Breaking News: Tonys Change Rules for Revival Authors, Erases 2 Creative Categories...

Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Sad about Sound Design but sort of bittersweet that revival authors and composers will receive awards in the future. Well, for one year, at least. The Tonys change their minds A LOT.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
I have to admit: I don't know enough ABOUT sound design as a category to know if this makes sense or not but Hooray for the consideration of the creators of a piece not previously eligible is great.

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.
bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
Well that's a giant slap in the face to the sound designers. They are eligible for the Outer Critics and Drama Desk Awards, so why shouldn't they be eligible for the Tonys? They just added the category in 2008, so it's not even that old to begin with. Dumb dumb dumb.
Jeffrey Karasarides
Featured Actor
joined:11/27/11
Why are they eliminating the Sound Design categories? Why not just add brand new categories for Make-Up Design instead?
HenryTDobson
Stand-by
joined:1/5/13
While I completely disagree with it, I'm not the bit surprised by this omission. As an (amateur) sound designer myself, it seems that nobody understands what goes into a sound designer's work; sound design is black and white for the general public - it's either good or bad, there's never an in between. It's a shame that these hardworking theater folks will now lose their acknowledgement.

Updated On: 6/11/14 at 06:25 PM
theatregeek6
Leading Actor
joined:6/19/13
Lighting is in but sound isn't. I don't know
Enough about either but it seems that if you can't see it, it doesn't count?
uncageg
Broadway Legend
joined:5/13/04
Sound design is something I pay attention to. I know a few sound designers and have an interest in it. It is a big slap in the face. I think it is a very important part of the show.
Just give the world Love.
jnb9872
Broadway Legend
joined:11/24/08
While I believe Sound Design absolutely deserves recognition at the Tony's, I'm personally baffled when I try to evaluate the best sounding productions each year for my own personal little rankings. As a layman, I can absolutely tell you when Sound Design is awful for a show, but at a certain point once it's good it's indistinguishable from great and shades within. So here's my quandary: if the intention of ending these categories is that the general population of Tony voters is unqualified to evaluate Sound Design at a proficient level, why can't the Tonys consider creating a small jury of professionals to vote as qualified evaluators? (Of course, this leads to greater corruption - hello, the Documentary and Sound/Song wings at the Oscars...)

I'm very sorry for my SD friends and all the SDs out there, but I do wonder if this isn't a little related to general sense I have that most voters are hopeless at evaluating Sound Design. It's not unlike (to use a sports metaphor that's bound to go over like gangbusters on a Broadway forum) an offensive line in football: you only notice them if they're not doing their job well. At least that's how I perceive the art of sound design as a layman...

Words don't deserve that kind of malarkey. They're innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they're no good anymore…I don't think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.
Updated On: 6/11/14 at 06:40 PM
JBroadway
Leading Actor
joined:4/6/12
Can someone clarify the new rule around authors for me? The wording confuses me.
HeyMrMusic
Broadway Legend
joined:5/16/04
Thrilled for the new rule regarding "classics." We would have seen Stephen Sondheim, Larry Kramer, John Cameron Mitchell, Stephen Trask, etc. win Tony Awards for their work. Wish it were implicated sooner.

Eliminating the sound design categories is extremely awful. I can't even collect my thoughts about it, it's just so wrong.
bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
Basically since the creators of shows like Hedwig and Violet were not eligible for Best Book or Best Score since those shows were deemed revivals, they would win Tonys if the show wins Best Revival. Normally the Best Revival Tony only goes to the producer. Now it will go to the show creators if the show has never appeared on Broadway before but is deemed a revival.
nmlhats
Swing
joined:5/26/14
I was just about to type the same thing! It's too bad it wasn't in time for Violet and Hedwig. But their being left out this year--even though the creators could not have been up for Tonys the first time around--is probably the precise reason the rule has been changed.
JBroadway
Leading Actor
joined:4/6/12
Oh I see. Thank you for explaining it. I think that's a good way to honor the authors.
So here's my question: If Assassins, or The Normal Heart or Violet or Hedwig were to be revived AGAIN in another production in years to come, do you they think this rule might apply to them since the rule wasn't in effect for their first revival?

