Industry Pro Newsletter: Orchestra Audiences Are Coming Back, A Look at What to Expect at the Tony Awards

Though America’s playwrights made sure that the show would go on, the WGA has asked that their members who are nominated for awards do not attend the ceremony.

By: May. 30, 2023


In this edition, we delve into the passionate efforts of America's playwrights to save the Tony Awards, the rebound of orchestras with growing audience numbers, and thought-provoking discussions on fair compensation practices for actors during auditions. We also explore the success of the 2022-2023 Broadway season, recent appointments and collaborations within the theater community, and international updates on Gustavo Dudamel's surprising resignation from the Paris Opera.

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Industry Trends

How America’s Playwrights Saved the Tony Awards - The New York Times

The WGA initially refused to grant a waiver for the awards due to the ongoing strike by screenwriters, but after a passionate plea from renowned playwrights such as Tony Kushner, Martyna Majok, and others, the union agreed to a compromise. As long as the show did not rely heavily on a written script, the WGA would not picket the ceremony. The decision was seen as a recognition of the theater industry's vulnerability and a crucial move to support struggling artists. Click here to read more…

WGA Advises Nominated Members to Skip Tony Awards - BroadwayWorld

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has requested its nominated members not to attend the Tony Awards ceremony due to ongoing negotiations between the WGA and the Tony Awards. This request is part of the WGA's efforts to secure fair working conditions and representation for writers within the theater industry. Click here to read more…

Should Actors Be Paid for Auditions? - The New Yorker

The New Yorker explores the question of whether actors should be compensated for auditioning, discussing the prevalence of unpaid auditions in the industry and examining potential implications and considerations. The article delves into the challenges actors face and the ongoing conversation surrounding fair compensation practices in the audition process. Click here to read more…

Audiences Are Coming Back to Orchestras After ‘Scary’ Sales Last Fall - The New York Times

After a grim fall with low attendance, orchestras are now reporting improved sales and growing audience numbers. The rebound is attributed to easing health concerns around the pandemic, particularly among older audiences. Holiday sales were strong, and the positive trend continued through the winter and spring. While orchestras are still below pre-pandemic levels, the upward trajectory is a hopeful sign for the struggling industry. Orchestras are cautiously optimistic about the future and the return of larger audiences. Click here to read more…

Broadway/New York

Industry Pro Newsletter: Orchestra Audiences Are Coming Back, A Look at What to Expect at the Tony Awards

What Will Happen at the Tonys on June 11? It's Unclear. By Cara Joy David

The Tony Awards are less than two weeks away and there are still many unanswered questions.

The most important is likely: who is going to win? That is of course always an unanswered question until the names are announced, but usually at least one of the major races has a clear-cut favorite. In fact, in my over decade of polling voters, I can’t remember a time when the four major races were all this close. I’ve spoken to over 40 voters and yes, there are front runners, but the big four races are close enough that there could be a shift before voting ceases.

In light of this, I was hoping there would be a return to the big campaign materials of old. (Filled HAIRSPRAY lunch box! WONDERFUL TOWN viewfinder! SPAMALOT hand puppet!) But, alas, Tony season hasn’t returned to what it was before the swag ban of the 2005-2006 season. Back then, deep-pocketed producers flooded Broadway and their ability to campaign was simply better, so the Tony Awards Administration Committee added a rule that limited the things producers could distribute as part of their campaign package. During the 2014-2015 season the rule was suspended for one season, then it was suspended for another, and now it is completely out of the rulebook. But things never got back to exactly where they were and this season has proven no different. Many shows went simply with e-blasts. Voters did enjoy the barbecue sauce that FAT HAM sent and the miniature Milky White that the INTO THE WOODS team distributed, but mostly it has been more standard fare. In the extremely important, and competitive, Best Musical race, SHUCKED received high marks for sending a fake newspaper, the “Cob County Gazette,” along with its souvenir book. The paper had a front-page story by director Jack O’Brien and other themed content. Voters lauded the presentation of the & JULIET materials--an annotated script, souvenir book and CD came in a box filled with pink confetti. KIMBERLY AKIMBO went with a script and high school yearbook-themed souvenir book; SOME LIKE IT HOT a more traditional souvenir book. This week, NEW YORK, NEW YORK will be sending a set of postcards of Beowulf Boritt’s hand-painted drops with a QR code taking voters to a site with videos, audio and features. (QR codes came with most materials the shows sent.)

The Broadway League Spring Road Conference is also well-known as a campaign pitch opportunity. All these years later, you can still find some producers angry that AVENUE Q beat WICKED partially by convincing road voters at a Spring Road Conference party that AVENUE Q would tour well, despite AVENUE Q producers signing a Vegas deal that prohibited the show from touring until the Vegas production closed. This season, road voters reported to me enjoying the KIMBERLY AKIMBO prom party and meeting INTO THE WOODS’ Milky White, but no one said they were swayed by a production’s efforts.

The next important unanswered question is just what we’ll be seeing on June 11. I’m not sure anyone knows the exact answer to that one either. Over the weekend it was reported that the WGA is asking its nominated members to skip the unscripted awards. There will be no red carpet interviews. There are expected to be celebrity presenters, but fewer than in a non-strike year, and the list is still in flux. The musical numbers will be introduced by 10-20 second videos composed of prior interview clips/endorsements that will hopefully explain the show. B-roll clips will be aired for the plays. Rumor has it that the Tony folks planned to invite long runners (and one would hope A BEAUTIFUL NOISE, a new musical that wasn’t nominated but could put on a winning Neil Diamond number) to participate, but as of late last week that hadn’t occurred.

