Should CONTACT Have Won The Tony For Best Musical?

Phantom of London
Broadway Legend
joined:3/26/08

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Updated On: 2/12/14 at 01:23 PM
WayTooBroadway
Featured Actor
joined:1/11/10
It already did, and the voters have chosen.
"When the audience comes in, it changes the temperature of what you've written." -Stephen Sondheim
blaxx
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/05
Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
BudFrump23
Broadway Star
joined:5/20/03
Do you mean should "Contact" HAVE won?
I'm as jumpy as a virgin at a prison rodeo!
DottieD'Luscia
Broadway Legend
joined:7/23/03
^Ha - I always wondered how one would spell that!
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Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
Chita says no, so I guess the answer is no.
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Demitri2
Broadway Star
joined:3/25/05
It should have won best musical with no live orchestra.
bobs3
Broadway Legend
joined:4/8/12
James Joyce's The Dead (slow and boring -- it probably would have worked better as a straight play with music rather than a musical)
Swing! (ugh)
The Wild Party (dreadful despite a wonderful performance by Toni Collette)

Aida (not nominated and there was a Disney backlash that year)
Marie Christine (also not nominated with a good performance by Audra McDonald and an interesting although not outstanding score by Michael John LaChiusa)

So yes, CONTACT should have won.
Stevie72
Stand-by
joined:1/19/14
Why are we talking about this this happened in 2000.
Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Yes
Posted: 2/12/14 at 05:37pm
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Yes
Posted: 2/12/14 at 05:54pm
All discussion about whether it's a musical or not, aside (and I admit I have some issue there, although there aren't enough dance/performance pieces on Broadway to really justify their own category) I was cynical about Contact winning. Then I finally saw the PBS taped performance and was mostly blown away. So as much as I love Wild Party, it incredibly polarized people and I think Contact deserved to win.

LaChiusa should have gotten best score though--really for two incredible scores.
Stevie72
Stand-by
joined:1/19/14
Yes
Posted: 2/12/14 at 10:32pm
Aida should have not won best musical
Updated On: 2/13/14 at 10:32 PM
JRybka
Broadway Legend
joined:11/6/06
Yes
Posted: 2/12/14 at 10:40pm
AIDA should have been nominated and won IMHO.
"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around."
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Yes
Posted: 2/12/14 at 10:43pm
"who do people want see do the set costumes etc."

Well said!
Liza's Headband
Broadway Legend
joined:5/28/13
Yes
Posted: 2/12/14 at 10:44pm
It won. It's over.
"I'm fine, and my hips are fine. My false knee is fine. My false hips are fine. Everything's cooking." -Liza
Jane2
Broadway Legend
joined:2/13/04
Yes
Posted: 2/12/14 at 11:59pm
One of the most illiterate threads currently on the board.
<-----craves juicy pizza
ClydeBarrow
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/12
Yes
Posted: 2/13/14 at 12:01am
Liza, we can overturn the decision by starting a discussion on a message board!!!
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david_fick
Swing
joined:7/12/12
No. CONTACT was not a musical, therefore it should not even have been nominated.
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Put it was deemed eligible IN that category, so it is. Just like all the many changes the Tony Awards deems. Their awards, their perogative.

There are detractors every single year that disagree with the nominations AND the awards.

If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
chewy5000
Broadway Legend
joined:12/1/09
It was clearly the best, or at least most well received piece of 'theatre' at the time, and come award season, it won in the closest category. So yes.
IMHO I see Queenie as being more of a brunette...
david_fick
Swing
joined:7/12/12
But it was deemed eligible IN that category, so it is. Just like all the many changes the Tony Awards deems. Their awards, their prerogative.

That doesn't mean they were guided by sense or logic, and just because it is their prerogative does not mean that they cannot be called on their mistakes. This was a major slip up on their part: the show should not have been deemed eligible in the category, as it was not a musical.
fashionguru_23
Broadway Star
joined:4/21/08
Personally, AIDA should have been nominated, and won for Best Musical. But, it is because of this decision that the Tony committee created the "Special Theatrical Event" award, which was later discontinued. (IMO it should still be a category)
"The 54th Street[theatre] had a rep as. . .where old musicals went to die." -Smaxie
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
The Dead should have won for best musical and best score.