Updated On: 6/11/14 at 07:18 PM
bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
The way it's worded, no. It says "not previously produced on Broadway" and at this point all of those shows have been.
Brave Sir Robin2
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/07
Well, when NPH talks, people listen!
LostinTranslation
Swing
joined:3/13/14
As someone who works with a number of sound designers, I have a couple of thoughts. First off, most lay people couldn't tell you whether the lighting design of a show was good, bad, or indifferent -- if they can see, great. Same thing with sound. These are disciplines that are very technical and the average person isn't going to notice how tight a lighting plot the designer used so that the light is very discrete rather than having big washes of color. Similarly, they aren't going to notice how well the sound system was timed so that it sounds like it's all coming from the stage rather than the speakers. Now sound design, like lighting design doesn't happen in a vacuum. Directors and producers often have a say in what the designers do. These days because of home surround systems shows are becoming louder, less natural, less clear, and more of a sonic assault. The better designers, including this year's Tony winners Brian Ronan and Steve Canyon Kennedy, have done shows that have forward presentations and ones that were more subtle. They work very hard to balance the needs of the show, the cast and the audience, all the while trying their best to make the sound system disappear. Without sound designers, mixers and A2's (the sound person backstage responsible for getting the mics on the actors and all the backstage sound gear) the very shows the League lauds would simply not be possible. Shows would simply be blocked so that all actors spoke downstage. Mics allow actors the freedom to face anywhere on the stage and speak or sing and be heard. Many Broadway performers would simply not be able to perform without mics because so many lack the kind of vocal training to hit the back of the house without a mic the way most British actors can.

It is a huge slap in the face of many in the industry to have Sound Design not recognized.

If you'd like to show your support, please sign the petition.
Reinstate the Tony Award for Sound Design
Bettyboy72
Broadway Legend
joined:3/31/06
Seeing how the Tonys sound often sucks, it makes sense they are getting rid of Sound Design. They know nothing about it.
"The sexual energy between the mother and son really concerns me!"-random woman behind me at Next to Normal "I want to meet him after and bang him!"-random woman who exposed her breasts at Rock of Ages, referring to James Carpinello
LostinTranslation
Swing
joined:3/13/14
That is televised sound, not Broadway sound. And it's a live broadcast that has its own set of problems. Broadway designers have nothing to do with it.
broadway_show_fan
Broadway Star
joined:12/12/05
Phantom of London
Broadway Legend
joined:3/26/08
Isn't the sound designer tasked with finding sound effects too, such as an aircraft taking off or church bells ringing?
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Bettyboy72
Broadway Legend
joined:3/31/06
Lost In Translation, I wasnt insulting the Broadway sound designers. I know they have nothing to do with it. The people associated with the Tonys are morons.
"The sexual energy between the mother and son really concerns me!"-random woman behind me at Next to Normal "I want to meet him after and bang him!"-random woman who exposed her breasts at Rock of Ages, referring to James Carpinello
JBroadway
Leading Actor
joined:4/6/12
Do you think there will be some kind of protest to this? I remember when the drama desks left off orchestrations, JRB got really mad and made a petition and stuff. I know sound design less understood by the public than orchestrations are, but I still wouldn't be surprised if some Broadway sound designers spoke out against this in some way.
Joviedamian
Broadway Star
joined:11/9/10
If they are going to change the rules, then I think any show (musical or play) that has NOT played Broadway before should ONLY be considered as a new piece. I really don't care if it's played the rounds at your local theater and or colleges and or it's very popular. If it hasn't played a Broadway house and the Tony committee is judging the qualifications based on what is on Broadway, then it should not be considered a revival. Violet played an Off-Broadway house 17 years ago...now it's on Broadway and considered a revival? Sorry, don't think so!
broadwaydevil
Broadway Legend
joined:2/16/11
This reminds me of when the Drama Desk Awards eliminated the Best Orchestrations category a couple years back and reinstated them a few days later after an uproar. I hope the same happens with the sound design categories.

I was talking with some friends over drinks about the changes to revival authors and we came up with an interesting dilemma. What about shows that are certainly classics and have been in the popular culture for decades but have never appeared on Broadway? Would Rodgers & Hammerstein have been eligible for posthumous Tony awards more than 40/50 years after their deaths last year for Cinderella? Would George Haimsohn, Robin Miller, and Jim Wise be eligible if Dames at Sea made it to Broadway 60 years after they wrote it?

Some interesting questions to answer and I assume they'll just make it up as they go along like they usually do in terms of what is and isn't eligible.
Scratch and claw for every day you're worth! Make them drag you screaming from life, keep dreaming You'll live forever here on earth.

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