So, basically, it’s going to be a busy couple of weeks for just about everyone in the Broadway community.

2022-2023 Broadway Season Reports Impressive Attendance and Grosses - BroadwayWorld

The recently concluded 2022-2023 Broadway season achieved impressive attendance numbers of 12.3 million and grosses totaling $1.58 billion. The article highlights the success of Broadway shows during the season, indicating a strong rebound and continued popularity of live theater despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read more…

Kwame Kwei-Armah Named Artistic Advisor for MTC - American Theatre

Kwame Kwei-Armah, a renowned playwright and director, has been appointed as the Artistic Advisor for Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC). In this role, Kwei-Armah will contribute his artistic expertise and collaborate with MTC's leadership team on programming and strategic initiatives, enhancing the theater's creative vision and impact. Click here to read more…

Mike Myers, Anthony Rapp, and More Participate in Broadway Bets Event - BroadwayWorld

Notable personalities including Mike Myers and Anthony Rapp took part in the Broadway Bets event, an annual charity poker tournament benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and their initiatives. The event brought together members of the theater community for a night of fundraising and friendly competition in support of a worthy cause. The event raised a record setting $332,465. Click here to read more…

Situation Project and BAD CINDERELLA Team Up to Bring Students to Broadway - BroadwayWorld

The Situation Project and the production BAD CINDERELLA have collaborated to provide over 2,000 students with the opportunity to experience live theater on Broadway. This partnership aims to inspire and engage young audiences by offering them the chance to attend performances and broaden their cultural experiences. Click here to read more…

Regional

Industry Pro Newsletter: Orchestra Audiences Are Coming Back, A Look at What to Expect at the Tony Awards

Pasadena Playhouse Receives 2023 Regional Theatre Tony Award - BroadwayWorld

Pasadena Playhouse has been honored with the 2023 Regional Theatre Tony Award, recognizing its outstanding contributions to the regional theater community. The award highlights the theater's commitment to artistic excellence, community engagement, and its significant impact on the cultural landscape. Click here to read more…

Kristen Van Ginhoven Steps Down as Co-Founder of WAM Theatre - American Theatre

Kristen Van Ginhoven, the co-founder of WAM Theatre, has announced her decision to step down from her position. Van Ginhoven has played a crucial role in shaping WAM Theatre's mission and initiatives, advocating for gender equity and social change through theater. Her departure marks a transition for the organization as it continues to champion its core values. Click here to read more…

International

Another Gustavo surprise: Dudamel is leaving his Paris Opera post four years early - The Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel has surprised the music world by announcing his resignation as music director of Paris Opera, four years before the expiration of his contract. This news comes shortly after his appointment as the music director of the New York Philharmonic. The sudden departure from Paris, however, is not expected to impact Dudamel's position as the music and artistic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Click here to read more…

All the World's a Stage: Inside the £13B London Scheme Using Theatre and Schools to Attract Tenants - Bisnow

This article explores a £13 billion London development scheme that incorporates theater spaces and schools to attract tenants. The project aims to create vibrant cultural hubs within mixed-use developments, integrating educational institutions and theater venues. It discusses the potential impact of this initiative on urban development, community engagement, and the arts in London, highlighting the innovative approach taken to revitalize urban spaces. Click here to read more…

Equity's Paul W. Fleming: 'We Have a £1m Strike Fund and We're Not Afraid to Use It' - The Stage

Paul W. Fleming, the General Secretary of Equity, shares insights into the union's strike fund and its determination to protect workers' rights in the entertainment industry. The article delves into Equity's strategies for negotiating fair agreements and ensuring proper working conditions for performers. It emphasizes the union's commitment to supporting its members and using its strike fund, worth £1 million, to safeguard their interests during labor disputes. Click here to read more…

Missed our last few newsletters?

May 22, 2023 - BroadwayWorld Celebrates 20th Anniversary, Awards Season Officially Underway

BroadwayWorld celebrates its 20th anniversary with a star-studded concert benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, featuring a carefully curated lineup of talented performers. The nominations for the 12th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Awards are announced, recognizing outstanding productions such as "FAT HAM," "TITANIQUE," and "MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG." The winners of the 2023 Outer Critics Circle Awards and the Drama League Awards are revealed, honoring exceptional performances on and off Broadway. We also explore developments in the Tony Awards broadcast, theater litigation settlements, new artistic and managing director appointments, and an incident in London brings the need for heightened security for performers into view. Click here to read more..

May 15, 2023 - English Wins the Pulitzer, Five Day Work Week in the UK

It seems like a silly thing to say week after week, but here we are again: the industry continues to shift in major ways. Now, though, we have started to gain enough distance from the initial shock and shutdown of the pandemic to really start analyzing how the industry has changed, and how much further it needs to go. This week, we take a look at recovery across the creative sector in an article from TRG Arts, Dance Magazine looks at how the dance industry has changed, and a new labor agreement between the Actors Union in the UK and producers highlights some of the major shifts in the industry across the globe. Click here to read more…

May 8, 2023 - TCG Conference Goes to Chicago, Garrett to Leave Oregon Shakespeare

The Theatre Communications Group (TCG) has selected Chicago, IL as the location for its 2024 National Conference, which will be hosted by the League of Chicago Theatres. The theme of the conference is "Theatre for the Whole of Us" and will focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion in the theatre industry. Meanwhile, the WGA strike, turmoil at regional theaters continues, and Britain gets a King who loves the arts. Finally, Cara Joy David catches up with Broadway director Jessica Stone, who was recently nominated for a Tony Award for her work on the acclaimed musical "KIMBERLY AKIMBO." Click here to read more…

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