It had a number of beautiful songs. It's a shame no recording was made of the score.

Bryan, put this one at the top of your list.
Jon
Broadway Legend
joined:2/20/04
When CONTACT premiered for a limited run at the Mitzi Newhouse Theatre (the smaller "Off-Broadway" space at Lincoln Center), it was billed as "A Dance Play".

Then the reviews came in. Major critics called it "A Musical" Several called it "the best musical of the year." The NY Times review said it "...brings new life to the tired old genre of musical theatre."

Is a live orchestra the only criteria for a musical? What about shows like Fosse and Jerome Robbins' Broadway, which just re-mounted numbers from old shows? Not only no original score, but no new choreography, and in the case of JRB, no new sets or costumes. How are they "new musicals?" Aren't they really just revivals of sections of a bunch of different shows? It would be like giving "That's Entertainment" the Best Picture Oscar.

The folks at Lincoln Center decided it was a musical after all, and moved it upstairs to the Vivian Beaumont. I'm sure they didn't foresee it running nearly two years when the project started out.
kyle33nyc
Understudy
joined:10/24/04
I love the idea that Chita is the arbiter of theatrical good taste.

Contact was a crowd pleaser, and it surprised no one that it won the award. It would go on to make money as a touring property, and the awards are largely about helping investors make the most money possible.

But it my opinion, it was a theatrical special event. It is bad enough having revues compete against original stories and scores, but pre-recorded dance pieces? It should have been lumped in with the one person shows and other oddities that make up the "special event" category that is trotted out every few years.

I liked The Dead, but it was not a show that will be remembered as a classic. I think The Wild Party could be, and certainly should be remembered. It is a dark show with a challenging score, but it really holds up over time. I was enthralled with the cast and production, and went back twice. Toni Collette was amazing.
Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
It should have been lumped in with the one person shows and other oddities that make up the "special event" category that is trotted out every few years.

There were previous non-competitive special Tony awards given for virtually all varieties of recognition regarding theatre including lifetime achievement, achievement in musical theatre (La Tragedie de Carmen - an opera and Candide revival), long runs (A Chorus Line), revivals (A Moon for the Misbegotten), critics (Brooks Atkinson and Elliot Norton) and even "adding lustre" (Liza Minnelli and Bette Midler). This was a special recognition, not a competitive category with nominations.

From 2001 to 2009, there was the category for Special Theatrical Event (competitive).

Regardless, it's a battle of semantics that will never be won. Die-hard academics and purists believe the term "musical" should be permanently defined and regulated ranging in all aspects from the originality and structure of the book including the amount of spoken dialogue to even the style of acceptable music, but even they cannot agree what those terms should be. And that's not even getting into Tony categories which does a pretty good job at accommodating ever-evolving art forms for which must be dropped into one of two boxes, not only for the sake of the top prize, but every subsequent category. If there is no license to determine ever-growing amount of work produced that does not neatly fall into either box, then should they all be determined ineligible and unrecognized, even if they ran on Broadway and received critical acclaim? Or should they receive a consolation prize by not conforming to the conventions of two forms of theatre, neither of which are a requirement to be defined as a "Broadway" show?

I side with the Tony committee in the case of Contact, just as I did with the case of Movin' Out, La Boheme and Come Fly With Me. While none of them fit the academic definition of "a musical", they are each very much "musical". To the point that the music is the most important element for the production to function. If you want to nitpick the individual aspects of how the music is presented, whether live or recorded, performed by the characters/actors, integrated into the book, etc., leave that up to the subsequent categories. Otherwise, you open the door to deeming revues, sung-through musicals, jukebox musicals, and bio-catalogue musicals ineligible as well. Personally, I'm not conservative enough to negate the evolution of an art form. Best Musical is about the whole, not the parts. That is how I believe Contact received its nomination and ultimately won Best Musical, for which I personally believe it deserved.

In the case of Fosse however, I just thought it wasn't the best of its category(ies).

But I'm so glad someone FINALLY addressed this issue! Even if it was phantomhavelondon.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
Updated On: 2/13/14 at 11:54 AM

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