’ and they are drafted for a reason, but this year was a very odd year, a very odd year, and she did not want to let it go by without remarking upon it.
It was damn passing strange. (Some people will get that joke)
In short, if Broadway is worth $11.9 Billion Dollars, but the Accountants do not ‘get’ that it is worth it to consider a fifth nomination….well, the idea of that makes The Fairy Princess as jumpy as a puppet on a string – and she knows from puppets.
They may be great at counting, but they seem not to see ‘value’, and in the musical theater, we like things…how shall I say, on an angle?
The Fairy Princess LOVES The Tony Awards – this is not a crack at the Awards themselves, but the process seemed…well anyway, NEXT year…she wants it BIGGER….apologies to Hugh….